Anything goes with comedian Kathy Griffin
BEAVER CREEK – Most of us go through life thinking things we would never say out loud. Maybe that’s why we empower “D-list Diva” and cutting comic Kathy Griffin to make a living by saying it for us. “Nothing is off limits,” said Griffin. “I’ll say anything for a laugh because I believe there is so much that we should laugh at.”In this world where celebrities can “kill someone and get away with it,” said Griffin, or “the orderly at my vet hospital feels the need to name drop while he gives my dog chemotherapy,” Griffin is like a missile on target for the ridiculous. Her emotive stand-up act might seem to be filled with tall tales, but she assures me they are actually telling tales. While she admits her sometimes caustic candor has kept her off a few invite lists, she is quick to stand up for (no pun intended) her right to talk about herself, and whoever else may cross her path. “I hate it when people say I’m mean. What in my act is mean? I’m telling stories about things that really happened to me, about my own experiences. I’m not telling lies or making stuff up. I’m just saying what everyone else is thinking,” said Griffin.
Griffin, a native of Chicago, is the youngest of five children. She has three older brothers and an older sister. When her parents retired to California, Griffin moved west with them after finishing high school and began trying to break into show business. She performed with the popular Groundlings sketch comedy group and then paid her dues doing stand-up at various clubs until she was discovered. At a time when comedy was shifting from punch-line joke-telling to humorous social-commentary and satire, Griffin’s wry observations about celebrity culture and fame quickly propelled her into stardom. She became a household name in the late 1990s when she starred as Brooke Shield’s quirky best friend on “Suddenly Susan.” She also was a cast member on the comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Special,” and landed guest starring roles on the NBC series “Seinfeld,” “Mad About You,” “Caroline In The City,” “ER,” “Dream On,” “Ellen” and “Ned and Stacy.” Griffin has also appeared in the feature films “The Cable Guy,” “Pulp Fiction” and ‘Four Rooms” among others. Her DVD “Allegedly” is available in stores now and she is currently starring in “The D-List,” a multi-episode celebrity expose airing on Bravo.Recently, Griffin has also been a red carpet regular serving as the funny (wo)man to Star Jones’ straight (wo)man during Entertainment Television’s Golden Globe and Academy Award pre-shows. “The red carpet stuff is really fun,” said Griffin. “I don’t care about fashion, and I don’t know anything about it. Someone else can ask who they’re wearing. I’d rather do my own thing and ask a funny question.”
Unfortunately, some of her funny questions at the Golden Globes were not well-received. A particular hit (again, no pun intended) on 10-year-old actress Dakota Fanning’s possible stint in rehab drew scrutiny and a public apology from E! bosses. Perhaps that was why she found herself flying solo on the media bridge high above the red carpet at the Oscars.”I’m a wild card. The producers don’t trust me,” said Griffin. “I scare them. It was tough up there too. I was disappointed. It’s much more fun to talk to people. It’s not like I would ever say ‘your dress looks terrible’ to someone’s face.”But she might say it on stage later.”Everything makes it into my act. My husband and my friends are used to it now,” said Griffin.And she’s getting used to it too.
“It’s not like I ever wanted to talk about my plastic surgery. It’s embarrassing! But the process was so stupid and hilarious I couldn’t resist.”That inability to resist, that overwhelming urge to examine the preposterous peculiarities in life, resonates from Griffin on stage. She is the opposite of everything pretentious and treats the audience like a good pal who wants some dish. She slaughters so many sacred cows it can be dizzying. She advises her audience to listen closely if they want to keep up. “I’m not a joke teller or a prop comic, I tell stories. And for a story to be funny, you have to listen to it. Sit back and listen, that’s all I want from an audience,” said GriffinI’m guessing a few laughs would go over well too. Griffin will be telling stories tonight at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek, 7:30pm. To buy tickets, call 845-TIXS (8497) or go to vilarcenter.org.Vail, Colorado