Originally published February 2017
So I needed something completely different after “Mischling.”
There seems something almost unholy about reading a memoir that centers on one comedienne’s obsession with celebrity as a followup to a novel about the atrocities of the Holocaust, but quite honestly, between that and the horror show that is cable news these days, I just wanted something mindless and entertaining, and Griffin delivered.
It’s probably fair to say that Kathy Griffin is one of those comediennes you love or hate. It’s not that you “get” her or your don’t — I think everyone knows that, to a degree, celebrity obsession is her schtick — it’s just that you either find her entertaining or … not. Me? I dig her. I wouldn’t have picked up the book if I didn’t. But, as with many comedians, sometimes a 90-minute standup routine is overwhelming. (Case in point, Lewis Black. God bless that man, but a three-minute segment on The Daily Show leaves me exhausted.)
The beauty of “Celebrity Run-Ins” and its format is that even if you love Griffin, sometimes she is best in small doses. And with this book, you can pick it up and set it down over time and not miss a beat.
Need 10 minutes of a meet-up with Cher? The book has you covered. Thanksgiving dinner with Ron Jeremy? Yup. Getting epic breakup survival advice from Jane Fonda? Check. They’re all here, from Anderson Cooper to Miley Cyrus to Josh Groban to Ozzy Osbourne to Sean Penn to Sia, Steinem, Tatum and Trump. (That last one hurt.)
Keeping in mind that this is completely from Griffin’s perspective, it’s impossible to know for sure which celebrities sidle up to her because they’re befriending the enemy in order to stay out of her act, but what I found was a remarkable example of how people from opposite ends of the spectrum can share rewarding friendships. And a reminder that celebrity is just a day job — these are all real people with real lives outside the spotlight.
I also learned that Barry Manilow does not like rap. This impresses me.