At the start of 2020, comedian Kathy Griffin married longtime boyfriend Randy Bick in a private ceremony at her home officiated by none other than Lily Tomlin. For Kathy, this is the start of a new chapter in her life since the image of her holding a bloody Donald Trump head became the picture seen ‘round the world. For better or for worse, Kathy has found herself way beyond her place on the D List and even though she’s been keeping a lower profile lately, she’s still the firey and unapologetic comic who no one is safe around. Kathy’s career runs the gamut–from holding the world record for the comedian with the most televised comedy specials, to winning two Emmy awards for ‘My Life on the D List’ and one Grammy for her recorded comedy album, and because the gays love her so much, she’s even graced gay porn awards with her hosting chops–she’s totally vers!
On Sunday, January 12th, Kathy Griffin will return to stage to host the third annual Str8UpGayPorn awards at the Avalon Hollywood. I guess you could say she’s back on the “D” list! The Str8UpGayPorn Awards is a one-of-a-kind event honoring outstanding achievement in gay adult film–bridging the worlds of gay mainstream and gay adult entertainment, the Str8UpGayPorn Awards brings performers, fans, and surprise celebrity guests together for one unforgettable night. The Str8UpGayPorn Awards pays tribute to the stars of gay adult film, many of whom are sexual role models for gay men around the world who struggle with being accepted because of their sexuality–and this year Kathy Griffin will take no prisoners during the awards–this ain’t her first rodeo.
I had a side-splitting conversation with Kathy Griffin and dished about her recent nuptials, life after the Trump scandal, and her upcoming gig as host of the Str8UpGayPorn awards. You can imagine how academic and philosophical this interview got.
DAVID LOPEZ: So before we get into the good stuff, how’s married life?
Well, you know–I’m a virgin, so…I was very nervous about our wedding night. It turns out my vagina had a lock on it that my mother put on when I was 20 that I didn’t know about, but somehow Randy with his gigantic cock broke through and we’ve just been going at it like rabbits.
DL: What made you want to get married in such a way?
We’ve been together for eight years and we really do feel like we know each other back and forth. We had just been talking about it off and on the whole time. I think since the whole Trump scandal, if nothing else he has really proven that he is ride or die and that is something that means a lot to me. Since the Trump scandal there have been nights when we’ve been hunkered down a lot so since then we have spent more time together and we’re also parents–of four dogs. Randy proposed in a way that was really cute. I was upstairs watching MSNBC or something, of course, and then I hear the Peter Gabriel song “In Your Eyes” and then I walk downstairs and he’s holding this old fashioned boombox and I thought that was really sweet. I for one don’t feel that a big expensive wedding is the best way to use money in this day and age. So the more we talked about it we thought about how we could really just make this about us and no drunk cousin who’s mad and no girl snatching someone’s else’s wig off in the bathroom because they drank too much, there’s nobody complaining that they weren’t in the wedding party–all the crazy Bridezilla/Groomzilla adjacent stuff! The more we thought about it–we live in this awesome, beautiful, baller house where frankly I would let any of my friends get married here. So that and having the puppies involved made it fun and obviously New Year’s Eve has significance for me and New Year’s Day is actually when we got married because Randy thought New Year’s Day is actually a start to a whole new decade. Then we thought about other ways we could make it unique and fun–there’s a part of me that wanted to film it (it’s under 12 minutes) it’s completely unedited, except for our vows which we wanted to keep private, but I also wanted to put something out there that I felt I could show my followers and fans that it’s okay.
