D-Lister Kathy Griffin brings A-list comedy act to the Clay Center

May 21, 2015


Kathy Griffin worries about the fluoride in Clarksburg’s water, and she believes readers should be concerned, too.
Or else, the comedian famous for her Bravo stand-up specials and her former reality series, “My Life on the D List,” wants everyone to know that she keeps up with current events wherever the day may take her, prompting her to check The Exponent Telegram’s headlines before a telephone interview.
“I think it’s essential, but it’s also fun,” Griffin said from her Los Angeles home.
“When you’ve been in the game as long as I have, not only have I booked the Kennedy Center and I’ve booked Carnegie Hall, and that’s all well and good, but the fun part is going to Charleston and seeing what’s going on there. I change my material with pride every single date.”
She also likes to read her audience. “I kind of take their temperature the whole show to see if they’re into political stuff or the celebrity stuff or the local stuff,” she added.
So when Griffin makes an appearance at 7:30 p.m. June 4 at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia in Charleston, she might riff on Hillary Clinton or Bruce Jenner or Mayor Danny Jones’ family problems and videotaped off-the-cuff remarks about gun rights.
“I really don’t know what I’m going to say until about 15 minutes before I hit the stage,” she added. “It gives me flexibility — and the audience doesn’t know, but it gives the audience flexibility.”
The Chicago area native has had a fairly visible career for about 20 years now, beginning with the 1990s sitcom “Suddenly Susan” and also with two appearances as aspiring actress and comedian Sally Weaver on “Seinfeld.”
But ironically, her credentials and fame began to soar 10 years ago with her Emmy-winning Bravo reality series, “My Life on the D List,” as well as a series of stand-up specials — 20 so far, literally earning her a Guinness World Record for the most.
The specials highlight her brand of pop-culture-heavy comedy that largely consists of mocking the famous, dropping the names of her A-list encounters — from Cher to Celine Dion — and cultivating her large and loyal gay fan base.
When you put it all together, it sounds something like the chatty Kathy’s interview rant on the New England Patriots’ “Deflategate” scandal.
“I’m fascinated how that’s become a No. 1 news item,” Griffin said. “I turn on the TV expecting to see news, and I see that instead, so I turn the channel and watch ‘Empire’ or ‘Scandal.'”
Reminded that her good pal, CNN’s Anderson Cooper — with whom she has co-hosted that network’s New Year’s Eve coverage since 2007 — is in the news biz, she readily obliged with her take.
“My favorite thing is watching Anderson act like he knows what he’s talking about when he is talking about Deflategate,” she said. “Here’s what he knows. Tom Brady is hot, and they are more than happy to have Jimmy Garoppolo replace Tom Brady.”
Garoppolo would be Brady’s not-so-bad-looking backup quarterback, a factoid that Griffin begrudgingly admits currently resides in her bustling brain.
“I wish I made that up, but I now have to know the name of the hot replacement quarterback for the Pats, because I know that my gay friends think he’s hot.”
In spite of her off-the-wall stories, however, Griffin takes her career very seriously, working it every chance she gets, whether on a TV special, a live show or on one of her many social media sites, touting not only her two Emmys but the 2013 Grammy for Best Comedy Album she won for her sixth audio recording, “Calm Down Gurrl,” making her only the third woman, after Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg, to do so.
“I just got a lovely email from Lily … who was telling me that she won the Grammy but wasn’t there to accept because she was doing a gig somewhere. I said, ‘Good for you,’ but I was sitting there in a rented ballgown, and when I won, I jumped up like Michael Jordan.”