"Riffin' With Griffin"
Self-proclaimed D-list celebrity offers her unique perspective on Hollywood, Beaver Hunt and equine fellatio.
Interview by Dan Kapelovitz
It seems that whenever you turn on your TV, Kathy Griffin is there: HBO specials, Hollywood Squares, Celebrity Mole, episodes of Seinfeld, and she recently received more than $30,000 worth of plastic surgery for free by allowing Entertainment Tonight to feature her cosmetic procedures. Currently, the carrottopped hellion is the host of NBC's latest reality show, Average Joe
Although the actress is most famous for her role as Brooke Shields's sidekick on the sitcom Suddenly Susan, Griffin's comedic talents shine through best when she performs stand-up. Kathy's daily experiences—including her many humorous celebrity run-ins—provide ample material for her act, often to the chagrin of the stars she skewers. Griffin even devotes part of her routine to Hustler's Beaver Hunt phenomenon.
I spoke to the redheaded comedienne at her home (an architectural masterpiece high in the Hollywood Hills) while her husband talked on the phone with their accountant, and her current assistant, Daisy, took care of the dogs. (Griffin says she goes through about ten of them—assistants, not dogs—every month.) Making the natural assumption that Kathy is a huge porn fan, I brought a stack of Hustler titles for her reading pleasure.
KAPELOVITZ: Here's The Best of Beaver Hunt, your favorite.
GRIFFIN: What do the normal Beaver Hunt girls get?
GRIFFIN: Oh, Christ. Shouldn't Larry Flynt be arrested for that? I know he's had his Supreme Court battles and his political legal battles, but seriously, there's gotta be a law against that.
KAPELOVITZ: We did offer $10 million to one of the Bush twins.
GRIFFIN: Ten million? Wow, I'm changing my name. I like that because it just so far exceeds any amount I've ever heard Playboy offer. For $10 million, I would blow a horse. What about humpback whales? Do they have dicks? I don't even want to think about what I would blow for $10 million.
KAPELOVITZ: What about a million dollars?
GRIFFIN: Look, after I won the Celebrity Mole, it's gonna take a little more than a million to get me to blow a horse.
KAPELOVITZ: How much did you win?
GRIFFIN: A quarter of a million dollars, but I also have all the integrity too, to back it up.
KAPELOVITZ: What were the other contestants paid?
GRIFFIN: At first, they were gonna give everybody $10,000, and the winnings would go to the charity of their choice. So I called them back and said, "Fuck that. I need that money." If you're on the Celebrity Mole, you're not in a position to be giving money away. You need that cash. Nobody signed up, and then sure enough, a week later, they came back, and they said, "Okay, everybody who even shows up gets $25,000, and the winner gets to keep the money." So everybody signs up. As a D-list celebrity, this is the type of offer that comes across my desk.
KAPELOVITZ: Who else is on the D-list?
GRIFFIN: Let's say the A-list is Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt; I would say my fellow D-listers are Darva Conger, Coolio, Chyna—the wrestler who used to be Chyna—[Corey] Feldman, [Corey] Haim. Those are my peeps.
KAPELOVITZ: What are some of the weirder offers you get for work?
GRIFFIN: I have so many. I actually keep them in a stack. Let me go see if I can find them. [She retrieves a pile of faxes.] I'm doing a pilot for NBC based on my life called The D List; so I've been saving these. Okay, this one I love. This is VH1; "A special that will feature comedians and their humor." They have the 50 greatest moments. I'm not one of them. They want to interview me about how great other comedians are.
KAPELOVITZ: Couldn't you have demanded that you would only do it if they put you in the top 50?
GRIFFIN: Yeah, I did. They were like, "It's not gonna happen." That's the D-list, honey. Welcome. Take a good, hard look.
KAPELOVITZ: Have you ever taken a job that you later regretted?
GRIFFIN: Oh, yeah, but I don't regret anything that pays.
KAPELOVITZ: Have you ever been on Bill O'Reilly's show?
GRIFFIN: No, but I was booked to go on one time. He wanted to know how I felt about the war before we went to Iraq. I wanted to talk about my experiences with the USO because I went to Afghanistan, Kuwait and Uzbekistan. Anyway, they called back and said, "Well, Bill wants to know where you stand on the war." And I said, "Tell Bill that I have no interest in talking about how I feel about the war. I'm a comic; I'm not an expert, and I'm really tired of hearing other nonexperts in my profession act like they're experts, because they're not. I'll make jokes about it, but I'm not gonna seriously sit down and debate whether or not we should go into Iraq, because who the fuck am I?"
KAPELOVITZ: What do you think about Janeane Garofalo's vocal antiwar stance?
GRIFFIN: I think she's ridiculous. First of all, I'm no brainiac. I just have my opinion, and I vote the way I vote, but I really am not going to act like a spokesperson for any idea. As bright as Janeane Garofalo is—and she's definitely a bright girl for a comic—you can't be nearly as knowledgeable as any of these people. You have a job as an actor; so you can't be spending all day, every minute of your life, being someone like David Gergen, who's worked in four White Houses. That's who I'm going to listen to; I'm not gonna listen to Susan Sarandon. And when I watched Janeane talk, and when I was watching Natalie Maines talk, I realized it's so simple; I'm not gonna listen to someone who has to speak so slowly because they're searching for words. They were asking Natalie Maines, "How do you feel about us going into Iraq?" and Natalie Maines is sitting there talking to Diane Sawyer like this; "I [long pause] think we should [long pause] not [long pause] go into Iraq unless [long pause] we really know if the [long pause] weapons inspectors [long pause] found anything." It took her about five minutes to say that because she doesn't know what she's talking about; she has to search for her words. I'm not saying these people are stupid; I'm just saying that's not who I'm going to listen to.
