Is Kathy Griffin as irritating as oil stains on a pelican's plumage or does she just play it as such on TV? After speaking with the comedian in anticipation of her live show this weekend at the Zellerbach Auditorium (Sat/17), this much is clear: Griffin is certainly committed to her character.
One would expect no less of a woman who has ridden a red-headed whorl of derision-abrasion from a Suddenly Susan sidekick gig to a six-season and counting reality TV show (My Life on the D-List) – not to mention sold out gigs at Madison Square Garden and a memoir entitled Official Book Club Selection that people appear to be liking. Sure, Stephen Baldwin and Dr. Phil have independently sought to strangle her, but they did so in front of her audience. She's like, the most popular unpopular girl ever, Rodney Dangerfield had he dropped the hangdog and set up a RSS feed straight to TMZ. Read on for our scuffle over philanthropy and sailor-style swearing.
San Francisco Bay Guardian: Where are you right now?
Kathy Griffin: I'm looking at an email I got from Gloria Vanderbilt.
KG: And um... that doesn't dazzle you, period? Don't act like you've ever gotten an email from Gloria Vanderbilt, because you haven't. So Gloria Vanderbilt is going to have me over for my birthday to her apartment in New York.
SFBG: You know her?
KG: Yeah. I do know her. But still every time I get an email from her that just says Gloria Vanderbilt, I get a little excited.
SFBG: I hear that. So at what point do you stop being D-list?
KG: When I get to go to fucking Gloria Vanderbilt's house for my birthday!
SFBG: Is that the moment?
KG: I mean that's a fucking moment, are you kidding me? Thank you for getting how fucking awesome that is. By the way, I still will not be talking about that at my Berkeley show because my audience will be like we don' t give a shit, we want to hear about Britney Spears. But I just wanted to tell you as a journalist because I knew you would enjoy it. Okay, now is there anything I need to know about Berkeley when I play there as opposed to when I play San Francisco?
SFBG: More white people.
KG: More white people? Oh boy, well there goes the neighborhood, lemme tell ya.
SFBG: No I don't know, there will probably be a lot of college people there.
KG: That's good, college audiences are smart, if they go to that school. Or a nearby community college.
SFBG: Parking might be better.
KG: So you're saying the number one reason to come isn't because I have a New York Times number one best seller, it's because the parking's better. Honey I will take whatever I can get, if you want to title this article go see Kathy Griffin: the parking's better – whatever gets there, I can twat it on my Twitter, please follow me at @kathygriffin – I swear to god that's something I would put on there, hey I hear the parking's better in Berkeley. And I'd probably get, like 4,000 people to go, oh in that case I'll go.
SFBG: What is your income breakdown like these days? Where are you making your money, is it from the reality show?
KG: I make the majority of my money from touring, I do not make it from My Life on the D-list, and also I end up spending a certain amount of money, for example I'm going to donate my entire salary to The Trevor Project. So there's another freebie. But anyway, it's a great organization.
SFBG: So you're going to donate all the money you've made for the year? What does that mean?
KG: It means my entire salary from one night, which is more than you make in a year. So show some fucking respect because I'm giving a lot of money and don't even give me shade like oh, part of your salary? Yeah, I employ people, I have a lot of overhead, and it's a large, large chunk of money that I'm happily giving to The Trevor Project. It's a great place where they have a 24-hour hotline that is nationwide. Because if you saw me on Larry King the other night, the teen suicide epidemic is extremely upsetting. Okay, I digress, because the show in Berkeley is going to be fun, fun, fun. But just know behind the scenes I'm working with The Trevor Project.
SFBG: A lot of people give you a lot of crap--
KG: Yeah. You just did. “You're donating your whole salary?” Yeah, I'm donating my whole salary and I'm going to live in a youth hostel. How much are you donating? Oh my god! I'm donating more than anybody and you're like is that your whole salary, big deal. It's a lot of money, more than anyone you're going to interview is donating. I'm a busy girl. But not too busy to talk about the Lohan! Not too busy to talk about the kids on Jersey Shore! Just know that every time I make fun of Snooki or The Situation in some way it's helping veterans or suicidal gay teens.
SFBG: Have you met the kids from Jersey Shore?
KG: Oh hell yeah, I've met them several times.
SFBG: And what are they like in person?
KG: Well they smell bad because they're so into the tanning, but they're not into the showering. I guess they feel like they can wash off their filth, and I don't think they can.
SFBG: I guess GTL has nothing to do with showering.
KG: I'm trying to get them to add the “S” to the GTL. Did you ever fuck a guy that actually leaves your sheets greasy? Cuz I have and I'm like bye, thanks, ew. If I ever fucked The Situation, I'm not kidding you, I would use rubber sheets. Can that be the title of your article? I'm sure that's going to go down really well with your editor. If he's gay I have a tiny shot.
SFBG: I was talking to my friends about what I should ask you last night and we came up with a few questions. If you were a cut of meat, what would you be?
KG: Filet mignon, super well done, no pink at all, totally grey. With a bearnaise sauce.
Sun/17 7 p.m., $57.60-$96
101 Zellerbach #4800, Berk.