Though the ostensible reason for our being in touch was to discuss her “Boroughing Through Brooklyn and Queens” mini-tour in April, Kathy Griffin started our chat with two satisfying tidbits.
First, that she was wearing Nordstrom pajamas.
And, then, that she had done her homework on this newspaper in advance.
“I have to be honest, looking at your newspaper’s website, I do admire the directness of the title of your publication,” Griffin said. “It just says it! This is what we are: we’re Gay City. We are News. We are talking about a boisterous reunion for W.O.W. I mean, God love ya! As a proud supporter — and I’m gonna say member — of the LBGTAQ12345Caitlyn community — what would you like to ask me?”
So, doing my part, I steered toward Griffin’s “Boroughing,” which will take her to the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College on April 9 (65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, 8 p.m.; kupfergergcenter.org) and to Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College on April 10 (2900 Ave. H, 6 p.m.; BrooklynCenter.org).
“Although I sold out Carnegie Hall in December, there is so much happening that I have to return, and, yes, to Queens and Brooklyn. It’s a different audience and they have beautiful venues. I have all new material because so much really crazy shit is happening that I can barely keep up. I have an actual kick-ass story about that fool Donald Trump when he was driving me around one of his golf courses in his golf cart and in the back seat was me and Liza-freaking-Minnelli.
“I just had an amazing run in with DiCaprio, whom I never met before a month ago and I actually got to use the great Lily Tomlin as my wingman/ gateway to meeting him. He may not enjoy me and my genius comedy, but even Leo cannot turn down an opportunity to met Lily.
“I am always working, watching every episode of ‘I Am Caitlyn.’ Let me just be very clear: of course, I support the LBGTQA12345Caitlyn community but I will be making fun of Caitlyn. I am a comic, and you have to admit that while I completely support her journey and bravery there are just parts of that show that are just fucking funny. I’m sure you know many long-term transgender activists, but I don’t know any who have a hair and makeup squad that they take on their road trips in the bus. Jenny Boylan, who’s a professor at Barnard, knows her shit, and there she is trying to convince Caitlyn that the Republican Party is not going to support her in any way and never has. She has this longtime transgender activist rolling her eyes, and Candis Cayne literally has to go to the back of the bus and wait it out.
“Caitlyn is very into the hair and makeup, which is why, thank God, I can make fun of her. I have been immersed in this community long before it was cool, and I just can’t think of a transgender person who can get a bag from Donatella Versace before it hits the stores. While the community is really doing grassroots work, they now have a new spokeswoman named Caitlyn who appears to be more worried about her bags, like when Jenny Boylan said, ‘I just feel like I’m losing brain cells just talking to you.’
“And now, my friend, we are in the middle of a Twitter feud between Kim Kardashian and Bette Midler. I’m telling you, right now, I’m Team Bette, Team Pink, Team Chloë Grace Moretz. I am fearless and never will hold back. It’s gonna be fucking Queens and Brooklyn, for fuck’s sake. “
When I wondered about Griffin’s feelings about the very judgy treatment she got from a rather prudish Midler during one of her TV shows, set in Vegas, she shrugged, “That’s just because the legends are moody. They’re up! They’re down! They do it all! I just learned there’s a category of my friends — Cher, Liza, Bette, Fonda — the legends. They get a legend pass, so when I’m lucky enough to be in their presence, that’s just the deal!”
I also asked her about her short-lived replacement of the late Joan Rivers on TV’s “Fashion Police”: “It just wasn’t the right show for me. They asked me to do it, told me I could do what I wanted with it. That didn’t happen, and then bad shit happened. Look, I was so close to Joan, and she danced that show in a way that was so perfect for her that I feel it came back too soon. I expressed that over and over, and I don’t even know what’s going on with the show now.”
Griffin has a MacMillan book coming out December 27 of this year. “Celebrity Run-ins A-Z.”
“All these tiny snippets of all these encounters,” she explained. “I’ve been around so long I’ve kind of met everyone.”
To which I replied, “And you’ve outlived many of them. Remember when Oprah was relevant?”
“Excuse me! How do you think she feels about Gayle, who now has more air-time than she does? That is the ultimate LGBTQUA2 betrayal! And Stedman [Graham, Oprah’s longtime boyfriend] is like Rob Kardashian. He’s just missing. They just emerge occasionally for a body check to make sure they’re alive, and then their handlers put them back where they belong. Stedman is probably riding a bike in Hawaii.
“Everyone gives me new material, including my 95-year-old alcoholic mother I caught watching the Fox channel last week. What am I gonna do with her? Dave, I tell you right now: I’m going to commit voter fraud. I just might have to get her drunk on November 8 and go into the voting booth and dangle her chad for Hillary and just tell her she voted for Trump. Get ready for a Kathy Griffin mug shot !
“I am a typical Hillary fan, but I also love to feel the Bern-er. I don’t like the fact that we eat our own, just when the Republican Party finally is doing that to themselves, or that my Bernie fan friends are mad at me, because I’m not mad at them. I’m a 55- year-old woman: it’s harder and different, and when she was first lady and wrote a heath care bill, as a younger woman I had never seen a first lady like that. She was doing more than ‘Just say no to drugs,’ and then she became a US senator and then secretary of state. And I love that the Bern-er is moving her more to the left. I also don’t want any fighting, because the possibility of President The Donald is terrifying! We should get our shit together and face the fact that a health debate is better than people arguing about their dick size!”
I mentioned to Griffin that I remembered how, under the Clinton administration, for the first time, really, it became okay for people to know you were gay.
“That’s right. Gays are still mad about DOMA. And Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, yet Bill and Hill both said, ‘Look it was a step and never meant to be the be and end-all. I testified personally about the reality of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, because I went to Iraq and Afghanistan and Donald Trump didn’t. So don’t tell me about what it’s like to really fight for your rights when you’re trying to sell your steaks and your water at your golf club that your supporters can’t even afford. But I’m getting too political! Let me get back to my dick jokes.”