Just for Laughs: Off the tip of her tongue
Kathy Griffin has a way with words. Just ask poor Anderson Cooper
MONTREAL - Kathy Griffin gives great title. The content of her TV series, TV specials, books, DVDs, discs and plays ain’t too shabby either.
But the titles are divine: Hot Cup of Talk; My Life on the D-List; Kathy Griffin Wants a Tony; Kathy Griffin Is … Not Nicole Kidman; Kathy Griffin: Balls of Steel; 50 and Not Pregnant; Calm Down Gurrl; Pants Off; Tired Hooker.
Even the titles of the tracks on her discs are inspired. Her first comedy album, 2008’s For Your Consideration, featured such cuts as Straight Guys Wake Up! and Hi Barbara Walters. The disc debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart — a first for a female comic — and netted a Grammy nomination for best comedy album.
A year later, Griffin released a Christmas album — of sorts — which didn’t fare as well on the Grammy or Billboard front, but did have another splendidly original title: Suckin’ It for the Holidays.
Some may think Griffin farms out the titling responsibilities, but she does them all herself.
“You’re darn right I do,” she says in a phone interview. “And I take a lot of pride in that. The last one, Calm Down Gurrl, is non-gender-specific. Could be a man, a woman, a younger person, an animal. I’ve looked at my dog and I’ve said: ‘Calm down, gurrl.’ ” And the bowser, one assumes, is a boy.
Also non-gender-specific: with Calm Down Gurrl, Griffin broke the record for the most televised comedy specials, male or female. “And nobody gives a s--t,” she claims.
Griffin does, however, give a … damn about the Just for Laughs gala she is hosting, Friday at 10 p.m. at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier of Place des Arts. “Yes, (fellow gala host) Kristin Chenoweth and I might even be sharing a hair and makeup person, or I could share a hair and makeup person with Eddie Izzard. Really. Eddie and I (both wear) a lot of eyeliner.”
Griffin professes her love for Montreal in most intriguing terms. “If I was ever (like) Ed Snowden ... and I got kicked out of the country — of course, I wouldn’t be leaking any national security secrets, other than my Kardashian secrets — I would go live in Montreal. It’s one of my favourite cities ...”
I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, à la the Dom Irrera line: “Montreal is one of my favourite cities ... in all of Quebec.” But Griffin finishes the quote by saying “in the world.”
Griffin has had an interesting relationship with the Bravo network. It giveth and taketh away shows from her, like her award-winning My Life on the D-List and the recently cancelled nighttime talk show Kathy, although Bravo did air Calm Down Gurrl.
Mercifully, there’s still Anderson Cooper to keep her warm and amused in New York for CNN’s annual New Year’s Eve broadcast. “Anderson Cooper is very nervous on New Year’s Eve.”
No kidding. He never knows what will pop out of Griffin’s mouth. It’s that anxiety that makes the broadcast so amusing. “I haven’t got fired yet from that one,” she says. “But my work is not yet done there. If they ever broadcast what goes on during those commercial breaks …
“I will, however, be happy to divulge what goes on during those breaks at the gala. It’s really just me trying to get him to say things that would ruin his career.”
Because that’s what friends are for.
“I think Anderson and I offer a true alternative to anything else you can see on New Year’s Eve, and ratings were up 18 per cent on the last one. It’s so pared down, which is kind of what’s so great about it. It’s really just the two of us freezing our balls off in Times Square — although it’s not the kind of cold weather you guys are used to in Montreal.”
Our cold weather notwithstanding, Griffin feels our country is the bomb. “I will be talking about the many ways I think Canada is superior to the U.S. at my gala,” she says. “I’m going to be sticking around Montreal for the whole weekend after my show to catch those of Cheno(weth) and (Whitney) Cummings and my pal Joan Rivers and Sarah (Silverman), who I have known since she was 18.”
It isn’t lost on Griffin that the women are rocking this year at Just for Laughs, with six of the 10 galas being hosted by women.
“That is such a beautiful thing, and it’s about time. One of the reasons Joan Rivers is so perfect is that when I was a kid and she took over the Tonight Show, I foolishly thought that late-night TV would be 50-50 (between male and female hosts). ... But we are making great strides. That’s why I’m sticking around to see all the girls at the festival. And I’m excited to make the audiences at my show hopefully laugh until they pee a little bit.”
Griffin also has a soft spot for Canadian comedy. “David Steinberg is a national treasure. He is fantastic. You Canadians are not fooling around with the comedy,” she says. “You guys just deliver year after year. That is, if I can talk about you guys as if you were livestock.”
“I find it interesting that your idea of a good time is taking maple syrup and pouring it on the snow. I am a fan of all things Canadian, from your food to your political and health-care systems. I think Michael Moore and I should just get a condo together in Montreal.”
Now, there’s a reality-TV series not even Bravo would dare cancel.
Kathy Griffin hosts a Just for Laughs gala Friday, July 26 at 10 p.m. at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier of Place des Arts. Tickets cost $40.70 to $71.75. Visit hahaha.com.
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