Thought You'd Never Ask: Kathy Griffin
(The following interview was published in the 56th GRAMMYs Celebration issue of GRAMMY magazine.)
The sixth time was the charm for comedian Kathy Griffin. After having been nominated for Best Comedy Album the previous five years, Griffin's Calm Down Gurrl picked up the honor at the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Jan. 26, placing her in rarefied company with Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin as the only women to have won in this category for solo work. (Jo Stafford won as part of the team Jonathan & Darlene Edwards with husband Paul Weston in 1960, and Elaine May won with Mike Nichols in 1961.) The latest award joins a pair of Emmys Griffin won for her Bravo reality show "Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List."
While scandalized politicians and badly behaved celebrities may fearfully quiver every time Griffin picks up a microphone, comedy lovers can't seem to get enough. Griffin recently entered the Guinness World Records book for the most stand-up specials by a comedian (she's up to 20). And Griffin isn't bitter about her five previous nonwins, but she shows no sorrow for the losers, either.
Is it satisfying to finally win a GRAMMY, or would you prefer to stay bitter about the previous nonwins?
Screw bitter. It's way more satisfying to win. Let those other losers be bitter now. I actually love saying I was nominated six years in a row. And I have to admit that no matter how cool I wanted to play it, when I heard my name called I could not stay composed. I didn't know it was possible to leap in high heels, but now I'm considering some kind of Louboutin/Giuseppe Zanotti track-and-field competition. I think that's where my next award may come from.
You've got a pair of Emmys and a GRAMMY. Any plans to aim for an Oscar and a Tony for the entertainment grand slam?
I'm an "EG" — halfway to "EGOT." And no, I'm not going to stop now. I think the Oscar will come from my lead role in a dramatic biopic and, naturally, I'll be playing Whoopi Goldberg. I look forward to a time when this country is forward-thinking enough to accept me as Whoopi Goldberg, with just a little bit of [computer-generated imagery] to get the hair right. My Tony will be for a crowd-pleasing Broadway revue called "Whoopie Pie." It'll be a little bit about the accomplishments of Whoopi Goldberg but mostly about the dessert.
What celebrities would you least like to be trapped in an elevator with?
Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah. I don't see any of us finding a lot of humor in that situation. There'd be nothing but judgment and high fashion. That'd be coming from me. I don't know what the other two girls would do.
Who would be at the ultimate Kathy Griffin dinner party?
None of the usual suspects. I'd go with fellow GRAMMY winners, but not Madonna or Lady Gaga. I'd invite folks from the world music and [American] roots categories. I've been to enough [GRAMMY Pre-Telecast Ceremonies] to know that those people are ready to party. You get some accordions and banjos going with some coconut-shell bikini tops [and] that's going to be a night to remember. And I'd throw in Clive Davis because he always lets me come to his party.
You've worked your way up from playing comedy clubs to walking red carpets and the GRAMMY winner's circle. Would you say you're a role model for America's youth?
I am clearly a role model — perhaps this era's Mother Teresa. I know that young, impressionable women look up to me, and my message to them would be: "Do as I do, and as I say." I have always made perfectly wise, prudent and sound choices in my life, and if [you] pattern your life completely after mine, you can do the same.
Is there a special spot at home picked out for your GRAMMY?
Not on any shelf. [It] turns out it's true what they say — the GRAMMY does keep you warm at night. I've slept with several men since I won, and they were nowhere near as comforting as sleeping with the GRAMMY. Yes, you're hearing it here first: I have spooned my GRAMMY.