(This story was originally published on HuffPost Gay Voices, a content partner of SDGLN.)
Move over, Cher and get ready to share the spotlight, Madonna. There's a new mononymous diva in Hollywood: Kathy. "We don't need the Griffin anymore, honey," Kathy said. "It's 2012 -- they know it's me."
Yep, Kathy Griffin is moving on up since "My Life on the D-List," the Bravo reality show that earned her two Emmys and a couple of notches on the Hollywood totem pole. After six seasons of "D-List" and 13 Bravo stand-up specials to date (with two more on the way this year, she said, "like a damn fool"), now she's got a new pop culture talk show to solidify her spot on the B+/A- list.
"Kathy" (premieres Thurs., April 19, 10 p.m. EST) is a one-hour weekly talk show that lets Griffin rant about anything and everything, whatever's on her mind, from celebrity to politics. She might sometimes be accompanied by her wine-loving mom, Maggie, and she might also do the show without clothes on. But if any Bravo bigwigs are reading this, she swears she's going to be on her best behavior. (She's not.)
HuffPost TV was the first to chat with her about it, and between rants about Rush Limbaugh, Kirk Cameron, Scientology and her favorite target, the Kardashians, Griffin's exclusive scoop about the show got us pretty excited to hang out with her every week.
Keep reading to find out which celebrity offspring she's targeting, what her current TV obsessions are and why you won't be seeing celebrities on her couch. Unless Tim Tebow wants to talk about his stance on gay marriage, that is.
It's about freaking time! What is "Kathy" going to actually look like when it premieres?
It's going to be, what's called in the industry, a shitstorm. I just did a promotional photo shoot for Bravo, and I'm playing a little bit of a smoke-and-mirrors game with them, where I don't actually want them to know what the show is because I'm trying not to get canceled before my premiere. But they did a photoshoot with me with police "caution" tape around my mouth, so it's almost as if they're anticipating ... they know what they're in for, as will the rest of America, Canada, parts of Mexico City, the UK and Finland.
The show is an hour-long weekly, which I love -- kind of like Bill Maher or Howard Stern, in a way, on his radio show. We have a little more time to play with stuff and kind of go a little deep. I have some ideas up my sleeve that I hope the network is OK with, one of which is I don't really want celebrity guests.
Well, because I don't know if I can continue to do the Lord's work, which is make fun of celebrities. If I'm sitting on the couch with Gwyneth Paltrow, how can I make fun of GOOP?
Good point. There's always that line ... so you're OK working off of something that's just happened that day, or even that minute before the show begins?
Yeah, I would say that the show is going to have the elements of my stand-up -- meaning I'll say anything and worry about it later -- as well as whatever personal run-ins I've had with celebrities or friends or my 91-year-old alcoholic mom and her boxed wine. Or maybe a politician. Hopefully it'll have the unpredictability of New Year's Eve with Anderson Cooper. I'll try to keep my clothes on, but I make no promises.
No, no promises there ...
Well, I'd like to do the first bottomless broadcast. I feel like anyone can do a topless show, but when's the last time you saw a nice, sensible shirt, heels and no pants? And I don't mean I'm hiding behind my desk like [Stephen] Colbert or Jon Stewart when they don't have their pants on -- I mean, I'm Sharon Stone, taking it to the streets, old school beaver.
But will there be non-celebrity guests, whether or not you have pants?
It will definitely have chatty elements, and I'll mix it up with panelists, but I kind of like the idea of surrounding myself with -- as I lovingly say -- civilians. Instead of trying to surround myself with starlets where I have to kiss their ass, I think people want to see my mom get a little bit drunk and talk about how she feels about Kendall Kardashian. And then they can see me talk about Super Tuesday ... who knows what Rick Santorum is going to say next! And, of course, if we were doing the show this week, we would state the obvious, which is while we were watching Kirk Cameron's interview on "Piers Morgan" and hearing his rather ... I would say he's not a progressive thinker ... but there's a part of me that was watching that interview thinking, "When they show those 'Growing Pains' pictures, you kind of look like a hustler."
And your TV best friend's name was Boner!>
Thank you! Right? I don't think the best idea would necessarily be for me to have Kirk Cameron on. I think it's more like I look in the camera and say, "Did anyone else think that he looked like an old school hustler?" And, by the way, for a homophobe, he sure is obsessed with bananas. So it's not necessarily about me screaming, "You look gay to me!" It's me just kind of bringing up whatever thoughts or musings I have that hopefully people will share.
But having those civilians, those people in your life, be on the show is what I think made "D-List" such a big success. Everything felt really organic and like a peek into your real life.
That's the only way I know how to work ... in the way that my act has never been this really tight, well-written monologue that's rehearsed and performed many times, my show will definitely have that same feel. Believe me, I'm not going to know what's going to come out of my mouth until the camera's rolling. That's the only way I know how to do it. It's going to definitely have the feeling of my live shows, which truly change every performance, because of things like Rush Limbaugh and his unexpected cohort Patricia Heaton ...