I’ve made up with the Kardashians–they don’t hate me anymore, but I’m still allowed to call them ‘dirty whores’. But not everything has to be million dollar wedding or over-the-top.And then of course, I threw out the ask, to the one and only legendary Lily Tomlin and she said she’d be happy to and that was just a whole other level. She and her wife, Jane Wagner, they’ve been in the battle long before I have. It was so significant for both of us to have Lily be the officiant and her wife Jane be there–here are these two women who had to be in the closet for a really long time, dealt with all kinds of discrimination. Lily took her job as officiant so seriously. She shows up, dressed really nice, she had this leather portfolio with all her officiant documents—it was really touching that she showed up, filled out all the paperwork and followed up with my office like three separate times making sure everything was sent in properly to the Registrar’s office, that everything was notarized. Everything about it was meaningful. It was such a great way to ring in the new year. It’s a positive thing after the most difficult two-and-half years of my life. We’re not gonna wear rings, because we’re just not ring people, but they’re in our pockets all the time or by our nightstands—everything about this has been atypical and everything about our relationship has always been atypical.
DL: How does it feel to be hosting the Str8UpGayPorn Awards?
Well, first of all, I can’t show bias because I want you to know I’m going to be a fair host. I’m going to be incredibly inappropriate—I cannot wait because these boys are unshockable. And I’m just telling you but, already, my favorite title for one of the nominees is a feature film called—are you ready?—Get Your Dick Outta My Son—and it isn’t SUN, if you know what I’m saying.
DL: How come that’s not at the Golden Globes?
Thank you! It was robbed!
So I am very excited about doing a runner. I’ve been having so much fun just walking around the room just saying “Get your dick outta my lamp” “Get your dick outta my dresser” “Get your dick outta my window” I just think it’s going to be the new saying that everyone’s going to want in on. That’s only ONE of the titles. The day before I’m doing a fun, but somewhat serious speech and Q&A about the first amendment and LGBT rights. The President just rolled back some LGBT rights and because of the crazy news cycle it got 30 seconds of airtime. It’s definitely an honor for me to speak out to the community as a long-time ally. And one of the things I enjoy doing is trying to get the gays to focus on the down ballot and that it isn’t all about the presidential. Gay porn is obviously at the front lines of free speech. You can chuckle about it all you want—and frankly, I’m not even a porn person, but I’m sure a motherfuckin’ first amendment person! And there is a connection between porn, gay or straight or otherwise, and me telling a certain joke or someone writing a poem that someone may find controversial. I think the far right has really coopted the term “free speech”, because they don’t really know what it is. They basically made the direct connection between hate speech and free speech. Hate speech, to a degree, is of course covered under the first amendment—and I know that better than anybody. When I was in my Trump scandal, my attorney was (and is) Alan Isaacman who famously won the Supreme Court case, Falwell v. Hustler Magazine.
Ed norton played him in the People vs. Larry Flint. I’m not a Larry Flint fan, I don’t read Hustler, but I sure as fuck defend his right to have published that joke that pissed off Jerry Falwell. The bad fight still continues, I think it will also come from the religious right, evangelical side. I dont like what’s happens between evangelicals and true christians, I’m not a religious person but even I can see the difference. There are so many groups this administration has gone for and the LGBT community is one of them, although Trump is such as pussy that when he does go for the gay community, I noticed as a pattern he does it on a day like today, he knows it’s going to get 30 seconds of news because we’re all caught up in his Iran ridiculousness and the impending impeachment and more stuff is coming out against him. So honestly I couldn’t be happier to spend a Saturday doing a free speech Q&A that will be fun and funny and hopefully I’ll drop some knowledge. And then Sunday night it’s get your dick out fun.
DL: Have you ever hosted an award show like this before?
Yes, have you ever done a Google search at all? I hosted the Billboard Award show three years in a row, I’ve hosted giant award shows. I’ve also hosted a different gay porn award that was covered on “My life on the D list” and ironically, Sister Roma is going to do the red carpet. When I hosted that gay porn award Sister Roma gave me a congradulatory sword and she had enscribed “Welcome to the F List”, which I thought was hilarious. Get this shit when I was under may two federal investigations by the Secret Service and U.S. attorney’s office, they wanted to see that sword. It was like the craziest thing because I was like it’s from the gay porn awards. I think for a minute they we like oh my god she might actually decapitate the president. So hosting this gay porn awards will be full circle, Sister Roma will be there, I will not be bringing my sword, I don’t need another investigation. It’s a reminder that when I did the gay porn awards on “My Life on the D List” it was like ten years ago and here we are again fighting for basic first amendment rights and having fun while we do it.
