The mouth that roared, Kathy Griffin has pissed off Barbara Walters, offended Jesus freaks, and said “f**king” on TV, but she keeps on tr**king, more abrasively funny than ever. Chatty Kathy will appear at Carnegie Hall on November 8 as part of the Caroline Hirsch-founded New York Comedy Festival. En route, I strapped her down for some brazenly bitchy banter.
Hi, Kathy. You’re coming up at Carnegie Hall, of all places. What will you do there?
I’m thrilled to play such a prestigious venue. I’ll be like Liza, but with dick jokes. I’ll be like Itzhak Perlman, but I’ll talk about my pussy a lot.
I think he talks about your pussy a lot.
What violinist doesn’t? And I hope I have the right instrument. There’s something about that room. It’s so New York. It’s a guilty pleasure if you come to see my show there. I’m a fish out of water. Carnegie Hall is water and I’m the fish. That’s what a lot of gay men have called me, and it’s an endearment. We’re gonna have the rainbow color delegation of LGBTQIABCD, and some straights in there too, and once you work with straights, there goes the neighborhood. The next night, I’m at Foxwoods, then I’m hopping on an Atlantis cruise. I think I’m living your dream, Michael. I’m officially gayer than you.
You should have a GLAAD award.
I have the Vanguard! The year before that, they gave it to Janet Jackson.
And you’ve probably shown both your tits! Do you think Gloria Vanderbilt wanted you for her daughter-in-law?
Gloria Vanderbilt has seen anything she wants to see on me. I’ve actually seen Gloria Vanderbilt more than Anderson. I’ve used Anderson in the way the lord intended, to get to his mother. I’m never gonna be her daughter-in-law, let’s face it, but I’m kind of the daughter-in-law by proxy.
As for that other Gloria—Ms. Estefan—what’s this about you flashing her your granny panties in public?
I was doing a show in Miami and invited Gloria as my guest. That means I tricked her into coming backstage to say hello, then ushered her onstage and said, “Would you introduce me?” before she had time to say no. In that photo, which I’m proud of, she was singing a few bars of “Conga”. I lifted my dress, truly forgetting I had neglected to put on an attractive or sexy panty. I shocked Gloria and repulsed the world. It was one click away from diapers.
Had you crapped in them?
No, but I can crap in them every time I look at that photo. I came back and went to Victoria’s Secret and bought sexy underpants. At Carnegie Hall, I will not wear granny panties!
Do you want a threeway with either Anderson and Gloria or Anderson and Ben?
Talk about Sophie’s choice! A threeway with Anderson and Gloria, if you mean Vanderbilt, that’s twisted. With Gloria Steinem would be a more cerebral affair. That would be the threeway!
This New Year’s Eve, will you beat around the bush less with Anderson because he came out?
He came out last year! And every year he’d call me “gurl” and stuff. You know I’m bilingual—I speak heterosexual and gay. When someone calls me gurl, I switch to my other language. I’m goal-oriented and I’m gonna try to get Anderson fired on New Year’s this year. I know I can get myself fired. I do that every year.
If you out him as straight, that would definitely get him axed.
Not allowed. There’s no flip flopping in politics. And by the way, my pussy’s not shut down!
And it’s union, right?
Very pro union. It’s like the Nelson Rockefeller pussies—old school Democrats.
Do people still say “pussy”?
Nowadays you have to put stars and asterisks in it. But you can say it on TV as a double entendre. If anyone knows the rules of what you can say and when you can say it, I do.
Yes, you know the rules—and then you gleefully ignore them.
That’s why people tune in.
You said “fuck” on CNN.
Two years ago. I had to give the money back! I made them donate it to the American Red Cross. I said, “Don’t just say you’re gonna do it.” They gave me proof.
And now the American Red Cross workers are riding around in a Mercedes.
Suze Orman really let me have it. She wants me to push the boundaries, but also keep the check. That’s how I live my life—to push boundaries, but also keep my alcoholic mother in her retirement village. Suze is a true close friend. I call her for legitimate advice. I’m friends with Cher too. I have women mentors. Some of these women I do whatever they say, but when it comes to Cher and Suze, they have different marching orders. Cher just wants me to help disassemble the Tea Party. Suze is about a revocable living trust.
What is that? Something about unplugging yourself?
Yeah. You have to decide when they unplug you who is the most trustworthy person to make the decision about your vegetative state. I have chosen Kanye West. He’s the executor of my will. He’ll take care of my 93-year-old mother, which involves buying her the box of wine.
And what advice has Cher given you?
Cher yelled at me because I do standup in flats. It’s too painful for me to wear heels. She couldn’t even conceive of that. “What do you mean? Why can’t you be funny in heels, bitch?” She tried to negotiate about a two-inch heel!
Maybe you can stand on a box.
I’m happy to stand on a box at Carnegie Hall.
Do you consider your talk show a worthwhile experiment?
I got canceled after two seasons, but I had so much fun. After all these years of celebrities being mad at me, it was great to have an environment where they came to me and were finally in on the fucking joke. I saw Celine Dion recently—I’d made fun of her for years—and she said the greatest thing to me: “Please keep me in the act. That’s how I know I’m still hot.”