We sometimes hear from artists after an interview (most send quick "thanks for talking with me" notes). We've never had an artist send us a note before the interview ... until Kathy Griffin. About an hour before we were set to talk about her upcoming Houston show Griffin sent a message to the Houston Press via Twitter.
Sure, she says "please" and ends with a smiling face, but this is Kathy Griffin. She-who-insults-everyone-for-a-living. We know a threat when we read one so we send out a frantic "anybody got any good questions for Kathy Griffin?" message to our Facebook friends and get a few responses.
Once we get on the phone with Griffin, she takes off before we ask our first question.
“Right now I'm googling 'Houston Rockets hot players.' I know there's a chance that there may be some gay men that come to my show and I feel it's my job to talk about the hottest guy on the Rockets,” she tells us. “As if my audience gives a fuck about sports, I know, but I like to keep it real. I like to keep it local, so go Rockets!' Oh wait, be sure to write that I'm going to hit Nick Johnson up for his digits when I get there. Can you say that?”
We assure her that we can and say a little prayer for the 22-year-old Johnson who might find himself at the center of a Griffin gag.
Griffin tells us she loves Houston and is looking forward to playing here, especially since we seem to hand her material on a silver platter. “You know, I'm not trying to shame you about your job – I know you're doing the Lord's work – but right now on [the Houston Press] homepage is a video called Chef Chat, Jody Stevens of the Depressed Cake Shop. You know that's going in my act. I don't know if 'depressed' means that the cakes weren't baked properly and they fell or what, but as a comedian, I live for shit like that. Thank you, Houston!”
The Lord's work. Yep, that's a dig. We decide to jump into our questions.
From Karen: If you would be Cagney, who would be Lacey?
Kathy Griffin: "The night I met Cher ... you heard me, Cher ... Rosie O'Donnell took me to Vegas to Cher's show and we went with Sharon Gless. So, if I was Cagney, Sharon Gless would still be Lacey because I fucking know her! Boom!"
From Liz: Do you have to show ID when you check into hotels?
Kathy Griffin: "Look, Houston's one thing but let's not kid each other, I'm also playing Charleston, West Virginia and Tunica, Mississippi on this tour. At least half the time, the desk staff doesn't know who I am.
When they ask for ID, I get real loud and say, 'I'm Kathy Griffin! Do I need to pull out my Emmys and Grammy?' And there'll be some 19-year-old kid behind the counter who says, 'Well, yeah, I need some ID.' I always give it a shot and act like I'm famous and they should know me but about half the time, I just give up and show them ID."
From Doni: What about Joan Rivers?
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Kathy Griffin: "What can I say? I loved her. Inspiration is an understatement when it came to her. Friend was an understatement. When she passed away I made it my mission to do whatever was in my power to make sure people knew what a wonderful person she was. At our last dinner together, which was two weeks before she went into her coma, I said, 'You know, you and I are in a really small club as [female comics], but really, you're in a club of your own.' Come on, she was 81 years old and still in the game, still loving it. She was just the real deal, wholly legit. We closed the restaurant down. We were having so much fun and laughing and we kept saying, 'Aren't we lucky?' There's no question in my mind, I wouldn't be able to do this without her [having come before me]. And these younger girls, who are you shitting? You wouldn't be able to do it either."
From Moe P: Why should anybody care enough about what you think to ask you a question?
Kathy Griffin: "Well, fuck that asshole and the horse he rode in on. How about because I've set mother fucking records? How about because I have two Emmys and a Grammy? How about because I've had three television shows - with my name on them! Or that I've done 23 unprecedented comedy specials. How about because I just booked Carnegie Hall and I'm selling out Lincoln Center. But none of that matters, because no matter where I go, there are people like Moe P. who shoot my shit down. But you know what? It's okay because it's that anger that keeps me going on stage; it's that anger that makes me a fucking genius!"
See Kathy Griffin at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, June 28. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas Avenue. For information, call 713-230-1600 or visit bayoumusiccenter.com. $39.50 to $69.50.