After the heaviness of the past week, I relished a bit of levity—and a liberal dose of “holy shitballs!”—from Kathy Griffin Saturday evening at the Borgata in Atlantic City.
Following the Boston manhunt’s harrowing conclusion Friday night, after our twins learned updates from classmates that afternoon, I longed for a temporary escape. “I just feel like I need a change of context,” I told my husband after our three kids went to bed. So Jeff bought us last-minute tickets to see the redhead comedienne, someone I’ve admired for years for her acerbic wit, her tireless work ethic and her ability to laugh at herself in between her celebrity-laced jokes.
I became a Griffin fan when I was swollen with our twins, prostrate in bed and watching far more reality TV than I should probably admit. This was back when Griffin was still hauling around her loser husband, who did her hair and allegedly stole her money; before her most recent visits to the “dentist” for liposuction and plastic surgery; when many of her jokes still involved Paris Hilton and Britney Spears; when she had the first pap smear on reality TV, on her hit Bravo show, “My Life on the D-List.”
Saturday night at the Borgata, Griffin lamented the fact that Bravo had just cancelled her talk show, “Kathy,” after two years. “I don’t know why,” she quipped. “It had tens of viewers.”
I was not one of them, though I have been an ardent fan of “My Life on the D-List” and of her televised stand-up routines. I looked forward to seeing Griffin live for the first time, even if it meant shuttling back and forth between Philadelphia and Atlantic City in the same evening, since my husband and I were too cheap to book a hotel room.
The last time we were there, we stayed in a fleabag motel and rose at dawn so Jeff could run a marathon. Even though I was only doing the half, I hadn’t trained properly and was in excruciating pain as I stumbled up and down the boardwalk past gamblers wobbling out of casinos into the early morning light. “That was the worst race ever,” I recall my husband remarking. I was hoping this AC trip would prove more enjoyable.
After pawning off our children on my in-laws for the evening, however, we found ourselves running late. We had to stop on a desolate strip in Egg Harbor Township, alongside shuttered storefronts and the Institute for Adolescent and Behavioral Health, to get gas. Then Jeff chose to navigate back roads to the Borgata instead of returning to the Atlantic City Expressway as I had advised. Wings’ “With a Little Luck” trickled over SiriusXM’s The Bridge. “There’s AC, Court, shimmering in the distance!” Jeff cried, victorious. Then we stalled in a long line of stop-and-go traffic, gamblers queuing up to hit the blackjack tables.
We had to valet the car, not because we could afford to but because the show was about to start. When we finally bolted into the Borgata, racing through the rancid smoke past the slots, we pushed through the Event Center doors just in time to see Griffin sprint on stage in black spandex and one of her “Gurrl Down” tour T-shirts belted about her slender waist. “What the fuck am I wearing?” she cried. “I look like I skied here!
“I’m just gonna’ cut to the chase,” she continued. “We got ‘em!” The crowd went wild. “And now, trying to watch all those fuckin’ reporters trying to say those guys names. I’m sorry. You have to look for the humor in everything.
“Holy fuckballs, you guys,” Griffin added. “Any of you that have a boat, go home and fucking check it.”
Jeff and I weren’t the only ones who found that bit cathartic.
Griffin moved onto Lindsay Lohan: “Holy shitballs! What is going on with her lips?” She quipped that Vicki Gunvalson from “The Real Housewives of Ocean County”—whose recent bout of plastic surgery has been a season highlight—“has had the first successful head transplant.” And Griffin remarked on the endless Jackson family saga. “Did you know that Jermaine Jackson has a kid named ‘Jermajesty’? That puts fucking Gwyneth Paltrow to shame with ‘Apple’ and ‘Moses’… What is wrong with these celebrities?”
She mocked Justin Bieber for “allegedly” drinking Sizzurp, a.k.a “Purple Drank,” a mixture of prescription cough syrup, Sprite and candy; for saying that Anne Frank would have been a “Belieber” after visiting her historic house (“I think he thought it was a date,” Griffin said); and for for trying to smuggle a monkey into Germany in his pants. “Where the fuck is Mrs. Bieber?” Griffin demanded.
“I hope nobody brought their kids,” Griffin said at one point. “I used to do shows where people would say, ‘Excuse me, there are kids in here!’ And I’d be like, ‘Well, get them the fuck out!’
“This is mommy and daddy time, or daddy and daddy time or mommy and mommy time,” Griffin said.
Even my husband, one of the, as Griffin put it, “seven straight guys in the audience,” enjoyed himself. “I just think she’s hilarious,” Jeff said. As usual, Griffin killed—and managed to lighten the mood.