Kathy Griffin On Small Town Gays, Vegas Pride and Holding on to Grudges

“Where my gays at?”

Kathy Griffin has been asking that question for years to a resounding reply at her typically sold out concerts across the country and she shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

As she gears up to be a part of Fabulous Las Vegas Pride next week alongside her pal Margaret Cho, Griffin called us from the road recently to talk about how she handles touring in less progressive parts of the country, why Vegas performers are getting sick and whether we’ll be seeing another book from her in the near future.

Kathy GriffinKathy Griffin at the 2013 Young Hollywood Awards.

TheBacklot: You travel to so many cities, big and small. Are you surprised at what you get in small-town venues, even in the more grassroots areas of the country?

Kathy Griffin: Okay, so right now, I am in Tennessee and last night I did a show in Huntsville, Alabama, and I say, ‘Where my gays at?’ at every show. I’ve been saying it for years, and especially when you’re in a market like Huntsville, which I’m just going to say, there are parts of this beloved country that may not be quite as forward-seeking about LGBT issues as other parts. I’m just going to leave it at that.

I will say I was protested, and the signs included the F-word, and I don’t mean ‘f**k’ so let me just say that when I gleefully shout ‘Where my gays at?’ and then I get a loud cheer, it makes me feel very good, because I’m thinking maybe it’s not the easiest thing in the world to be a member of the community in Huntsville or nearby Huntsville, Alabama. So, I will say it tonight in Nashville. I will say it tomorrow night in Grand Prairie, and I will say it the next night in Biloxi, Mississippi.

I actually find that, often, when I travel to these regions, the LGBT fans are more enthusiastic, because I’m very cognizant of the fact that many of these men and women are living lives where they’re closeted by day, and let me tell you, if they are out of the closet for the Kathy Griffin show then I say ‘let your pride flag fly, get a Kathy Griffin T-shirt that says, ‘Everybody can suck it,’ throw your finger in the air, flip ‘em the bird, and enjoy it.’

TBL: I’ve never done Pride in Vegas but is it a different experience, just because Vegas is such a different experience on every other level?

KG: Oh, honey, it’s the best. First of all, all the Celine [Dion] dancers call in sick, so I don’t even know how anybody that sees this can even do a show. I don’t know how Cirque can do a show. I don’t know how anybody from Jubilee shows up. Let’s just say they’re all going to start to get the sniffles around September 6th, and then they’ll definitely have a cold for Margaret Cho (who performs at The Mirage on September 6th), and then they’ll have a full-blown flu for me, but somehow they will rise from the sickbed and somehow be able to attend The Mirage (on September 7th), see me, and I will be the panacea for whatever has made them have to call in sick from their back-up singer or dancer job that day.

Kathy Griffin, Margaret Cho, Joan RiversGriffin at last year’s Vegas Pride with Margaret Cho and Joan Rivers

TBL: You’re going to guest on Kirstie Alley’s new TVLand show. Congratulations.

KG: Oh, this was a coup for me, because I have really been teasing her a lot in my act forever, and so, I have to say, I really love and respect a celebrity that can take a joke on the chin. They wrote the part for me and I’m very much looking forward to doing it. It’s always fun, for me, I throw in a sitcom every so often. I started on Suddenly Susan in the late 90s, then did My Life on the D-List and then my talk show for two years. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but I’m very proud of this, I have recently shattered the record for the most stand-up comedy specials ever recorded by any comedian, male or female, ever.

TBL: No way! That’s great!

KG: I know! And nobody gives a shit because I’m a girl, but the point is I’m actually going to break my own record when I do my next Bravo special in November. I’ll start to try out material at the Mirage, although my material changes every time. Every time you see me, I promise you’ll see new stuff, because these celebrities and politicians and just news items in general are just giving me so much material. I can barely get off the stage.

TBL: I’ll say, it never stops, does it?

KG: I mean, who knows what little baby North West will be wearing by September 7th?

Kathy Griffin, The TalkEarlier this year on The Talk with (l-r) Sara Gilbert, Sheryl Underwood,
Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne & Aisha Tyler

TBL: You’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with The View, and I’m wondering if that is changing at all now that Barbara’s retiring and Margaret’s trying to get a spot on there.

KG: I don’t know. I have a love/hate with Barbara, which is that I love Barbara and she hates me, so usually I would say a love/hate is sometimes you love the person, sometimes you hate them. With Barbara, it’s really just I love her and she hates me, but I really, really love Whoopi Goldberg and get along great with her. You may not remember this, but Sherri Shepherd was actually on Suddenly Susan for the fourth season, so Sherri and I used to work together every day for a year.

