Monday, June 30, 2008
My Life on the D-List: I’m Totally Into It
I was late to jump on the Kathy Griffin bandwagon.
To be honest, I think I had some residual resentment of her because, back in her Suddenly Susan days, people were constantly telling me how much I sound like her.
Once a month or so, someone would call my radio show and say, “You know who you sound EXACTLY like?”
And I would yawn and say, "Who?"
After a triumphant pause: “Kathy Griffin!”
(Funny aside: I actually mentioned this to my sis Felicia at the time. In a show of solidarity, she said she didn’t hear the similarity. Later that night we were getting ready for a party—Felicia was in the bathroom, I was in the bedroom next door— and Kathy Griffin happened to be on TV. “Damn!” Kathy Griffin said, although I’m not sure why. “What happened?” Felicia said to me. “Did you find a run in your pantyhose?” So much for not sounding like her.)
The other reason why I didn’t like Kathy Griffin? I didn’t get her, to be honest. I thought she was just your run-of-the-mill fame-whorey, shameless D-Lister. What I didn’t realize was that she was the ultimate fame-whorey, shameless D-Lister. She had elevated wannabe status to an art form.
What’s amazing is that, even though her show is a huge hit and she is actually inching closer to A-List status every day, Kathy hasn’t changed. She hasn’t had that scary Stepford Celeb transformation that seems to occur when a star makes it big. She hasn’t signed that A-List Code of Omerta. She’s still totally willing to dish on everyone (including herself).
If you’re like me, your dream best friend would be somebody funny, quick, with a built-in bullshit detector who also knew the gossip on everyone. That’s Kathy. Except her gossip comes from inside the velvet ropes. And while the very fact that she dishes copious dirt on her fellow celebs should keep her outside the inner sanctum, she’s pretty much bulldozed her way in. Some celebs may like her (a few must have senses of humor about themselves, right? . . . right?) and certainly some hate her (Star Jones, I’m talking to YOU!), but at this point Kathy Griffin can not be denied.
There are other things to like about Kathy: She works her ass off. No job is too big or too small, as the saying goes. And when she comes, she brings the funny. The scenes of her performing for troops in Iraq two seasons ago were remarkable not just because she showed genuine bravery, but because she was determined to make these soldiers laugh, no matter what it took. Her desire to please them was genuine and kind of touching.
Some of the shtick on her show falls flat: I love her completely deadpan, doesn’t-give-a-damn assistant Jessica, but the presence of the two new assistants seem contrived, an attempt to give her wacky sidekicks. And of course, the whole D-List concept is becoming less plausible. It’s like, hellllooooo, we SEE the limos and the staff and the overflow capacity concert halls—you’re not fooling anyone.
Still, Griffin cracks my shit up. I’m not even a fan of standup comedy—I find the whole “okay, bitch, make me laugh” proposition a bit awkward—but I love Kathy’s standup.
And last week, a scene involving a party, a chicken, and some flying cocktail napkins (you had to be there) had me doubled over laughing with snot bubbles coming out of my nose.
Oddly enough, in the past few years, no one has mentioned that I sound like Kathy. And now I kinda wish they would.
Personal aside to JS: Actually, I don’t give a whole lot of thought to Tiny Tim. But I love that you do.