Former D-Lister Kathy Griffin has truly hit the big time with her new Broadway stand-up show, Kathy Griffin Wants a Tony. Hot off a very public feud with Sarah Palin and perfect for a world high off the fumes of Charlie Sheen’s recent media tour, the comedienne has already extended her run at the Belasco Theatre, where she opens March 11. Broadway.com caught up with Griffin during a quick phone chat to welcome her to Broadway.
I’m taking my clothes off!
I decided I’m going to do my show naked like Oh! Calcutta!
Oh, that also played the Belasco Theatre, didn’t it?
Uh, yeah! I just thought, “Look honey, this is a tough time, you gotta have a hook.” I’m doing the show naked or at least bottomless.
Well, that’s really what they want to see.
Thank you! The real moneymaker.
Welcome to Broadway!
Oh my God, I’m on Broadway! I’m so beside myself.
We shouldn’t be surprised you’re here. You love “your gays” and you love Kristin Chenoweth, so here we are.
I love me some Cheno.
Tell us about the show.
It’s just me and a mic. This is down and dirty.
We do a lot of polls on Broadway.com. Last summer we asked readers which reality TV star they wanted on Broadway and you won by a landslide.
I saw that!
Are you kidding? I Google news myself. Just every three minutes or so. Not excessively.
And a month ago, we asked readers which of the comedians coming to Broadway they were most excited about and you won that, too. Who needs a Tony?
Well, here’s the deal. I have an imaginary Tony ceremony in my mind and here’s how it goes. Number one, I host and number two, I win Special Theatrical Event, which I know doesn’t exist anymore, and also I get Lifetime Achievement. And I’m also going for Most Negative.
And who presents you these Tonys? Yourself?
No, I think my mother should do it. My mother’s a goddamn star! Show some f**king respect! Now, will she be sober? No.
You know, the Belasco is a fancy old-school Broadway theater. Does your mom know she can’t bring her wine to her seat?
Look, I’m not going to tell her, and don’t act like you’re going to tell her. I’m going to literally fashion a seat for her. I’m going to put a cushion on top of the Franzia [boxed wine] and I’m going to say, “Just make the damn exception this one time! She’s 90!”
Are you adding any Broadway-themed jokes to your set? The inevitable Spider-Man dig?
It’s inevitable! Of course! Now, my mother, just so you know, doesn’t want me to mention Spider-Man at all.
Can I give you the list of things my mom doesn’t want me to talk about?
She doesn’t want me to talk about Spider-Man, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, any of the Palins, any political figure, anybody on Fox News, anybody Irish, anybody Catholic. Here’s my favorite thing she said: “Can’t you do your show without making fun of people? I think you should maybe sing a song from a Broadway show. You’ve always loved Porgy and Bess.” Unfortunately, to my mother’s chagrin, I will be making fun of everyone and no one will be safe.
Did Mom and Dad expose you to Broadway when you were a kid?
I lived in Chicago and it was always just a big, big deal whenever I got to go to a play. I think the first play I went to in person was Hair and it’s a cliché story but it got me. I got the bug. It was a big deal when Mom and Dad would get dressed up and go downtown and see whatever touring production of whatever big show. They would come home with the Playbill and I’d read it cover to cover. Have you had a chance at all to see my Playbill bio?
I have not.
I’m very proud of it. I had to do a spoof of the bio, because those bios just crack me up. I like when they thank their cat or their yogi, all that kind of shit. So I’m just warning you, when you see my bio it’s not 100% truthful.
Your friend Kristin Chenoweth is kind of the queen of Broadway. Has she officially endorsed this show?
She has officially endorsed it. Can’t there be like a special honoree Tony? What if I just get the Chenoweth? Like, what if there’s just a new category called The Chenoweth? And it’s just me and Sean Hayes duking it out every year? “It’s my year, Sean, shut up! I’m gayer than you are, and you know it! I’m a better gay guy than you!” You know, we’re just fighting in the lobby of the Tonys.
Chenoweth did help you sing on an episode of My Life on the D-List.
Yes. But I can’t help her do dick jokes; she’s not going to do it. There’s only one thing I can help people do and it’s be more offensive, and she just can’t. She’s too adorable. She’s too busy being adorable. I’m her embarrassing, naughty friend. But she does do Ambien tweeting. It’s awesome!
Do you think you would ever consider doing a more legitimate show on Broadway?
Of course! Of course!
A musical maybe?
Porgy and Bess?
Well, I’m currently the understudy for Porgy in the Tulsa production. I don’t know if you knew that, but I have a lot of cred in the Tulsa theater scene. But yeah, honey, I don’t know what’s coming down the pike. I just did Glee, I’m doing four Bravo specials this year and I’m just waiting to see who’s going to trial next, who’s getting out of their car drunk and who’s Ambien tweeting. That’s the beauty of the world that we live in!