Kathy Griffin doesn't have time to pull punches. The wise-cracking comic is currently hurtling through an 80-city nationwide tour — which comes to Carnegie Hall of all places Nov. 12 — and she's keeping her act fresh each night thanks to the likes of Donald Trump and Chris Christie.
What do you qualify as a good show?
I don't feel like I've done my job if I don't get a good storm-out or walk-out in some way. I had two last week just from making Trump jokes. I had to separate obviously middle-aged straight guys stand up and with great aplomb storm out. They were right in front and they had to just let me know, "I ain't taking more of this!"
You should moderate all of the debates going forward.
Yes, I should. I'd like to really get down to when it's just that one tiny table with the last two candidates. This time it will just be Trump and Hillary — although I would like to leave one extra chair for Melania [Trump] because I really feel like the more we learn about, as I like to call him, President-elect Trump — because as a comedian I kind of want this to keep going even though as a human and a feminist I don't — but I do have a fantasy that Melania Trump is some sort of trump card, if you will, and she's the new Jackie O and we don't know it, and she's going to be this incredible ambassador and she's been hiding her multiple degrees from MIT and Oxford. Maybe she's going to be the new Eleanor Roosevelt.
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But that would mean Trump is the new FDR?
Which is the next obvious conclusion. That is how crazy it's gotten. I'm not typically a political comedian, but when I'm on a stage like Carnegie Hall I can go anywhere now. Trump is an ever-changing mood ring of insanity, and I am happy to just keep checking my ring. He's really fooling us all in a way that is entertaining and frightening. I'm more qualified to be president than Donald Trump.
Would you like to formally announce your candidacy?
Well, yes. But I think that my VP should be Donald Trump Jr. And my entire cabinet will be made up of Palins, and then obviously Ann Coulter will be my secretary of defense. We're going to keep America great again. (laughs) No, I am hashtag ready for Hillary. You can't talk to me about when it's a woman's turn. And also, guess what? We're in luck, she's extremely qualified.
Want to talk about Chris Christie?
Let's talk about that. You realize you can't send him anywhere, right? It's fine for him to stay in the Jersey area, but you can't send New Jersey to another country. Could you imagine him sitting down with Justin Trudeau? He doesn't know who that is! We have to remember when we're voting for these people, they don't just stay here.
You're excited about Chris Rock hosting the Oscars, but what about yourself as an Oscar host?
Oh my gosh, I would love it. There is just a mountain of sexism in Hollywood, and I freely say it because I'm 54 and have two Emmys and a Grammy — I'm half way to an EGOT — and I just sold out the Kennedy Center in June, and I'm often just not considered for these things, so I don't know. I think when I was younger people were kind of afraid of me, but I think I've proven myself now. If I can be live on CNN for three and a half hours, I can be trusted. But I would love an opportunity to do something like that. Obviously I love being surrounded by celebrities. Yeah, it does bother me that I'm a six-time Grammy nominee, I've won a Grammy and I've never even presented at the Grammys. There's something I don't care for there.
Also, can we talk about how ridiculous it is that the only woman in late night right now is Miss Piggy?
First of all, she's very empowered, and good for her. But you make a really great point. It hasn't been since 1988 that there has been a female in network nightly late-night talk. It's really shocking. It's great that there are men of color and a gay man in cable and late night, but hello? Women are 51 percent of the population. It's now at a point where it's just straight-up shocking. I think that all of the network executives have to realize it's no longer a couple of female comedians bitching and moaning. It's a fact. Just look at your DVR, the guys have it locked down. I'm actually spearheading the Kathy Griffin "it gets worse" campaign for female comedians.
Do you worry about your act making you enemies with anyone?
I'm not saying Demi Lovato is actively trying to kill me, but her fan army, they have taken to the social media and been very specific about ways that they want to put a machine gun up my butt, cut me with razors. That is something that is actually unprecedented in the history of comedy. In the Clinton era you could make fun of Monica Lewinsky and the jizz on the dress, and no one tried to kill you for it. Then over the years I've made fun of celebrities, and maybe they themselves have come up to me. Lana Del Ray was very upset with me and she confronted me at a party. But now in this world of social media, I can make fun of Justin Bieber and the Beliebers don't threaten to kill me, but you go after that 23-year-old Demi Lovato, and those 30 million Lovatics get very specific about ways they want to kill me. It's really kind of new and frightening.
Kathy Griffin's Like a Boss tour comes to Carnegie Hall on Nov. 12. Get more info here.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick