“Hey A$AP Lachlan… do you know I roll deep with the A$AP Family?” The tweet that popped up in my notifications hours before my scheduled interview time with Kathy Griffin made it clear that I wasn’t the only one putting in research time. The inspiration behind my Twitter handle, A$AP Lachy, became the initial talking point of our rapid-fire chat. Turns out Kathy wasn’t lying about being tight with the A$AP crew.
“The way I became aware of A$AP Rocky was through my talk show [The Kathy Show], where someone on my team found these two rappers talking about whether they would rather fuck me or Cher,” she says referring to A$AP Rocky and Danny Brown. “The tape is so funny, that I now play it before my shows. So I said that we need to track down A$AP Rocky and book him on the talk show, and at the same time, he just blew up and was touring like crazy with Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q – who is also in love with me – and then he was opening for Rihanna on her world tour, collaborating with Drake. So when he came on the show it was exciting, because he wasn’t doing a lot of talk shows at the time. And I just love those guys, they’re hilarious and no holds barred. He came over to my house and we became friends.”
At age 52, Kathy is as busy as ever. Juggling a multitude of television commitments and a formidable touring schedule, Kathy owes her work ethos to the legends who have come before. “I’m friends with Joan Rivers and Don Rickles, and they told me this is how it’s done. I’m a workhorse. My 93-year-old alcoholic mother Maggie told me three days ago that if I’m not careful I could lose everything, live in my car and eat dog food the rest of my life. By the way, I have a very nice house and I pay for her condo,” she says. “It’s like when you hear about these Hollywood divorces and the bimbo wife wants half of everything, my mother is like my bimbo wife. She just wants me to sign a blank cheque so she can get her box wine. And I do it, I’m happy to do it.”
The focal point of Kathy’s material tends to be the crazy world of celebrity, a realm she has been ensconced with since her emergence as a comedian in the mid-’80s. Since then, the world’s fascination with celebrity has intensified exponentially. “Now we’re saturated with it. When I started, my material was about my dating misadventures or my family or auditions. Then I started working in television more, so I incorporated all that ridiculousness of celebrity. I couldn’t believe it, my first few jobs on television, I just couldn’t believe how celebrities behaved. So my act has always been what I personally observed. Then I started working more, and getting Emmy awards and Grammy nominations, so I was attending these events and that’s where it all goes down. So when you come see me at the Opera House you know I’m going to give you the real behind the scenes on what really goes on, who’s naughty, who’s nice. Like my fight with Justin Timberlake that he doesn’t know about. What’s that bullshit with an ’N Sync reunion that was only 90 seconds? It was more lighting and smoke than singing,” she dismisses, focusing on one of the lesser talked about moments of this year’s VMAs. “We need to talk that out as a family.”
Using her own status as celebrity, Kathy lends her voice for the betterment of causes she holds dear. “If I’m doing something serious, I tend to stick to LGBT issues or womens issues. That’s my wheelhouse, that’s where I live, I’ve talked in front of Senate about the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military, marched for Prop 8 and marriage equality. Then as a woman in a largely male field, that’s something I can speak to – about the sexism in stand-up comedy and how to deal with it. That’s what gets me to the stage every night, that no matter what, you have to laugh.”
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
*Photo: Mike Ruiz