Kathy Griffin calls her most recent tour “Celebrity Run Ins,” a title it shares with her New York Times best selling memoir. But, at her stop at Salt Lake’s Eccles Theater last night it occurred to this reviewer that a more appropriate name may have been, “Alright, Listen To This Sh*t.”
Griffin’s act, which she has perfected over decades in show business, is designed to feel like a chat between her and—in the case of the Eccles—2500 of her closest friends. It’s a little bit like catching up with an old friend for lunch, but then not being able to get a word in edgewise. Griffin’s comedy is mostly story-based, as she recounts things that have happened to her with people whom she has decided are more famous than she is—this is a point that is in itself debatable, but we’ll go with it for the sake of the narrative—masterfully, she weaves from one story to the next, injecting color commentary, jokes and insights adding plenty of segues with that masterful, “Alright, listen to this sh*t,” before somehow always heading back to her original story.
“We have so much to talk about,” she told the crowd after a couple obligatory Mormon jokes. “This is an evening of p*ssy jokes and d*ck jokes,” she continued as the crowd hooted and hollered. But aside from one joke about the President’s penis, that promise went thankfully unfulfilled.
The evening—full of stories about her neighbors Kim and Kanye, a Thanksgiving dinner at Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue’s home (with a cameo by Gloria Steinem), a Christmas party with a high Andy Dick (“He’s my junkie, I think everyone has a junkie,” she said) and, of course, Mariah Carey’s New Years Eve disaster (“She was f*cked by her shoes,” Griffin, who wore Crocs onstage, said. The ladies in the audience knew exactly what she meant. We’ve all been there.)—still had a decidedly political tone.
She minced no words about the new administration. “If you voted for Trump,” she told the crowd matter-of-factly, “My show is not for you.” After confession of adoration for Utah’s own Evan McMullin, Griffin said, “I know Trump. I know that asshole. He’s aggressive, psycho and stupid. He’s aggressively stupid.” And she told her Utah audience, “You’ve got Mike Lee, you’re f*cked.”
But, she said, with delight, “You have a fucking dyke mayor! Oh my God, how did that happen? Go on Jackie with your bad self! I support you sight unseen,” as the crowd cheered. Soon, word made it to the stage that Mayor Biskupski was in attendance and Griffin called her up on stage as the crowd gave her a standing ovation. What can we do, Griffin asked the Mayor, in this time of complete and total upheaval, “We stand together,” the mayor, who just this week stood up to President Trump’s threats to cut funding to sanctuary cities, said, “This is about the cities and the people and the people in the cities and by God, we aren’t taking sh*t from anyone.”
That line may have received the biggest cheer of the night. It served as a reassurance that we aren’t all focused solely on celebrity culture, and that even in the darkest times, it’s okay to take a night to just laugh at the meaningless things around you. You can laugh at the Kardashians at night and still call your congressperson in the morning.
And, anyway, who among us hasn’t read the news recently and exclaimed, “Listen to this sh*t!”