Kathy Griffin mocks celebrities with fervor

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Kathy Griffin knew she did her job on E!'s "Fashion Police" when she ruffled feathers over her comments about Amal Clooney.

"It's heaven!" says Griffin, who called Clooney "annoying" and mocked her gloves as the kind of thing a "naughty dishwasher" would wear in a porno. Her comments — made during her post-Golden Globes debut as "Fashion Police" host, which she took over from the late Joan Rivers — bounced around the web the following day and Griffin, as you would expect, basked in the attention. "Isn't it great?" she says, on the phone last week as her remarks were making headlines. "I am thrilled."

Of course she is. Griffin lives for celebrity gossip, and the dishy comedian has long made a career out of sharing up-to-the-minute stories about celebs and her interactions with them. She performs at the Sound Board at MotorCity Casino on Thursday, and her loose routine is like a conversation that unfolds in real time.

"I don't know what I'm going to say," says Griffin, 54, who grew up in the Chicago area and moved to Los Angeles when she was 18. "I've never been someone that does a three-month tour, then they go write a monologue for a year, then they make it perfect, then they go hit the road on a bus. No! I guarantee you when I do my show at MotorCity, I'm going to open with something that happened that day. But I don't know what it is yet."

Griffin doesn't tour; rather, she's always touring. "That's what I do, I tour first and foremost," says Griffin, who has dates set through June. " 'Fashion Police' is great, and everything else I do in television I love, but there is nothing like live touring."

Griffin began performing with famed L.A. improv troupe the Groundlings in the early 1980s. She had a string of small roles in the '90s in movies such as "Pulp Fiction," "The Cable Guy" and "Seinfeld" before landing the role of Vicki Groener on NBC's "Suddenly Susan," which aired for four seasons on NBC from 1996-2000.

The same year she joined the cast of "Suddenly Susan," her first HBO comedy special aired. She followed up with another HBO special in 1998, and later did 18 stand-up specials for Bravo, including "Everybody Can Suck It" in 2007, "Balls of Steel" in 2009 and "Pants Off" in 2011. She won a pair of Emmys for her work on her Bravo reality show "My Life on the D-List" and a Grammy for her 2013 album "Calm Down Gurrl."

She's a frequent guest on Howard Stern's radio show and looks up to Stern as a mentor. "He is a type of person that in my career has said things to me that for me are pivotal," Griffin says. "One of them was he once told me I was doing the Lord's work. I said, 'Why? I'm just telling jokes.' He goes, 'Because you're telling jokes about people you actually see. You're going out and about to these parties and these awards shows and facing them.' I keep that spirit in mind with my work. Obviously, I'm not doing the Lord's work. But I have things in my head that people have said to me that are important and they're kind of always there."

And then there's her relationship with her New Year's Eve co-host and frequent punching bag Anderson Cooper, with whom she has hosted CNN's broadcast every year since 2007. Their rapport is unique: Griffin says wild things and pulls stunts to try to throw him off his game, Cooper giggles nervously and tries to keep the broadcast from derailing. Griffin has dropped the F-bomb on air (2009) and stripped down to her bra (2011), and on last month's program, she dyed Cooper's hair without his consent. What does she have in store for next year?

"All I can do is lull him into thinking that I am his gentle and kind and nurturing friend," she says, "and totally try to get him fired on New Year's Eve."

That's the kind of thing that would get people talking, and nothing would make Kathy Griffin happier.



Kathy Griffin

8 p.m. Thursday

Sound Board at

MotorCity Casino

2901 Grand River,


Tickets $40-$60

(866) 782-9622