If there were a term to refer to a Renaissance woman specifically in the realm of comedy, Kathy Griffin would be its perfect illustration. A two-time Emmy winner, Grammy winner, author, activist, co-host of CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live (with former Quiogue resident Anderson Cooper) and inductee into the Guinness Book of World Records for writing and starring in more stand-up specials than any comedian in history, Griffin will take the stage at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Saturday, August 22, as a part of her 80-city #LikeABoss tour. A dynamite fixture on the comedy scene since 2005, when her hit Bravo show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List first aired, Griffin has become recognized for her raw, spit-fire style of stand-up, with no subject safe from commentary. Here, she previews what guests can expect this weekend:
What will the show at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center be like?
An evening of negativity, vulgarity and inappropriate stand-up comedy from a two-time Emmy winner, a Grammy winner for Best Comedy Album, and a living legend named Kathy Freaking Griffin! How dare you ask me that question?
Has the Hamptons inspired any of your jokes?
I am what’s called a raconteur. I bring the up-close and personal stories with my own personal run-ins or loving encounters—however you want to put it—with everyone that the Hamptons folks are talking about around their very expensive water coolers. I have done this in—wait for it—23 stand-up comedy specials. I love doing stand-up so much that I cannot stop writing new material, and I’m not going to stop now no matter how sandy you people are.
How do you balance an 80-city tour with staying on top of current events and news to use as fodder in your acts?
I gather so many stories from the road, so much local flavor, that I love starting each show with whatever is going on right around the theater, so listen up Hamptons, I’ve got my eye on you already! I do an inordinate amount of research and development for each show. Then I throw in what I call the “anchor” stories. If you come to see me, you will be getting the up close and personal stories that only I can give you about everything from my latest attempt at friendship with Taylor Swift to my last sext to the Hamptons’ very own Anderson Cooper. By the way, he did text me back. However, he has not sexted me back yet. But I still have time before New Year’s Eve.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Well, I call Caitlyn Jenner five minutes before I go onstage every night just to monitor her voice. I don’t know if you are watching I Am Cait but I certainly am and I can tell you she is very concerned about the tenor of her voice. After that, I check in with President Obama and we talk policy. Then I call Donald Trump and say something like “Don’t worry bro, you’ve got this one in the bag.” And I take the stage!
To what do you most attribute the longevity of your career?
I have a self-diagnosed stand-up comedy disorder…the live experience will never go away. God knows everyone in Hollywood has told me over the years that television will go away and live performing will go the way of the cell phone, to which I say, “no one will ever want to watch the Super Bowl on their iPhone,” and I can say things on stage in the Hamptons that are far too inappropriate for any kind of recording device, including a gigantic television camera.
Can you talk about the influence your mother has had on your acts?
Let me see if I can pull her away from Judge Judy right now to answer this question. My mom, Maggie, turned 95 on June 10. The great thing about my mom, and this is why audiences still respond to her, is that she is someone who is inherently funny without knowing why. The nice thing is her confusion is gently buffered by a healthy serving of boxed wine. Then she tunes me out and turns on her beloved Fox News, at which point I leave the room. Hey…love is love! Caitlyn was right! See you at the show!
Kathy Griffin comes to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on August 22. Tickets start at $135. For more information, visit whbpac.org or call 631-288-1500.