KAPELOVITZ: Do you ever get any flak from celebrities you've discussed in your stand-up act?
GRIFFIN: Well, Brooke Shields is truly angry at me because I told a story about going to her wedding that I thought was hilarious. Her mom got really hammered. Her mom behaved in a very typical way that people often do at weddings. I told the story in my act. Brooke came to see it, and she thought it was funny. But then it got into the Star or something, and the next time I went on The Howard Stern Show, Stern just went off on it. He spent half an hour just making fun of her. She was really upset by that; so we're on the outs.
KAPELOVITZ: Is there any hope for your relationship?
GRIFFIN: I don't know. I mean, I don't feel that celebrities should be in this protective bubble that they're in. If I saw something really funny at a wedding, then it would be in my act whether the person's famous or not. It's kind of better that people know who I'm talking about. This isn't something like, "Well, I heard this happened at Brooke Shields's wedding." This is something that I was ringside for.
KAPELOVITZ: Has anyone ever threatened to sue you?
GRIFFIN: Yeah, one time Lauryn Hill sort of threatened to sue me because on Politically Incorrect I said she was a racist, but nothing happened.
KAPELOVITZ: Doesn't Eminem even sing about Hill being racist?
GRIFFIN: Yeah, exactly. I really am kind of protected, because it's all under the umbrella that I'm a comedian.
KAPELOVITZ: I heard that you enjoy being in the tabloids.
GRIFFIN: I love it.
KAPELOVITZ: What's your favorite tabloid article about yourself?
GRIFFIN: Let's go look at the fridge. The minute I'm in one of the tabloids, I have it laminated and put on the fridge.
KAPELOVITZ: Are all of these true?
GRIFFIN: Pretty much mostly. That's why celebrities hate the tabloids, because it's mostly true.
KAPELOVITZ: Here's "'Brooke Shields's drunk mom hit on my hubby,' reveals co-star."
GRIFFIN: I love it. That's a good one. "Kathy Griffin's About Face" is about my face-lift, because I used to show the post-op slides in my act. It was awesome; they're really sick.
KAPELOVITZ: I heard you once took off your shirt as part of your act.
GRIFFIN: Yes, one time. I was so moved by a Celine Dion song that I took my clothes off. I was down to underpants, and I had my boobs out too, which I can't believe, because they're real, and they're very mushy. I could actually play Hacky Sack with my boobs without a bra on.
KAPELOVITZ: Wasn't one of the other comediennes angry that you did that?
GRIFFIN: Yeah. The girl who followed me, Henriette Mantel—she slammed my set, saying, "It's such an easy laugh to take your top off," and "Haven't women come farther than that?" I just said, "Well, you know, I'm not above an easy laugh. I'll do anything for a laugh."
KAPELOVITZ: Tell us about your new reality series, Average Joe.
GRIFFIN: It's so sick. Okay, get this. They get a really cute bimbo, NFL cheerleader cutesy girl, and they lead her to believe that she's going to be on a show like The Bachelorette, where it's 16 hot guys. At the end of it, she's gonna find this hot fireman who's gonna propose. In episode one, they interview her, and they say, "What are you looking for in a man?" And, of course, she just wants a sense of humor and a nice smile, and she also wants someone who has intelligence. No, I think she was saying things like she wants someone who is intelligence. This bus pulls up, and it's 16 real men, meaning there are guys that are 400 pounds, balding, hairy backs. Pretty much the whole series is watching her go on these dates with these guys and trying not to vomit.
KAPELOVITZ: How did they find these guys?
GRIFFIN: Anybody will do anything to be on television—that's how.
KAPELOVITZ: Did they know they were chosen because they're not good-looking?
GRIFFIN: No. They think they're going on some kind of reality show, but they don't know what. I'm the one who tells them. That's what's so horrible. They're all lined up at the pool, and of course they're in their swimsuits, and who looks good in a swimsuit? I walk out there, and they all clap because they recognize me. Then I break it to them. I'm like, "You're all here to meet a girl, but you guys aren't the normal type that she might be expecting." It was intense.
KAPELOVITZ: What were they paid?
KAPELOVITZ: What about the girl?
KAPELOVITZ: What about the winner?
GRIFFIN: Nothing. Zero.
KAPELOVITZ: What do they win, a date?
GRIFFIN: They win a fucking date.
KAPELOVITZ: Is your show The D List going to be a reality show?
GRIFFIN: No, it's gonna be just a regular sitcom based on my life as a D-list celebrity. The beauty of it is, I'm actually gonna play Kathy Griffin, the girl that was the sidekick on Suddenly Susan and has been biting and scratching ever since, who goes and does these offers, like stand-up at the Burbank dog pound—what it's really like to be on the D-list.
KAPELOVITZ: Would you do Celebrity Boxing?
GRIFFIN: No. And I have been asked. I was very hurt and insulted. I was like, "I'm not there yet, okay, fellas?"
KAPELOVITZ: That's the E-list.
GRIFFIN: Yeah. Especially because, I think, on that one, the money is really low too. It's something crazy like $10,000 for the boxers, but then they give $25,000 to the charity or some bullshit. Let's face it; Joey Buttafuoco needs that cash. That's the charity. Tonya Harding needs that money. Don't make her give away a penny.
KAPELOVITZ: Do you have any final thoughts on Beaver Hunt?
GRIFFIN: I would just like to say to ladies out there that are competing in Beaver Hunt, just keep your eye on the prize. Stay focused. You gotta want it. Just remember to have integrity, honesty and just be who you are. And you can win Beaver Hunt.
KAPELOVITZ: Is there anything else you want our readers to know?
GRIFFIN: Just that they are all disgusting animals that are going to hell.
(This article first appeared in the December 2003 issue of Hustler Magazine)
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