LOS ANGELES -- Kathy Griffin is plugging her new Bravo talk show “Kathy” in a conference call, taking a few minutes for a question-and-answer session. She is running late, but she has a good excuse.
Breaking news has stunned the ever-demure Griffin: She has been re-banned from “The Today Show” on NBC, and she is delighted.
“I’m so proud of that,” Kathy confessed. “The reason I’m late for the conference call is because I was in my bathroom, where I have a TV because I’m famous, and I was the lead story on CNN for the half hour. I couldn’t believe my good fortune when the banner scrolling across the screen said, ‘Kathy Griffin re-banned from The Today Show.’”
Griffin is far from being upset.
“So that’s why I’m a little late, because let me tell you something. I don’t care how many Emmys you have, and I have two by the way. When you see yourself on CNN in the bathroom you stop what you’re doing. I was frozen, naked, with a toothbrush in my hand,” she said.
But enough chitchat. It is time to get to the important stuff.
Q: Hi Kathy. How does it feel to know you’re going to hell?
Kathy: I love it. I’ve got my hand basket all decorated. I have Oprah on it and a picture of Ryan Seacrest with his arms open wide.
Q: Fantastic. I’ll meet you there. I’ll bring the vodka. Speaking of which, how’s Maggie? How’s your Mom?
Kathy: Well, I’m not going to lie. She has a lot of demands for the "Kathy" show that have not been very easy to meet. First of all, she doesn’t want to do the show if she has a stomachache or feels she might get the runs.
Q: Understandable. I have a favor. I have an 87-year-old alcoholic father. Can we hook him up with your 91-year-old alcoholic mother? That is, if you ever come to Arizona again?
Kathy: I was just there about two months ago. I played the Fox in Phoenix (she meant Tucson, she played the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix … that Kathy!) I love going to Arizona because invariably when I go on stage there, I ask you guys if you know you’re crazy? And, you always answer yes, the affirmative.
Q: Yes, it’s an embarrassment being an embarrassment.
Kathy: Let me tell you who’s not invited on the show. Look, I’m not banning anybody, but I’m not a fan of that Jan Brewer [Arizona’s governor]. She’s got to go.
Q: There’s nothing like a finger in the face [which Brewer did to President Barack Obama] to really endear you to a governor and a state, is there?
Kathy: I mean really, that’s such f***ing bulls**t. She should apologize. She should just go work at Forever 21. She’s a f****ing dumb ass.
Q: Don’t hold back Kathy. The voters here need a cold, wet slap.
Kathy: You just described my pu**y!
Kathy: Thank you.
Bravo hopes "Kathy" is a hit
Speaking of Bravo, the network has big hopes for the new series, Griffin's first with Bravo since the end of "D-List." But with Bravo, a subsidiary of NBC Universal, “Kathy” has a few obstacles to overcome.
This network has a well-deserved reputation for excessive cross-pollination. Andy Cohen, Bravo’s executive VP of original programming and development, and host of “Watch What Happens Live,” regularly features way too many of the housewives from all of the “Housewife” franchises which not coincidentally, are Bravo properties and the creations of Cohen. Respectively, and during the premiere of “Kathy,” Griffin spent a bit too much time shilling for Cohen and his housewives.
Griffin, doing anything that overtly superficial, detracts from her real gift, and that’s her ability and zeal for lampooning anyone and everyone, but especially Hollywood.
According to her own press release:
“Kathy is an all new one-hour weekly pop culture talk show. Every Thursday night, the original gossip girl will have a whole hour to deflate the egos of everyone who is anyone and those who think they’re someone. ‘Kathy’ will showcase Griffin’s unique take on celebrities, co-workers, friends, politicians and yes, even her own boxed-wine swilling mother, Maggie. She’ll be burning the last of her already very few bridges all while enforcing a clothing optional work environment.”
So there it is. We’re breathless with anticipation. Can “Kathy” be Kathy? Or, will Griffin be just one more mouthpiece of incestuous media promotion?
With any luck, it will be the former.
Let’s hope for more cold, wet slaps, but then one has to wonder: Will Governor Brewer be watching too? And if so, how would she feel about her constituent’s wake-up call and the 1-degree of separation with Griffin’s anatomy?
Not so great I think, and therein lurks the real talent of Kathy Griffin.
Sic ‘em Kathy.
Thursdays, 10 pm ET/PT, and repeated often
Kurt Niece is a freelance journalist from Tucson, Ariz., and author of "The Breath of Rapture." He writes about television for SDGLN. He is also an artist who sells his work on his website.