The first amendment it’s always about serious things, sometimes it’s about Joan Rivers being able to say a completely inappropriate joke, which we loved her for so dearly, and pushing the envelope which she was the master of. She and I would joke about the unshockable gays and how the gay audiences were the best because if you’re a gay man over the age of 40 you’ve see some shit, you’ve been called some names, you’ve been bullied, so that was our theory about why gay audiences are the best because it’s an audience that’s already heard every inappropriate word ever. When you take those words, turn it on it’s ear and make it funny, then the joke is really on the people that are judging–of all things gay porn, as if straight guys don’t watch 100 times more gay porn. And as a woman I cant get into heterosexual porn world because it’s so violent so I’m thrilled to be doing this and also i love doing stuff like this. It’s just you never know what’s going to happen backstage, you never know who is going to be what I call the “real story”. One time I was presenting at the American Music Awards with Ryan Seacrest and he actually ripped my top open at this ABC live prime time major award show. Out of all the crazy celebrities that were there from the music world, little did I know that Ryan Seacrest would freak out that I was going to get one over on her that she just decides to fuck with me of all poeple and rip open my rented Badgley Mischka dress. And the other thing I hope happens–when I hosted the gay porn awards back in the day, one of my favorite elements is when the guy wins for “Best Versatile” and he bursts into tears, thanks Jesus and his mom. I give him a slow clap because he outdid himself–
Starts doing slow clap.
It’s like any sports movie where the little guy gets a touchdown and the coach does a slow clap. So my hands are going to be so red from the slow clap because I can’t wait to hear the acceptance speeches, I may cry along with a couple of them. There’s always a couple of gays that actually bring their moms and let me tell you those women are saints. I’ve seen a mom in a wheelchair front row of the Castro, that’s some PFLAG shit you can hang your hat on honey.
DL: Those are the moms saying “get your dick outta my son”.
Thank you, someone’s gotta say it and you know the best way to say it, in a porn. And let me tell you, I dont mean to brag, but I have sold out the Sydney Opera House to the London Paladium to the Radio City Music Hall to Carnegie Hall and I’m just going to say this–I have never had so many of my gays begging me for for free tickets to the gay porn awards. So I’m having a lot of fun being like, oh interesting you couldn’t come to see me when I was at the Hollywood and Highland theatre where they do the Academy Awards, but now you need 20 comps. I gotta keep my gays on a short leash. I’m learning about the companies, my friend is like, “I know everyone from BelAmi” I’m like, “What the fuck is BelAmi?” So now I have to learn every gay porn production comapny and give them a shout out, honey it’s a lot of work. I’m exhausted already. But honey I’m going to show up in heels and a goddamn red dress. And maybe some sparkles.
DL: So you’ve mentioned that the last couple of years you’ve been keeping a low profile. How are things since your infamous Trump drama from years past?
Black listed. In exile. Hollywood’s best kept secret. I’m torn between telling you the honest answer, which is it really isn’t over yet. I don’t mean to be negative because things are getting better. For example, one of these Trumps guys tweeted that I murdered the president. I’m like oh really I didn’t hear that part. So it gets picked up by Fox News and that machine is up and running and I still think because I was one of the first people to be put into the “Trump woodchipper”, not from the political world. It goes on and on and I still get confronted by Trump supporters. It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before. I’m been doing comedy for decades and I’ve made fun of every president and everyone else that might make the audience laugh. It makes me sad that we’re in this bizarre world with the Trump cult members. I remember watching a lot of these hearings as a little girl thinking that was rough, but that will never happen again.