TBL: That’s right!

KG: I don’t know about going back on that show. It’s not a Barbara thing, it’s just like, “Ugh, so many rough times on that show,” but I’m glad Hasselbeck’s gone. That’s good. She’s at Fox where she belongs. She’s perfectly suited.

Next page…. Kathy on The Backstreet Boys.

TBL: I saw your Backstreet Boys 20th anniversary little video that you did.

KG: Well, first of all, you should know, not only am I what’s called a fangirl, and at 52 years old, it’s actually kind of embarrassing to be walking around town wearing a Backstreet Boys T-shirt, but it’s my Pride flag. I wear it proudly. I won’t be in the closet anymore. With the passage of DOMA, I feel also should come out with my love for the Backstreet Boys. I‘m actually going to their sound check that day. So, that’s what a dork I am. Even on the day that I’m headlining at the Mirage, I am not too, as my mother would say, not too high and mighty to still go to the Backstreet Boys sound check.

TBL: In the video you’re definitely having fun with the guys about how they are having babies with other women…

KG: Well, I’m pissed about that. That’s bullshit, because I was supposed to marry at least two of them, and I wanted to be in a sister-husband situation with at least two of the Backstreet Boys. Then, as the straights all do, they’ll turn on you. They are vicious. You can’t trust a straight as far as you can throw them. Then they go and get engaged, they have their babies, then I got to hear about their kids, as if I give a shit about their kids.

TBL: That’s awful.

KG: I just want to f**k a couple of them on a bus, is that so wrong?

TBL: It’s not wrong at all.

KG: Thank you. Why don’t they have Grindr for women and the Backstreet Boys?

TBL: I think that should be your next venture, Kathy, that would be something.

KG: I would like to be on the ground floor of Grindr, it’s like a “Fifty Shades” thing, for ladies of a certain age that want to f**k boybands, and let me tell you, there’s a market for it.

Kathy Griffin

Where Kathy Griffin goes, gay – and shirtless – men follow.

TBL: Are there grudges worth letting go of, or is it always better to hold onto a grudge until your dying day?

KG: Oh, if it’s funny, you hold onto it. My grudge with Oprah is still paying off in dividends so as long as Oprah despises me, it’s good for America. It’s good for the LGBT community. It’s more important than any Supreme Court decision. As long as she is going to interview Lindsay Lohan three minutes out of rehab…and by the way, the gays immediately alerted me. I have a gay alert system, just so you know, my phone blew up. I thought there was a fricking death in the family, but no, of course my gays are saying, not even asking, “What time are we coming over for the Oprah/Lindsey,” and they’re calling it a throw-down.

I said, all right, all right, I’ll get the taco truck. I have a whole system where  get the taco truck, the gays come over, and inevitably, one of them will bring a juice, because you know the gays love their juicing. Always some sort of cleanse, somebody’s on a f**king cleanse with the gays, someone thinks he’s fat, then I have to tell him he’s not fat, he’s perfect…it is what diversity is all about.

TBL: I’m waiting for your next book, because I loved “Official Book Club Selection.” Anything in the works?

KG: I don’t know about ‘in the works.’ I was actually talking to Random House about it and they were saying, ‘Well, what would you like to do?’ and I said, ‘Well, let me think of something that would be entertaining for folks.’ The first book, as corny as it sounds, it really was a memoir, and then I thought, ‘Okay, if we do a second book, we’ve got to have what people are looking for,’ so I’ve been thinking about topics. When I come up with something that I think people will actually enjoy, then I will go to them, but I will say this. I do write my own books…I will say, if I haven’t written another book, it’s because I don’t have a staff of people that are writing it for me, and I take the credit. So, I’m waiting for something I actually feel like people will want to buy.

TBL: Kathy, someone from Twitter wanted me to see if you had any thoughts on Brianna’s husband Ryan’s recent flip-out on The Real Housewives of the OC finale.

KG: Yes! Who knew the episode was supposed to be about a normal, garden-variety fight between Heather and Gretchen, and then all of a sudden Ryan flips out on the skinny chick’s pothead mom? By the way, let me just say, to me, that was shocking, but the real story is, the nerve of Lydia being offended that people think she’s too thin. Do you know how many women would kill for that moniker? I would love someone to come up to me and say, “Eat a cheeseburger.” My dream is to have anybody worry that I’m underweight, so, she needs to get a clue.

To keep up with Kathy’s tour and everything else she’s up to, visit her website. And more details on Fabulous Las Vegas (Sept 3-8) can be found here