Kathy Griffin Gets Literary

9.7.2009

By Noah Michelson

There is little Kathy Griffin can't -- or won't -- do. The comedian has won two Emmy awards, been nominated for a Grammy, starred in countless movies, and sold out theaters around the world, so it seemed only a matter of time before she'd take to her laptop and launch an all out assault on the literary world. Official Book Club Selection is Griffin's first memoir (we're guessing she's good for at least another dozen) and it follows her life from her days as a young girl in Oak Park, Ill., honing her trash-talking skills by playing neighborhood gossip, through her infamous plastic surgery exploits, to pissing off the cream of Hollywood's crop with her straight talkin' stand-up.

We caught up with the My Life on the D-List star to find out what sex with Jack Black is like, why she's done matchmaking her gays, and who she wants to cast in her celebrity sex tape.

Out: Nobody reads anymore. Why a book? And why now?
Kathy Griffin: Well, Oprah and I are on a mission together, as lesbian lovers, to get people to read more. And I can only hope that Gayle will help us -- as a happy three-way. You have to remember there's also the audio book, there's Kindle, and I think people will want to pick up this book just based on my incredibly fucked up plastic surgery photos alone. So, while there are things to read, there are also shocking photos that might just grab your eye. Did you see those pictures?

They're kind of hard to miss.
This is how sick I am: I had my botched liposuction and I couldn't wait to do stand-up. As soon as I was able to stand I hit the microphone. I used to actually pull my pants down in my act to show my horror and my bruises and all my -- I call it my 'Worse Than Rihanna.'

[Laughs] Well, you have to use everything you've got.
No kidding! I am coming out guns blazing with this thing! I just thought If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it.

When was the first time when you really had -- as Oprah would say -- your 'light bulb' moment and you realized there were gay people out there?
I think my mother, of course, very innocently was the kiss of death when [I was in high school and] she said to my then-boyfriend Tom, 'You're prettier than any of the girls.' [Laughs.] And in those days, that was maybe the first red flag -- when the guys were prettier than the girls. And frankly, when the guys wanted to be prettier than the girls. I didn't know exactly what it meant to be gay, I just knew I wanted to be near them.

When did you first realize that you had a gay following?
When I started performing in Los Angeles, I would go to open mic nights and I would sing. Believe it or not, I started as a singer and I found the best response at open mic nights were at gay clubs as opposed to comedy clubs. So I would drag my parents to these gay clubs, where my father would look around and just think it was a coincidence that there were no women there. And I thought, That's fine. You guys just think that. Surely even then the audiences were just better in the gay clubs and I started to think that no matter what I do I'm always going to seek out the audiences because they seem more fun, more open-minded, and they've just been so good to me. I'm so grateful.

The book isn't all fun and games -- there's also a lot of heavy stuff going on in there. Did you ever worry that your fans wouldn't expect that from you, and what's more, might not want that from you?
I have a feeling it's going to be the opposite. My family is as dysfunctional as any other -- [laughs] OK, maybe a little more dysfunctional -- but one thing I've learned over the years is that when I talk about my family or friends -- I have a joke in my act where I say, and I've said it in my live shows with thousands of people in the audience, 'Look around, look around, either you or your neighbor has a relative in jail.' We all think that our families are the craziest, but everyone's family is crazy. I'm proud of my crazy family and I'm happy to write about them [laughs]. And for God's sake -- I waited until I was 48 years old to write about them. If I could have written it posthumously, I would have.

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