Kathy Griffin brings her forked tongue to Florida to skewer pop culture and politics alike

By : Aaron Alper
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Kathy Griffin

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Comedian Kathy Griffin’s 80 city Like a Boss tour is coming to Florida with a staggering six shows beginning on March 30 at Daytona Beach, which will be followed by shows in Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Clearwater, Jacksonville and Melbourne. To see Griffin live is an experience that is akin to seeing a great live musician; it is unique, in the moment and will never happen again. Unlike other comics who never deviate from a set, Griffin changes her sniping shtick nightly to cater to whatever audience she’s in front of. The deviations are always improv gold (Griffin was a Groundlings member in her early days) and often take center stage over the thing that made her famous: spur-of-the-moment shit-talk about the ridiculous people in Hollywood.

With such a full schedule, it’s amazing Kathy has time for sleep, let alone press, but we were lucky to nab her for a few to talk about her upcoming shows and what kind of scathing hilarity she will be bringing to the Sunshine State.

Watermark: Hello Kathy! This interview is such a big deal for me!
KG: Oh, you’re such a doll. I am looking at the [Watermark’s] website and I also love Justin Trudeau, and I am glad that he stands with the LGBT community. I hope everyone in Clearwater agrees, because I am playing six cities in Florida, and I am going to make fun of your people right to your faces. Florida is a crazy state, and I don’t know if you know how crazy you people are.

I once heard an acid-tripping swami refer to Florida as “The Twilight Zone,” and it was really apt.
(Laughter). Yes. I think one of the reasons I love touring, and doing 80 cities in a year, it’s pretty insane, but one of my favorite things I get to tell my friends is that you have to realize when you go to a state like Florida, every city is so different. When I am on stage at Ruth Eckerd, you guys might just vote to secede.

It’s because we’re all Scientologists and the elderly.
That’s right. Anything can happen. Kirstie Alley could be beamed in…or you could just stay laugh at my jokes for a couple of hours; and the most important message I can tell you it’s that it is going to be all new material. There is so much going on with future first lady Melania Trump.

Oh, I knew we we’re going to talk about that.
Yes! We have to! I don’t like it when people tweet me and say, “Stay in your lane, just talk about the Kardashians.” No. Trust me, we are going to talk about everyone from Kylie to Caitlyn, who frankly is really just Kylie at the end of the day. We’re having fun with everybody. This is a great time to be a stand-up comic, and as a female, not to mention a female over 50 with two Emmys and a Grammy, I am fearless. I have nothing to lose. I only want to gain laughs, and the people in Florida have always been so good to me. I make fun of every religion, I make fun of celebrities. … In fact, just recently I have these delicious run-ins with everyone from Leo DiCaprio to Sean Penn, after he caught El Chapo, and that stuff is what my show is: personal stories that you’re not going to hear from anybody else.

And this tour, Like a Boss, this is the first tour you’ve given a name to, but you really are a touring artist like Tori Amos or the Grateful Dead, because you change your setlist nightly.
Yes, and thank God my peeps come to see me over and over, because they know that. In fact recently I had a run-in with Barbara Streisand, and I am going to give every juicy detail, because I actually saw her with Robert Redford! Now I would never characterize gay people into one group, god forbid; we are LGBTQIH345Caitlyn, but you gotta give me a little bit of a gay gasp that I saw them together. Come on! A The Way We Were reunion?

(Gasps).That’s a transgenerational gay gasp.
I also saw Bette Midler a week ago and she was giving me so much shit about my young boyfriend. He is 18 years younger than I am, and I know that’s very shocking to say to a gay man…

I mean, I would never sleep with a younger man. Never.
Never! Never! It’s inappropriate! How dare you?!) Anyway, Bette calls him ‘the baby’ and she is like “When are you gonna dump the baby for a rich old guy? David Foster is single now, and he’s loaded.” I said, “Bette, I’ve been with this guy for five years and I am a fool for love.” She’s like, “You gotta get out of that! Wise up, kid! It’s time for you to be with an old rich guy who’s gonna kick the bucket in a week.” Those kind of conversations are very different than going to see someone talk about airline peanuts and the differences between cats and dogs. I have to talk about it. The Kardashians are multiplying and there are Republican debates. It’s too delicious not to. I know these people. I have a story that I am going to tell at Ruth Eckerd. I’ve known that crazy-ass Donald Trump for 15 years.

You guys have had your run-ins. I mean, you know each other pretty well.
Yes! We have. Look, anybody can talk about Trump’s hair, and I am happy to talk about it, but it’s really about the stories. I was emailing out and proud lesbian SuzeOrman, and we were going over a time where the two of us were with Trump at this super-crazy event honoring the great Larry King, and we were just reminding each other how crazy that was. Nobody wanted to sit next to the Donald, because at that time, we didn’t know how crazy he is. But she got a picture of me sitting next to the Donald and she’s holding it ransom.

And Donald Trump running for president! Are there moments where you, as a comedian, are saying “thank you,” but as a person you’re sweating with this kind of reality?
Now more than ever! That’s why it’s great to be on tour. Chris Rock was kicking himself that he didn’t use the Oscars as a time to launch a tour, because this is really a time that’s unlike anything I’ve seen in my life. I know that sounds over the top, and I would never want to be dramatic to a gay man.

Kathy Griffin being dramatic to a gay?!
Never! Appalling! Someone send a letter to GLAAD! Anyway, yes, it’s the political landscape crossing over with the pop culture landscape because, honestly, if you put Kanye West’s Twitter feed next to Donald Trump, you can’t tell the difference. I mean, look honey, Ruth Eckerd hall has been very good to me, but I am expecting walkouts. This tour has been where I let the fur fly, which I’ve always done, but people are getting more divided, and they’re getting more sensitive. Thank god the LGBT community is actually having a good year; feminism not so much. There is something that is happening to me as a comic, and it’s just making me worse. My 95 year old, boxed wine drinking mother said “I went to see your show and now you’re just going too far.”

I saw you in Sarasota last year and you were wild.
I can barely keep up with all the crazy shit that has been going on. The things that some of the politicians are openly saying is really alarming. I’m 55, so I am coming at you from a place of someone who is a) banging a guy who is 18 years younger and b) someone who has been around to witness some of these crazy things. I follow it graciously though and I am fascinated, and Florida, well, you have to congratulate yourself. You’re at the epicenter of every election. But I have a secret for you…I have actually played more shows in Florida than any state in the union. You said you were at Sarasota?

Yes, at the Van Wezel.
Ok, so fucking Michael Kors showed up to that one and he told me “Sarasota needs you’re filthiness.” I said “Ok. You keep making dresses and I will keep being filthy.” In fact, I don’t think I have done my job until I have gotten a few good walkouts.

For tour dates and to purchase tickets, visit kathygriffin.net.

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