Who knew she was such a slut-hater?
I mean, really? I, by the way, am not a slut hater. I enjoy sluts, I enjoy when I have the opportunity to be one ... I embrace it. With the safety of some lube and a condom, I say everyone should just do whatever they can as long as no one's getting hurt. I don't know why she's piling on. ABC's going to have to re-name that show, "The Middle," and just call it "The Far Right."
I'm just so excited by something like the Rush Limbaugh story because I could just verbally abuse Rush Limbaugh all I want, and there's nothing that that fatass can do about it from his Florida bomb shelter. I, by the way, will not be doing my show from the basement of my Palm Beach $20 million mansion.
Will you be doing the show in front of an actual audience?
Yes. I'm going to keep it kind of small-ish -- maybe 75 people -- so you get a reaction, but I want it to feel intimate. I want people to feel like they're just hanging out at a dinner party, overhearing stuff that I shouldn't say. Just hanging out with a friend, letting the fur fly.
The late night TV landscape is pretty packed as it is. Are you happy with your timeslot?
Yeah, it's gonna air the same time as "Jersey Shore," which inevitably means I'll be shielding my fans from getting the clap through their TVs. I will be competing with those "Jersey Shore"-ons and T-shirt time, but I'll do my best to try to entertain America. And Finland.
So has Bravo given you complete creative control of the show?
Um ... let me see if I can phrase this in a way that I'm imagining the head of the network is reading it. I would say that they have complete control. I will absolutely toe the line. I'll be on my best behavior. I won't curse, I'll keep all my clothes on and I certainly won't offend any deities, like Jesus or Allah. OK, maybe Jesus and Allah. But then I'll stop. And maybe a little Scientology. But then I'm gonna really stop. And I'll only make fun of a few celebrity children. Well, Blue Ivy Carter for sure, but then I'll try to control myself. Unless Victoria Beckham has another kid. And, by the way, I'd like to weigh her live on my show. I would allow one celebrity guest if they're willing to get on a scale.
[Laughs.] Speaking of celebrity kids, if you're not following @SurisBurnBook on Twitter, you should be.
It's hysterical. That's the kind of attitude we're going for. I'm like a bitter child!
You've got the bird flu. How did that even happen?.
I really, truly don't know. My doctor thinks it's because I'm on tour all the time, but I will tell you that I did shows in Tucson, Phoenix, Shawnee, Oklahoma, and Wichita, and I blame Wichita. Here's why: That's where Kirstie Alley is from. I believe that the Scientologists have gotten together -- and I'm talking Jason Lee and Giovanni Ribisi and they know who they are -- and they have created a new strain of virus to try to kill me, like the virus in "Contagion." And I believe that they are working in tandem with Oprah and Ryan Seacrest.
Yeah, the Scientologists probably aren't your biggest fans. I'm just glad you finally started taking your shirt off to get the lesbians on your big gay fan bandwagon.
Oh, the lesbians! After years of doing the Dinah Shore, who knew that just taking my shirt off would finally get the lesbians? And with the help of Suze Orman, because she is my lesbian fairy princess. I hope to God the gays will be watching, but you know, I'm kind of gunning for the straights, too. If I have to book Tim Tebow, I'll do it. Of course, he'll have to talk about his stance on Prop 8, not basketball or whatever the fuck he plays.
So Tim Tebow is OK, but no Kardashians?
Maybe we'll do a recreation of Kim Kardashian's Bible studies that she's been threatening to start.
This show won't keep you from touring and doing your stand-up act, will it?
I love the road. I love performing live. I love everything, from the craziest casino in rural Bumbfuck to Carnegie. I just love it so much. And that's important, I think, for me to do the show and still be on the road, doing my thing.
What are your current TV obsessions?
Oh boy. So it's constant MSNBC and CNN -- those are always going. Then I'm a huge TLC fan -- Bravo gets mad at me when I say that, but "Toddlers & Tiaras," "My Strange Addiction," "600-Lb. Life" ... they do so many awesome shows. I'm also, believe it or not, a huge fan of OWN, because it's super crazy. I don't know if I'm the only one watching it, but let me tell you something: "Oprah's Next Chapter" ... that show is so crazy, where she goes to like Steven Tyler's lake house and he shows her his mangled toes. I mean, that show is a hidden gem, I'm telling you. And, of course, I still watch all the "Housewives." I'm kind of old school; I think "OC" is my favorite one. And I'm not above "Gigolos" on Showtime either, which is executive produced by Richard Grieco, by the way. So you know that means Richard Grieco must've been a callboy. Those "Jump Street" checks must've gone away after a while!
"Kathy" premieres Thurs., April 19, 10 p.m. EST and will air weekly on Thursdays.