Why Kathy Griffin Can’t Stop Thinking About Gay Porn

The host of this year's Str8UpGayPorn Awards talks love, marriage, and keeping your "dick" out of her First Amendment rights.

Kathy Griffin is ready for the next decade.

She says she’s still facing backlash for that infamous 2017 photograph of her holding up a ketchup-stained fake severed Trump head, struggling to get work ever since. But with a new year comes a fresh start, and things are already looking up for the comedian. Griffin kicked off 2020 by surprising fans with a New Year’s wedding to her longtime boyfriend, Randy Bick, in a ceremony officiated by comedy and LGBTQ icon Lily Tomlin, no less.

Griffin is now returning to a group she says she can always count on—the queer community—for her first official gig of the new year: hosting the third annual Str8UpGayPorn Awards in Hollywood on January 12. NewNowNext sat down with the comedian ahead of her big show to discuss why she’s the perfect host, the porn she can’t stop thinking about, and the serious message she’s planning to slip into the festivities.

First of all, congratulations on your wedding. What was that night like for you?

It was really great because it was just the way we wanted it—pared-down and simple—and we would prefer to surprise people than have to try to juggle guest lists. I was so honored that the great Lily Tomlin said yes to officiating and her wife, Jane Wagner, was the witness. I mean, that’s very meaningful because they had to sort of be in the closet for so long. And by the way, the entire ceremony is under 12 minutes, and it’s on YouTube. I burst out in a flop sweat and had to walk away and dab my makeup with a paper towel, and Lily is just standing there like, “What the hell is going on?” And then Jane just starts talking to Lily during the ceremony. We have four dogs, and at one point one of the puppies started climbing up Jane’s outfit. It couldn’t have been more silly and fun and real.

Kathy Griffin
Mike Ruiz

Why did you choose Lily to be the officiant?

I know her really well, and she’s obviously an idol of mine. She’s such a wonderful, sweet, smart, fun person. She has the most infectious laugh I think I’ve ever heard. I’ve been an ally for many decades, and I see her often at LGBT events, and I have a very strong consciousness that she and Jane have been fighting the fight long before it was cool. They were living as gay women pre-Stonewall, and Lily had to go through decades of being on Laugh-In and being a public person and yet not being able to really come out of the closet. Look at what we would have missed out on if the homophobic schmucks that ran the networks in those days decided, “Oh, we’re not gonna put this lesbian on camera,” and she turns out to be one of the most iconic voices in comedy ever. She was my first and last call, and I couldn’t think of a better person. I was honored and thrilled that she did it.

Switching from that week to this weekend, you’re hosting the Str8UpGayPorn Awards.

Yes! Gay! Gay! Gay! Hosting the awards is going to be a blast. I could pretty much do it in my sleep. I hosted a different gay porn awards show one time—it was even covered on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List—and so it’s gonna be a fun walk down nostalgia lane. I’m going home again, baby!

Welcome home! What are you most excited about for the big night?

The awards show is gonna be so much fun because the titles alone are just priceless. I’m just gonna say this, and I don’t care who comes at me online, but my favorite title is Get Your Dick Out of My Son. So I cannot stop walking around my house and looking at things and going, “Get your dick out of my lamp. Get your dick out of my cereal bowl. Get your dick out of my face.” It’s just a fun game to play. I’m not voting, so I’m not tilting the awards, but I might end up privately rooting for the best titles.

Str8UpGayPorn Awards 2020 hosted by Kathy Griffin.
Str8UpGayPorn Awards

At an awards show for gay adult films, I’d imagine anything can happen. What are you hoping to see?

The thing I’m looking forward to the most, and I’m hoping it happens, is that whoever wins for Best Bottom and Most Popular Versatile gets up there, bursts into tears, thanks the Lord, thanks his mom, and then waves to her in the audience where she’s in a wheelchair. And then I’m gonna give her some fucking PFLAG award.

You also spoke at the Str8UpGay Summit, a sort of convention for the fans.

Yes, I did a fun First Amendment Q&A with Shane Singh, who’s a gay guy who used to be an executive editor at Playboy and now works at The Trevor Project. I wanted to use that day before the show to really let the boys know as much as possible about what’s happening with the LGBT rollbacks of this administration.

So you’re entertaining Sunday after educating on Saturday.

Yeah, I’ve gotta keep those baby gays in line. And then the next night is gonna be, “Get your dick out of my lampshade.”

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Equality California

You seem like the perfect host for an awards show about gay porn. Why do you think that is?

My dearly departed mentor Joan Rivers and I would talk about this all the time, about why gay audiences are so fantastic to perform for. We would always call them “the unshockable gays.” Whether you are in high school and dealing with issues that are maybe unimaginable or if you’re an older guy who was maybe married to a woman and were then able to come out, there are so many reasons that a gay audience is kind of unshockable. I think that’s why I have an allegiance. As a 59-year-old woman in a man’s field who is fearless and who, of course, doesn’t have a sensor, this might catch the eye of the right-wing media. I’m sort of their darling now, but I don’t care. I’m going to be as funny and offensive as the audience will let me be.

Yeah, who cares? You’re not doing it for them, you’re doing it for us, and we’re ready for you to take it there, always.

Oh, hell yeah! I mean, this is not the place to tell knock-knock jokes. Although Knock, Knock could be a porn title. Also, it’s an education for me cause I’m getting to know the production companies like Bel Ami. There’s one called the Cocky Boys—which, aren’t all men when you think about it? So I’m gonna put on a long sparkly dress and move the evening along. I’m assuming there’s a dildo booth? I would assume. And it won’t be the first time I played next to a dildo booth, baby, okay? I’ve been run out of worse conventions than this. I like to work that way.

Now that you’ve experienced the backlash from the Trump scandal and shared your thoughts on First Amendment rights at the summit, is there a specific message you really want to get across?

My most important message is… to hell with me, just hear my story because I don’t want it to happen to you—especially if you’re in a marginalized community. The way this administration is marginalizing the gay community even more, you have to pay attention, and I’m happy to point that out in hopefully humorous ways and maybe put out a call to action every so often. But I want to have people laughing first and foremost.

At the end of the day, get your dick out of my First Amendment rights.

Thank you! I mean, if that isn’t a nominee, it was robbed!

The Str8UpGayPorn Awards are held January 12 at Avalon Hollywood in Hollywood.

Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.
@adamsalandra