Kathy Griffin, the star of Bravo's My Life on the D-List, knows how to put on a damn show.
The brassy 51-year-old (and looking-so-good) comedienne proved that she's still at the top of her media game, selling out every seat in the Long Center's main auditorium and filling two solid hours with non-stop crowd pleasers. There's a reason Griffin has played that Austin stage more than any other touring act: people fucking love her. (Cutely, Griffin calls her fans "Kath-eters.")
The crowd was out of control before Griffin got on stage. The lines at the extra wet bars set up around the auditorium were enormous. Every gay in Austin with an American Express card was there, giggling about their dreams finally coming true. Seriously, Kathy Griffin is fast becoming Gay Oprah even more than Oprah is Gay Oprah.
Seriously, Kathy Griffin is fast becoming Gay Oprah even more than Oprah is Gay Oprah.
Right before the show started, almost as if on cue, four overly-dressed, overly-inebriated gal pals came and took the seats right next to me and proceeded to hoot and holler and talk back with Griffin throughout the entire show. It was clearly ladies' night, and there was a great deal of high-fiving with glasses of white wine going on. The besties got up for two potty breaks during the show that required all four of them to travel together, and they each hugged me as they came to sit back down the second time. We were all there for the same reason: to let this loud-mouthed plastic surgery addict talk some shit about the Kardashians. And to love it.
And that's just the thing. Griffin proves that comedy can have a wide fan base and bring communities together. While her locker room talk won't appeal to the church set nor her pop culture subject matter to the overtly academic, Griffin has become an icon for the gay community and a symbol for brassy independent women in America. She's unapologetic in her opinions and says exactly what's on her mind.
To my surprise, the straight men in the audience were in abundance as well, and loving her act just as much as their wives and girlfriends. At the top of the show, Griffin congratulates them directly for making it out to the show and promises them sexual favors from their dates when they get home. You expect this sort of coarse talk at Cap City and The Velv, but it's refreshingly disarming to hear it echoing off the fine acoustics of the Michael and Susan Dell Hall.
You expect this sort of coarse talk at Cap City and The Velv, but it's refreshingly disarming to hear it echoing off the fine acoustics of the Michael and Susan Dell Hall.
If you've seen any of her outlandishly titled comedy specials, like Strong Black Woman or She'll Cut a Bitch, you know what Griffin's schtick is: rapid-fire, perfectly worded reports back from the glitzy trenches of Hollywood. In this incarnation, Griffin shared her recent personal interactions with Ryan Seacrest, Whitney Houston, Paula Deen, Nancy Grace, Kim Kardashian and, of course, her BFF Anderson Cooper. Coming right off the CNN New Year's Eve Special, she was looking to unload the behind-the-scenes conversations that make hers and Cooper's interactions just that bit more special.
Another figure that prominently appears in Griffin's standup is her mother, Maggie. Now 91 years old, Mrs. Griffin has been a staple in Kathy's Bravo show, and has become a hyperbolically drunk conscience for the comedian, both on the show and in her routine. After especially colorful bits, Kathy will do her impression of her griping mother warning her that she's gone too far. "Don't goddamn say that, Kathleen Mary. They goddamn shoot people for saying things like that in goddamn Texas."
Above all else, Griffin knows how to give the audience what they want, and nothing goes over better in Texas than material about Texas. So of course, her collected exploits of her time stopping in Hillsboro and eating BBQ in Grand Prairie kept finding their way into her recollections of hating The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. One of Griffin's charms is her continuous side-tracking and digressions, making the show feel like one big monologic conversation. She really does feel like your obnoxious best friend that is the life of the biggest party you never threw.
There's nothing surprising about a show with Kathy Griffin. You know you're going to hear some hilarious celebrity mudslinging, a lot of talk about her "cameltoe" and then some smartly-placed PR for herself and her upcoming projects.
If you didn't catch her retweeting the news on Twitter, Bravo announced that Griffin will be hosting a weekly talk show on the station in addition to her regular realty show. Clearly, the world cannot get enough of this tirelessly hard worker.
At the end of the night, after laughing nonstop for the better part of two hours, I bid the ladies to my left a fond farewell. I realized after the show that I couldn't exactly remember any of her punchlines. It's the type of comedy where the journey is much more important than the destination. And that's just how the very business-minded Griffin would have it. Stars are always going to say the stupidest things, and she's always going to be there to dish about it.