As far as the industry goes, I think they are the last people to realize Kathy Griffin isn’t really in ISIS. I’m still kinda treated that way by what I call the “check signers”, I don’t mean everybody in every studio and every network, but the ones that can actually sign the checks and by the way they are all men, not one single woman can green light a project herself, not in television, not in streaming, not in film, not one. Part of my message is I think we are making progress, but we’re still in a world were a handful of old white dinosaurs that actually control whether I can work, whether you can see shows that protray gay people or not. There is a lot of work to be done there, but things are slowly starting to turn around. Not as quickly as I’d like, but I was very happy when gay show runner Greg Berlanti, who has more shows on television than anyone, he gave me a part in the Netflix series “You” and I only have one scene, but I’m so grateful. People are saying they saw me on “You, I love that show and you were great,” he let me improvise some lines and he kept them in. Doing the porn awards and doing the speech alongside it is really cool because it’s exactly where I want to be. I want to acknowledge the crazy thing that happened to me and warn people this could happen to you and then the next night I want to be in a Carolina Herrera ball gown hosting the gay porn awards and just laughing.
Ironically, I have never gotten some great press in my life like the New York Times, when I did last year’s tour [Laugh your Head Off], I mean amazing reviews from legitimate publications. And then when I made the film “Kathy Griffin: One Hell of a Story”, I just couldn’t believe it. I don’t know if I’ll even make my money back on it, but frankly, it’s about the message. The feature film world was more inviting to me than the television and streaming world even though I’ve generated billions of dollars in income for television and I’m not even in the movie industry. Even though Amazon didn’t pay me, I’m so glad that they took a chance on me. I kept saying I think this film is going to do better overseas than it will here because when I toured overseas I was able to tell the Trump story quite quickly and they got it. I don’t know–when you travel you encounter a lot of people asked what the fuck are you doing over there?
DL: Yeah, it’s a lot of apologizing.
Oh, when I go to mexico I just walk around the country saying “lo siento, lo siento, lo siento”.
The film is a big triumph for me even though the check signers kinda want to erase me and I think that’s why I’ve always had a kinship with the LGBT community as an ally because I know that feeling intimately when people try to erase you. One of the reasons we decided to have the paired down wedding is because I don’t know where I stand with people in my post Trump photo life. Which is a difficult thing to process because I have two Emmy’s, I’m the only woman to have a Grammy for best comedy album outside Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg, I’m in the Guinness Book of World Records for writing and producing more televised comedy specials than any comedian in history (male or female, living or dead) and I guess I mistakenly thought I’m going to build up this body of work that you can’t deny happened and what I’m experiencing is those old white straight guys will actually act like I don’t exist.
DL: What are some of your upcoming project or goals for this year?
I’m attached to two projects. There are people saying, “I can’t just hire you for something”, which was my old life, “Offer only–Griffin doesn’t audition”. While I don’t know what’s going to happen, at least I’m starting to get folks from legit production companies showing interest and I’m having a lot of new and nice relationships with people in the political world. I’ve been doing a lot of outreach to the resistor community which involve the LGBT community. I think I’m doing a good job and basically makeup for the fans I lost because of the whole Trump situation, love it or hate it, that photo made me global. When you’re rooting for “Get Your Dick Outta of my Son” then Kathy Griffin’s little photo is the last thing on your mind.
DL: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Instinct readers?
This is Ms. Kathy talking, the LGBT community has to get together and vote down-ballot candidate for an office listed below the most important office on a ballot and learn who your local representatives are, your congress representatives, your state Senators, but also your state legislature. Remember Kim Davis, the County Clerk that wouldn’t marry those two guys? She broke the law and that was an elected position, but people aren’t used to knowing who their county clerk is. This is the year where I think the LGBT community will be affected by these down ballot candidates more than the presidential election.
Don’t write off the down-ballot, do a little research, and after that get your dick outta my son.
Author’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.