Interview: Kathy Griffin and Her Life on the G “A” Y List

She is one of the funniest women on the planet (admittedly this CG staffer’s # 1 pick for that title), a two-time Emmy winner, a dog lover, an author, and a really outspoken and valuable advocate for the lesbian and gay community. She’s Kathy Griffin! We adore Kathy over here at CherryGRRL and that feeling is shared at The Trevor Project as well, where tonight she is being presented with the Trevor Life Award for her work on behalf of our community. We wanted to talk to Kathy about her efforts to help LGBTQ teens, her thoughts on issues like gay marriage and DADT, and – how could we resist? – topics like The Real Housewives and the status of her hilarious reality show. So, we recently gave her a call and – as expected – she got right to it…

Kathy Griffin (KG): Hi it’s Kathy Griffin! Are you in LA?

CherryGRRL (CG): Yes.

KG: Are you coming to see me on December 16th at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk, benefiting The Trevor Project?

CG: Of course!

KG: Great! I want people to know though that this is not a show about sad gay teens. The show itself will be as offensive as always. However, it will benefit The Trevor Project. But, I just want to be clear – because I don’t want people thinking that they are going to a comedy show and then really they’re coming to a speech about how the gay teens are all having a rough time. We all know the gay teens could be having a rough time, but that night is a night of escapism, and judging the Kardashians.

CG: Wonderful… sounds perfect. Regarding your relationship with The Trevor Project though, how did it make you feel when you learned that you were being named the recipient of the Trevor Life Award?

 

KG: Well I felt like I clearly had pressured them into it. Because I just went on Larry King and told them I was going to do my show to benefit them and give my entire salary to them and then magically they said “We’d like to honor you on the 5th.” So I think I just sort of pressured them into doing it, which is fine with me. That’s how my career has basically been – just pressuring people and blindsiding them. But I would be excited to even just attend this Trevor Project event, much less be awarded for Most Fabulous Female of a Lifetime, or whatever they’re naming my award.

And I want to be clear, if you come on the 17th that benefits The Trevor Project as well because, first of all, the Trevor volunteers are going to be there both nights. Secondly, even though I’m saying the 16th is the show that’s the benefit, when you do 2 nights at the Gibson it’s called settling the show and you combine the shows. So it kind of doesn’t matter if you come the 16th or the 17th – you’re helping The Trevor Project either way. I just had to pick one night because celebrities can’t focus on 2 things at once.

 

CG: Very cool. Clearly you are doing a lot for the gay community and for gay teens. What is the message that you want to get out there to LGBT teens and victims of bullying?

 

KG: The message that I want to get out there is that help is easier than you think it is. The reason I chose Trevor is because of their nationwide hotline. Because I think as I tour this country and many, many obscure markets, I consistently run into gay people of all ages that really, really think that they are the only gay person in their town. And I have done a lot of work with the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, but obviously most towns in America don’t have a gay and lesbian center or outreach program of any kind. So what was great was to go on Larry King and get the word out there that the Trevor Hotline is 24/7 and nationwide. That is what made the biggest difference to me because when I play the Bible Belt, or any obscure market, it breaks my heart to think that there is any gay person, much less several gay people, who think: “there is no one I can talk to and if I do I’ll get fired, I’ll get excommunicated, I’ll get kicked out of the family.” You know, that may be the case in their day-to-day lives, but guess what? They can pick up the phone and nobody is going to hang up on them. So that’s why I chose The Trevor Project and I hope more organizations pop up like it that have a nationwide outreach. Because I know that getting an up and running gay and lesbian center in any city takes so much work that it’s just amazing to think that I can just pick up the phone and talk to a human being. I know there are message boards and ways to reach out online, but you know… there is nothing like picking up the phone and saying, this is how I’m feeling, and having a human being literally talk you off the ledge.(continued on next page)

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