The red-haired firecracker has a four-year fuse.
It might be said that Kathy Griffin was probably the originator of the modern day tea party. No, not that Tea Party, the one she invited us to, first on her weekly Emmy-winning reality show “My Life on the D-List," then in her stage act where she pours aplenty on Hollywood and its ilk.
The red-headed spitfire shed light on everything from the Grammys to The View as we shifted in our seats wondering who she would dish about next.
Griffin isn’t a rebel without her claws and every time we watched, it was in anticipation of who she might piss off, a bold move that often solidified her loyalty to fans.
It is in this spirit that Kathy emboldened the LGBT community in some ways. Taking her fierce attitude and willingness to challenge those we thought were untouchable. She somehow made it okay to speak out. And if we couldn’t do that ourselves we could trust her to do it for us.
And now more than ever, we need her. On March 12, The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) will honor Kathy with the Vanguard Award for her achievements in LGBTQ equality.
“First I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Kathy said. “It is a great honor to be Queen of the queens. As a Queen I adore worship in any and all forms but most of all from gorgeous men with the voice of angels.”
Her voice, seems to have slightly veered off Melrose and onto Pennsylvania Avenue, as exemplified in her response after I asked how she was, and how busy she’s been keeping herself.
“How do you expect me to be with all these lunatics in the White House?” she said, “At the top of my game, dammit. Touring my ass off and fighting as a lieutenant in the Comedy Army, LGBT rights division!”
Her appointed rank is one we all salute, and I asked her if she could remember the first person she ever met who was gay, and if someone had to explain it to her.
“Ryan Seacrest, I think,” she laughs. “Was that his name? I can’t remember. Look, I was the little gal hangin’ with the…um, well-dressed little boy who loves the musicals as long as I can remember. I don't know if either of us knew much of anything except that we had to find each other and laugh in to the sunset.”
But that sunset gave rise to a new political climate in 2016 come dawn, and as her voice reaches a new platform, I wondered if it would be heard, taken seriously by others outside the like-minded community: or just thrown away as liberal garbage? She says it’s a scale she stacks very carefully, finding the perfect sweet spot.
“I think there is a delicate balance between serious and funny but the funny helps get the message across,” Kathy told me. “The comedy is my spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. Please don’t start singing. Oh wait, you guys can start singing. Sorry. Anyway, I know I am taken seriously by how upset the ‘deplorables’ get.”
It’s not often we get celebrities like Kathy Griffin to speak on our behalf. It’s comforting to know that her material is firmly set in logical thoughts not irrational fears. She says people who can’t accept LGBT people are afraid of them because, "they can’t handle fabulous, fierce, determined and strong.”
“It scares them,” she continued. “Mostly they are just afraid of anything or anyone different. Luckily, this is exactly the time when we need to proudly embrace our status as 'others!' Were all equal, but some of us can have a little fun with our 'other' label. As in, we 'others' can pull of a Gucci hat far better than, say, Kellyanne Conway.”
This brought to mind celebrities who are in the LGBT community who support Trump. People such as Caitlyn Jenner who asked the president to “call her,” after his administration overturned an Obama guidance to protect the rights of transgender school kids.
Kathy has her own ideas about the Trump/Jenner relationship.
“They are clearly very, very much in love and I feel terrible for poor sweet Melania. Sad!”
And if Caitlyn is supposed to be a representative of the LGBT community but going backward instead of forward, I called on Kathy for advice on how we in the community can push back; what we can do to help the next four years become slightly more bearable.
Again the comedian has her heels wedged firmly on the side of the LGBT community and makes clear that following her example is a powerful way to take a stance, She says to start first at the local level.
“The LGBT community has always been exemplary at organizing, getting all the voting and resistance info out to the community on all human equality issues and SHOWING UP! Stay strong, stay loud and never give up. The White House hasn’t even seen the wrath of the LGBT community yet. I feel bad for them really, the Trumps and the President Bannon, because those nutjobs have no idea what they're up against with the LGBTQIA2’s and one fearless, foul-mouthed comedienne!”
She is fearless. And bringing it back to Hollywood I jokingly asked her about the Academy Awards snafu and if she thought one Gwyneth Paltrow had anything to do with the wrong “Best Picture” being read.
“Goop has her goopy fingers in everything,” she said. “I heard she was talking to Russia.”
It is for all of the above reasons and attitudes that make Kathy Griffin the perfect choice for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Vanguard Award. And again, Kathy is genuinely moved by the honor and wants the public to know it.
“I appreciate being appreciated, especially by such a wonderful organization as the SFGMC. I am deeply honored. You’re the ones who deserve an award for all the amazing work you do.”
Currently on her “Celebrity Run-In Tour,” I asked Kathy if she is going to visit America’s Finest City soon, either for business or pleasure.
“Both. I am in the business of giving pleasure. Oh, that may have a double meaning here. I am definitely coming down for some Lucha Libre tacos and probably some sweet deliciousness from extraordinary desserts. San Diego is beautiful! Check out kathygriffin.com for tour dates and see when I a town near you.”
San Diego Gay and Lesbian News congratulates Kathy Griffin on her Vanguard Award.
Individual tickets for the Crescendo Gala are available HERE.
Timothy Rawles is Community Editor of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @reporter66 on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.
About San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
For nearly 40 years, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus has courageously served as the international standard bearer for a powerful and accomplished mix of high-caliber performance, human rights, community activism, empowerment and inclusiveness, establishing it as an icon among LGBT organizations. Founded in 1978, it was the first organization of its kind and is credited with starting the LGBT choral movement, galvanizing and changing the course of LGBTQ history. It continues to rally and inspire other arts-based community organizations around the world. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dr. Timothy Seelig, SFGMC has in recent seasons established a heightened level of performance standards receiving audience and choral acclaim, increased its touring and recording profile and broadened its impact and reputation in the community while maintaining its signature blend of humor, personality and high-voltage performances. For more information, visit www.sfgmc.org and @sfgmc (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram).