April 26th, 2012
Everyone knows who Kathy Griffin is. She’s been clinging onto Hollywood for decades like barnacles on a boat. I watched the sitcom “Suddenly Susan” with Brooke Shields and Kathy Griffin and she was pretty funny. I watched “My Life on the D-List” a few times, and again she was pretty funny, but I always thought there was something abrasive about her humor, and something off-putting about what seems like a desperate desire to be cool. When I saw her book I thought it at least would be interesting. I got my money’s worth and more.
I’ve been in a memoir-reading mood lately. I just finished up Mindy Kaling’s book and read the beginning of Tina Fey’s book. Here’s the surprising part: Kathy’s book immediately came across much more heartfelt and interesting than Tina’s. I know! I dropped Tina Fey’s book (and I love Tina) and took up reading Kathy’s book immediately, and didn’t put it down until the wee hours.
The backbone of Kathy Griffin’s career in stand-up has been about being ‘real’. She is not one to mince words or hold back her opinions, as a result you get the full flavor of her experiences. From her early life in Forest Park, Illinois, with two unintentionally hilarious Irish parents and a full house of siblings; to her early years in LA being turned down for countless auditions, I found her story very genuine and heartfelt. Kathy makes a case for her snarky attitude towards fast-tracked A-listers or A-hole bosses/heavyweights/producers by just giving us an honest account of how much blood sweat and tears it can take to do what you love even if it means you are shoved under the proverbial bus time and time again.
Kathy Griffin has been accused of being mean and foul-mouthed over the years, and it’s mostly true. Her humor often goes for the jugular and occasionally goes too far. I got the feeling that under her hard exterior she is a warm, funny friend that you would actually like (!) but the desire to make people laugh increasingly translates into pushing herself to be a mean-girl. It’s one way to get attention, and attention is the one thing Kathy Griffin freely admits has been her life-long driving force.
The book was much more personal, funny and bewildering than I expected and I’d recommend it to anyone with a large glass of whiskey who wants to read a good story. Ironically Kathy herself does not drink, but her dalliance with achieving mortal glory has taken her to some dark places.
After reading this I think people will look at Kathy Griffin in a new, if not admiring light.