Friday, March 17, 2017

Kathy Griffin Brings Celebrity Run-In Tour to Baltimore

Written by  Frankie Kujawa

Frankie? Who the hell is gay and named Frankie? It should be Francis!” boomed the familiar voice right from the start of the conversation. Funny, witty, genuine, sincere, authentic, big-hearted … all words that describe the rollercoaster that is the incomparable Kathy Griffin. The beloved comedian is bringing her “Celebrity Run-In Tour” to Baltimore’s The Lyric on Friday, April 7th at 8pm.

“I very much enjoy Baltimore and I love Baltimore audiences!” declared the comic who spoke exclusively to Baltimore OUTloud. “I’ve played The Lyric before and of course we want the gays to come out, as well. It will be an evening of renewed faith where Aunt Kathy will be there to be offensive.” Griffin’s 50-city tour is a compliment to just how relevant and beloved the comic still is in the hearts of her fans. “I promise to have all new material! How the f*ck could I not with everything we have going on in the world right now?”

The tour shares the same name as her recent book Kathy Griffin’s Celebirity Run-In’s in which the New York Times bestselling author recounts the hilarious antidotes of her interactions with the who’s who of Hollywood’s social elite. As Griffin put it herself, “Trying to sell a book nowadays is like trying to sell a dinosaur figure.”

For Griffin, who easily breezes in and out of Hollywood’s social circles, trying to narrow down stories for her tell-all tome proved to be quite a challenge. “I started with over 500 different celebrities to cover! I thought, ‘How would I pick the crazy ones?’” Griffin laughed. “By the end, I wanted to have a range of people. So, I put in everything from Woody Allen, and the crazy comment of him saying he’s seen every episode of ‘Hannah Montana,’ to Warren Zevon. I even wanted to throw in people that I don’t think many know I’m friends with, like Sidney Portier.” Griffin added, “I think that my readers will be a little surprised by this [book]. Of course, I had to put in Cher and Anderson [Cooper] and Bette Midler. You know … the icons.”

One person who wasn’t a fan of her latest book, however, was comedian and television host Ellen DeGeneres. “Ellen DeGeneres called me and she was furious.” Griffin recounted. “The whole time we were on the phone I kept picturing a split screen of Ellen on one side and me on the other.” Griffin joked. “It was hard to hear her because I think she was printing money in the background. Or, that could have been the Kardashians because I live next door to them.” Griffin continued. “We were yelling like we were Krystle and Alexis Carrington [from ‘Dynasty’]” The much-heated conversation made headlines back in December when Griffin revealed that DeGeneres was very unhappy that Griffin had alluded to an alternate “mean” side of DeGeneres.

“I was defending Joan Rivers,” Griffin continued. “I was promoting my book and I was asked if there was anything about Joan Rivers that I didn’t run in the book. [Joan] and I had dinner two weeks before Joan’s coma and we always joked about Ellen. Ellen had said Joan was mean. So, I felt this need to defend my friend. In the phone call, I told Ellen to stop saying [Joan] was mean. She wasn’t having it. I have to say that of everyone I wrote about in the book I’m actually surprised a gay comedian would take such an issue about a joke. Of course, when I tour I love to have a reaction from someone famous. Then, I have to run and tell the audience. Of course, I have to! I’m a rogue 56-year old chick comic going town to town with my bucket of bit-jokes. No one is funding me. It’s just me offending people town to town. Me and my gays!” the comic laughed.

“Some celebrities are finally coming around,” Griffin remarked, saying they’re finally admitting to the truth behind the stories that she shares with her audiences. “I’ve said to them before, ‘All you celebrities don’t want to admit to the crazy shit you say to me.’ But now some of that has come my way and that was fun to put in the book, too.” Griffin, added with a laugh. “There are plenty of celebrities that still loathe me, though. I still have my edge.”

Griffin took a more political view when the idea of being so close to Washington D.C. came up during the interview. “We are under siege!” Griffin commented. “I don’t think Trump has started on the gays, yet.” As Griffin, who also made mention to her interaction with the now current president in her book, added. “I really think Barron Trump should go in and say to his father, ‘I know I’m really young for this, but Daddy’s let’s just go back to the golf course.’ Then, we can just send him to Mar-a-Lago and then we let Hillary and Suze Orman run the country. We’ll just tell Trump that he’s running the country from Mar-a-Lago. We’ll set it up just like The Truman Show. He’d never know!” Griffin laughing continued, “Seriously, Suze Orman or the Indigo Girls. Those gals could go into any situation and fix it.”

Griffin then chirped that her mother, the beloved 96-year-old dynamo Maggie Griffin, would be visiting her house for a few days. “It’s like having a rebellious three-year old. She changes the channels to Fox News and then I have to chase her around and yell at her, while filling her Solo cup with wine.” Griffin then asked, “Are you watching “The Crown”? She’s going to be like a young Elizabeth and this is her coronation. Then she’ll be bitching and moaning saying it’s too loud here.” Griffin added, “My mother aspires to be Big Edie from ‘Grey Gardens.’ ‘Wouldn’t that be nice to be like them, Kathleen?’ she asks. ‘No, mother, I don’t think they had such a great life. Try Jacqueline Bouvier, instead.”

As a much-heralded advocate for the LGBT community, Griffin’s support and admiration turned serious. “You know, I thought about this a lot and my relationship with the LGBT community is truly a natural relationship. I admire the LGBT community because there is such an amount of adversity out there. I say to my feminist friends, ‘When the chips are down, the gay community pulls together and takes action and does it in a way that is smart.’ That is something I identify with and in these times, we need it more than ever. I think my friend Cher wasn’t exaggerating when she said ‘I’m worried about the whole community.’ I’m worried about many groups that could become disenfranchised.”

Griffin added that she receives constant support from the LGBT community, as well. “Hollywood is trying to put me out to pasture, and I will not go. I did 80 cities last year, and it’s that same spirit that the LGBT community has as to why we get along so well. I believe that the community is living in a world where most of the gay folks that I know have to jump higher and work harder. There’s a commonality that we are up against, and united we stand, divided we fall. It may seem cliché, but truly it is that desire and the ability to laugh about anything and everything. That commonality has always brought me and the community together because that is something I can relate to. We approach the world together.”

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