In 2007, when Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List won its first Emmy for "Outstanding Reality Show," the creator/star accepted the award and said, "A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this. He had nothing to do with this. . . . Suck it, Jesus!" Catholic League president Bill Donohue took umbrage, calling Griffin's statement a "vulgar in-your-face brand of hate speech" and crowed that her "celebrity stock has plummeted as a result of her scripted speech. . . . Griffin lost and we won."
Well, you decide. Griffin, who performs at the Wang Theatre Friday and Saturday, won a second Emmy in 2008. This year she got a Grammy nomination for her CD For Your Consideration. On Monday, her Bravo TV show began its fifth season; the 48-year-old redhead will have Cher, Bette Midler, and Salman Rushdie among her playpals. She also seems to have survived her latest shocker. During CNN's New Year's Eve broadcast with Anderson Cooper, some guys in the crowd were making too much noise. When she thought she was off-mic, Griffin said, "I don't go to your job and knock the dicks out of your mouth."
So, what about those New Year's Eve hecklers?
They were just being fun. I wasn't really angry. They were just drunks below us, and they kept saying, "Come out for drinks with us," so I used a very hackneyed retort to hecklers. It's timeless. I had some big manager say to me, "Man, that New Year's Eve thing was so subversive." I don't think so, but that's what it ended up being.
You do a lot of celeb dissing. Do you feel they secretly enjoy it or is there real enmity toward you?
I think a lot of the really big A-listers aren't really aware of what I'm doing, don't have time to bother with me. And then you have Ryan Seacrest, who has to be doing some kind of slow burn. I do believe Ryan Seacrest is going to kill me one day. I think he and Oprah will finally be together, and it will be like one of those great '70s cover-up movies and I'm playing the body.
You're mixing with folks above the D-list now. Like Cher. Haven't you thus been elevated?
No, not even one notch. I do get flattered when people suggest I might be on the C-list, but they're dreaming, living in a fool's paradise. I am constantly smacked to the D-list. I was at the Emmys last year, where I won, and Julianne Hough, who is a dancer on Dancing with the Stars, came up to me and said, "I don't know who you are, but nice to meet you." When one of the dancers from Dancing with the Stars puts you back in your place, it hurts.
Why did you insult Jesus?
I do it every year, every chance I get. I really enjoy making fun of the idiots in organized religion and people's political leanings — it's wherever people seem to have the least sense of humor, that's where I'm coming in. I like to make fun of people's children because they really don't have a sense of humor about that.