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The D-List's Dart-Wielding Doyenne

By Ellen McCarthy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 2, 2006

Let's just make it official: Kathy Griffin is the best friend a celebrity-gawking, "Talk Soup"-loving, Streisand-worshiping, US Weekly reader ever had.

And don't even try to say that isn't you.

Ozzy Osbourne: "Not old, but rickety -- you know, like you could tip him like a cow."

Celine's husband Rene Angelil: "In his early hundreds. One of the oldest living Canadians."

Ryan Seacrest: "He gets manis, pedis, gets his eyebrows tinted. . . . You know, stuff all straight guys do."

Is there a single reference you couldn't catch? Yeah, didn't think so.

Say what you will about our collective obsession with Hollywood and wealth and all things reality, but it's by no means on the wane. And comedian Kathy Griffin's plan is to simply wallow in it, punctuating the insanity with a few obscenity-filled stories about her own adventures on the fringes of fame and mocking the inane behavior of spoiled celebrities throughout the land.

On stage, Griffin, whose show is at the Warner Theatre on Sunday, comes across as a master of acerbic cocktail hour storytelling. The shtick must be dazzlingly well rehearsed, we assume, for no one could be that quick in real life.

And then we spend 25 minutes on the phone with her and tears are creeping from the corners of our eyes and co-workers four and five cubicles over seem annoyed that we can't stop laughing.

We begin, of course, with television.

"Okay, to me it's all happening on 'Oprah' right now," she says in her signature million-words-a-minute, get-ready-to-be-appalled rhythm. "It's all happening on 'Oprah.' First, did you watch the 'Legends Ball'?"

Eeek, we missed it. Was it awesome?

Silence.

"Um . . . I'm really hurt by that. I'm personally hurt. I don't know what you were doing last night that was so [expletive] important, but let me tell you something: Oprah -- and Gayle -- are both upset with you. And when you lose Gayle, you lose the whole group, honey."

So, so true.

Griffin went on to predict, the day before it happened, that Taylor Hicks would be crowned our next American Idol -- "We've never had a 47-year-old Idol, but everyone deserves a chance," she says. "I really want to see paperwork and documentation that he's 29. My dad looks younger."

And TomKat's taste in baby names? "It's ree-diculous. . . . That little girl is going to have to spend her whole life telling people, 'It's Hebrew for princess.' They should've just named her Hebrew-for-Princess Cruise."

Okay, okay, she's kind of mean sometimes. Too mean for David Letterman's taste, or Ellen DeGeneres', or Conan O'Brien's, who all refuse to have her on their shows. And while working the red carpet for E! she did try to start an obviously false rumor that child actress Dakota Fanning was in rehab. Whoops. Somehow, she lost that gig.

No matter. Griffin found a happier home on another cable channel, and on Tuesday her reality show, "My Life on the D-List," returns to Bravo for a second season.

But here in our little bubble of government, Griffin plans to grab a burger at Old Ebbitt Grill, gape at our own Famous-for-Washington D-Listers and fume about the state of the nation. "I'm super, super loudmouth lefty. I'm so far left I'm not even a Democrat anymore," she says. "I'm a Sandinista."

We ramble on -- about John McCain and MTV's Tiara Girls and how Griffin is a strong black woman and also a gay man and maybe sometimes a lesbian, though she's "not really handy and what's the point of being a lesbian if you can't caulk a tub?" -- and finally back to celebrities, whom we loathe.

And also love.

"It's our royalty. And we do have this thing where we admire our royalty, but also want to know if they're human beings," she says. "And I've found that many of them are not."

"That," she adds, "is where I come in."

Kathy Griffin Warner Theatre 202-397-7328 Sunday

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