Late night TV is about to get a whole lot more irreverent, as Kathy Griffin’s new weekly talk show, the aptly titled “Kathy,” makes its debut Thursday at 10 p.m. on Bravo.
Unlike Griffin’s Bravo brother in talk show hosting Andy Cohen, celebrity guests are not welcome on her set.
This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the love her or leave her comedienne, who has built a brand on unmercifully making fun of famous people — including herself.
Now, with “Kathy” — which Griffin discussed during a conference call with several writers Tuesday — the comedienne gets to tell it like she sees it once a week with a panel of her friends in front of a studio audience. Read some of her best responses to questions asked during the call below.
Why are you not welcoming celebrity guests?
“Why would I? Why would I? How could I possibly say the things to celebrities that America wants to say? And when I say America, I mean also Canada.”
Does talking about people behind their backs makes you a coward?
“No, no, it makes me a lady because I prefer to talk about people behind their backs. I find it more freeing and I can really say what I think.”
Is anything off limits?
“No thing is off limits and no person is off limits. And that’s another reason I really kind of have to just surround myself with civilians. And by the way, I know I’m kind of talking like Jack Nicholson in ‘A Few Good Men,’ but I do need — I do say civilians because I feel that — unlike celebrities — they can probably speak freely.”
What’s the inspiration behind the show?
“‘Kids Say the Darndest Things,’ ‘Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader?’ No, you know, to tell you the truth, look, I’m 51 years old, so truly my inspirations go back to like — well okay, even Jack Paar was before my time. But like, you know, it’s elements of Johnny Carson inspired me, I’m not saying I’m Johnny Carson. But everything from when Joan Rivers took over and, of course, was outrageous and unlike anybody we’d seen on TV before, to the ‘Mike Douglas Show.’ And then, you know, all the shows that are currently on, I watched them, I love them. ...
“I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell anyone at NBC Universal this, but I’m going to really have a lack of structure that’ll be dazzling to you and will be a nightmare for the editing booth.”
Will you ban someone from the show, as you claim the “Today” show has done to you?
“I mean, I guess I could try to be cool and act like I banned some dead people, like Napoleon’s totally banned, Elvis, not invited, Tupac Shakur or Biggie or a hologram of any of those people.”
What will the show will offer your gay following?
“Well I have a little too much for them. Look, my struggle’s going to be to get the straights. So this show is for women and gay men. And it’s for married men on the down low. It’s for experimental men that have girlfriends that dress very well and have something to tell her but they can’t find the right time. It’s for guys who maybe just cheated on their girlfriends and now they need to make it up to her, so they will do [expletive] anything. It’s for guys that fake it and act like they care about women’s issues, but don’t give [an expletive] and they’re trying to get laid. That’s my demographic.”
Why are you willing to call out celebrity ridiculousness?
“What I’ve learned about Hollywood is that they’re full of [expletive.] And not unlike high school, you have to call them on it. And so that’s what the show’s going to do ... in addition to the insane and hilarious political landscape and stories that may have a comedic twist.”
Will Bravolebrities, like the “Real Housewives” stars, be welcome on the show?
“[The network] actually said I don’t have to have any of the Bravo people on if I don’t want to. So if it lends itself to what we’re talking about — well actually I don’t actually know if I’m ever going to have those Bravo people on. Because the nice thing is I want to be able to really talk smack about them, which I can’t do if they’re sitting in a swivel chair two inches away from me.”
Will there be boxed wine on the show for your mother Maggie?
“There’s going to be box wine. And then my mother — who has become a rather famous international superstar — now she’s trying to pull some typical diva [stuff] where now she wants wine in a bottle. It’s going to be a little “McLaughlin Group,” but with a drunken 91-year-old.”