Kathy Griffin is salt and spice and everything not so nice. And that's why her audiences love her.
The provocative comedian has laughed her way off the self- proclaimed "D-List" with an Emmy-winning show on Bravo, to the top of the stand-up food chain. Her method? Being "funny first," she says.
Celebs, politicians, reality TV stars, Oprah Winfrey — no one is off limits in Griffin's stand-up act. Filling her act with salty language and juicy insider celebrity stories, Griffin loves churning up the controversy, especially in the red states.
"The Bible Belt audiences are great. ... Even though a lot of my friends told me that the audiences might be too, you know, uptight or might be shocked at the stuff I say, I have found it's the opposite," Griffin said last month. "I've found that the naughty people will make the drive — the open-minded people that want to blow off some steam and maybe want to hear a new twist on a swear word."
Griffin comes to Lexington for the first time Sunday, when she plays the Singletary Center for the Arts.
Griffin announced that Bravo recently aired its final season of her award-winning reality show, My Life on the D-list, but she made a deal to film four comedy specials for the network this year. Stand-up is where Griffin says she's most comfortable.
"I'm not censored, and when you come to the live show, it's really game on, because you can say anything. I'm constantly trying new material and taking the audience's temperature and seeing what they're finding funny and what they're interested in."
That's what keeps her audiences coming back.
"My stuff is so ever-changing with whatever's the water-cooler talk or just what people are reading about in the paper or the magazines or a crazy new TV show, obviously the OWN lineup."
Audiences can expect a few observations about OWN, the recently unveiled Oprah Winfrey Network.
"I could do two hours on that alone — Oprah, she should have just hired me to do the introduction, actually," she said.
Up next for Griffin is her first one-woman show on Broadway in March, Kathy Griffin Wants a Tony.
Then it's more TV. She hopes to produce a partially scripted, partially improvised show akin to HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, and she would "absolutely be open" to the idea of hosting a talk show.
"I really don't care if it's a talk show or a commercial or a play or my own show or somebody else's show," she said. "If I have the opportunity to be funny, then that's the kind of job I like."
More immediately is a reported guest-starring role on Fox's hit comedy Glee. TVLine.com reports that Griffin will play a regionals competition judge who is a Tea Party candidate mom named Tammy Jean. The character is reportedly based on one of Griffin's perennial targets: Sarah Palin.
Speaking of the Tea Party movement, when she talked to The Washington Post recently, Griffin had a request for her audience in Washington, where she is appearing Friday and Saturday.
"I would like to put a shout-out to all Tea Party members to please either protest my show or attend my show. And then it's always good if that one person jumps up from the audience and screams 'You're not an American!' or something and then gets ushered out. That would be fantastic. I hope so."