Last night, Sept. 13, Milwaukee's Riverside Theater presented some of the nation's raunchiest, most foul-mouthed stand-up comedy as found in Kathy Griffin (http://www.kathygriffin.net/). Currently holding the record for most standup comedy TV specials, Griffin is known for her controversial commentary on celebrities, religion, and sexuality, all of which were unapologetically present last night.
The two-hour comedy sketch began at 7:15 p.m. with a video montage of Kathy Griffin's career from early stand-up to Bravo's My Life on the D-List to her most recent talk show, Kathy. This montage had several accomplishments such as her Emmy wins, as well as numerous clips of rejection or banned footage. The video ended with a message from Kathy's mother, Maggie Griffin, and Kathy running out onstage jumping and clapping along with the crowd.
One of the great things about Kathy Griffin's stand-up is that she creates a strong sense of camaraderie with her fans, even while sharing personal experiences about celebrities. During this particular evening, the likes of Dave Chappelle, the Lohans, the Kardashians, Miley Cyrus, Justin Beiber, and Rihanna were just a few of the celebrities taking the brunt of Griffin's humor. While she began with a list of Milwaukee-based topics to rant and joke about (such as Scott Walker, Ryan Braun, and The Safe House), the topic quickly moved to her forte, celebrity gossip. From Justin ("Justine") Beiber's attempted status as a "wigga" to Rihanna's twitter feud with Joan Rivers, Griffin crammed as much celebrity scoops as possible in her two-hour slot.
Oh, don't worry we're getting to Miley!
These celebrity jokes were broken up by bits on religion, politics, and television. One particularly stand-out political story involved a mishap on Griffin's part where she ranted onstage against the Zimmerman ruling right as the verdict was released a few miles away from Sanford, Florida. Apparently the audience did not take this well as they supported the ruling, but Griffin recovered with her dirtiest joke and was able to laugh at herself in future shows (such as last night's) by saying,
I have never read an audience so wrong in my life!
And while everyone may have a basic awareness of these topics, Griffin prides herself on being geared mainly towards gay men, with straight men, in particular, not fitting her demographic. Although, she did make sure to include bits and pieces for everyone (adults, of course), adding,
I love and appreciate my small but growing heterosexual empire!
Over the past twenty years of stand-up comedy, Griffin has a well-established fan base with gay men as she frequently calls out to "her gays". Although it's true that her comedy isn't for everyone (gay, straight, Catholic, atheist, conservative, liberal, what-have-you), Griffin covered a breadth of material that accounted for everyone. And while, by the end of the night, audience members may not have left a die-hard Griffin fan who understood all her inside jokes, they certainly joined in a slow clap for at least one of her jokes.
This being said, the pure of heart should reconsider seeing Kathy Griffin live as she definitely isn't afraid to hold back on the crass, lewd, and obscene. The appropriateness level of her comedy is at the very end of the spectrum, which is just the way she likes it. So if comedy based on drug overdose, incontinence, and a 132-pound scrotum are too extreme for your liking, this probably isn't the show for you.
I feel like I haven't really done my job until somebody storms out.
Despite all the foul-mouthed, adults-only comedy that Kathy Griffin is known for, it was fitting that her opening video montage ended with a message from her mother, Maggie Griffin, as she was a major presence in the show. Fans of Kathy Griffin and My Life on the D-List arrived already in love with the outspoken, no-apologies, 93-year-old Catholic mother, but newcomers got a glimpse of what Maggie is like through Kathy's impressions and stories.
Kathy Griffin certainly covered a range of topics in her two-hour time slot, and while the majority of her jokes were well-received, her comedic style and timing is one that creates the image of an impromptu tangent from a scatterbrained gossip. This persona is an extremely strong one that grabs the audience's constant attention. Griffin signed all of her merchandise for sale and was extremely gracious to the Milwaukee crowd, thanking them for investing in live entertainment. So while Kathy Griffin's extremely adult stand-up comedy may not be for everyone, no one can deny her demanding stage presence and thick-skinned demeanor as she delivers some of the most shocking, hilarious social commentary one can find.
I'm really glad to be among you.