L’Auberge Casino part 1 — Kathy Griffin LIVE
Straights better grab a life vest! If you’re a Big Brother fan, then you got that joke. A hurricane came to town early and her name is Kathy Griffin. Though I’ve seen her on TV for as long as I had been alive, my first actual Team Griffin experience happened in 2004 for what I believe was her first televised special, Kathy Griffin’s “The D-List.” That exact special carried over into her award-winning series, My Life on the D-List, on the same network, Bravo. I lost track of the show between 2007 and 2009, but I came back full steam in 2010, due in part to The Real Housewives, and I’ve been following her show and televised specials ever since.
Known for her anecdotes, mocking and dirty jokes, I’ve long put a live Kathy Griffin show on my bucket list, even though I’m not dying. All it took was seeing one local ad promoting her show six weeks ago, and I got my $60 ticket that same day. Dressed in all black with grey Lugz and a crucifix chain that my mom got for me, my three-year-long dream was fulfilled. With that said, let’s dig in.
French for “the inn,” the L’Auberge property is beautiful! With “L’Auberge Casino/Resort” signs and lanterns nestled in the buses, the entry way is like a maze as you loop your way from Gardere Lane to the parking lot, but rest assured that everything is clearly marked. The show was scheduled for 8pm with doors opening at 7, but I got there probably right at 7pm. You catch the elevator inside the hotel tower, which then takes you to an overhead walkway to the main building built off the river like a barge or riverboat. With my ticket in tow, I was able to flash it to the attendants and walk through the double-doors into the Event Center. Across from the event room was a minibar, but I was driving home, so I’ll leave it at that.
My ticket was for section F, row 5, seat 3, which was nearly smack in front of the stage, but in the bleachers. The Event Center is a large convention area, so as long as you weren’t seated in the corner, you had a clear and close shot of the stage. For those less fortunate, however, there were two projections on either side of the stage. When I got there, the place was half full. Counting the minutes like a Shuttle launch on my Twitter and Facebook, everyone seemed to flock in at once! This was about thirty minutes ‘til, and like clockwork, the gays took over. There was also a text-participation feature to which I texted “Kathy’s fulfilling my bucket list.” There were a few jovial spats on-screen about red-heads, old-school lesbians joking about their mullets, people searches, Mother’s Day shout-outs, gays warning the straights about what they’re in for, people staging meet-ups at Splash and George’s—the younger folks’ gay club and the older folks’ gay bar respectively—and a lot of other pre-show banter. Then…the lights dimmed.
To say that we, the crowd, lit up was un understatement because in the LGBT community, Kathy Griffin is a dignitary and a legend, and one of her shows is a papal visit. That’s exactly how we treated it as soon as we saw her flaming red hair dash across the stage after her video reel played. Even her mom, The Maggie Griffin, paid us a much-deserved pre-taped visit, yes, with a large glass of wine in tow. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be Maggie! “Baton Rouge, how the fuck are you!” We went wild! The feeling in the room from seeing the pint-sized five-foot-three ginger give herself to us is something that could never be felt through the TV.
If you’re familiar with her specials, you’ll know that her mind is like that of a marathon runner, darting amidst a hodge-podge of topics. You’ll also know that before her shows, she likes to tour the area on her way in. When she tours the South, she always stops at one of her favorite places in the world: Waffle House! I’m from New Orleans, so upon moving to Baton Rouge after Katrina, I’ve only seen Waffle Houses while on road trips. Reminiscent to Kathy Does the Bible Belt, she recalled the “string potatoes” (hash browns), Jim-Bob and Jim-Bob (local hetero partners who are also brother and sister) and teeth-optional employment. As a testament to how unaware I am, I’ve never heard of a drive-through daiquiri shop! In addition, the rule is that, as shouted by the audience, you won’t get a DUI if the lid isn’t off and the straw isn’t in. Kathy damn near fell off the stage with that one, so it definitely became one of her recurring themes.
Now, the first thirty minutes of her show is usually her “family segment.” That is, the first few bits are the least graphic of the show. Staying true to her fans, she definitely kept watch for a walkout because as she said, “That would mean I’m not doing my fucking job.” Did I see walkout? Not that I can recall. But then again, were we really paying attention? It’s Kathy Griffin! She told us that she came in through New Orleans airport and after seeing a man at the airport in full camouflage gear, which is a joke that writes itself, she was picked up on the L’Auberge Party bus! If only I could be a fly on the wall.
Her primary theme for her show was the slow clap. A slow clap is a sarcastic way of saying, “Congratulations, you suck. ‘A’ for effort!” This award to was granted to many people and situations, but especially to the following:
Alexis Bellino: an ultra-religious Orange County Housewife who once stated that Costa Rica is a city in Mexico.
Lindsay Lohan: Kathy then proceeded to imitate all eight mug shots in chronological order as we counted them off. She said she practiced them in the mirror. I’m not much of a follower of celebrity news.
Justin Bieber: her favorite “wigga,” a White person from the suburbs acting as if they’re urban.
Li’l Wayne: offset from the Bieber jokes, “With all the money, skateboards and tattoos in the world, how great is it to be addicted to Codeine cough medicine, a.k.a ‘Purple Drank,’ that—wait for it—puts you to sleep?” Insert slow clap here…
Then the piece de résistance…
Maggie Griffin: I was sad to learn that Bravo pulled Kathy’s risqué eponymous talk show after two seasons. Her mother, while tipsy, went on to compare Kathy to Angela Lansbury! I mean, it only makes sense! For the sake of their livelihoods, the crew of Murder She Wrote was able to convince Angela Lansbury to continue the show for two more years! But then Kathy had to re-explain that she and her talk show were canned, not the other way around. “Well g*d-dammit, Kathleen…”
Insert slow clap and standing ovation!
In retrospect, much of her show was based on things and places she visited on the way into Baton Rouge, or Baton Rouge-adjacent as she calls it. She fell in love with Boots, Etc. in Gonzales. “I’ve never heard of a back-order on blue boots!” Even one of Kim Kardashian’s maternity dresses, which Kathy said looked like a skinned sofa, came from the store, hence the “etc.”
Those were some of the show’s highlights and that probably wasn’t even half. I compare Kathy Griffin’s shows to a cram session because there is always so much covered in such a short period of time! Basically, I had an idea of what I was getting myself into, but I didn’t think it would be this surreal. The celebrity gossip, the Real Housewives stories, the Seafood Hut—Seafood Hut was a place she learned about which ended up literally being an RV with a sign “Seafood Hut” written on paper in the window in red marker. Slow clap! “They could have at least had a tiki theme!” Comparing it to the grading system of California’s health department, she rated it a double “Y,” adding that in California, “You’d better not eat anywhere that’s less than a ‘C.’” However, their saving grace seemed to be that the food was good.
Kathy’s target demographic are the soccer moms and even more so, the LGBTQIA—well, the LGBTQIA-2S. It means “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual/advocates,” and the 2-S meant “two-spirit,’” an androgynous Native American societal role similar to transgenderism. This further proves how Kathy’s shows never fail to educate!
I could go on forever with this blog as she tends to cover so many topics in her shows, but that would require several more hours to recall. Kathy Griffin’s show lived up to what one would expect from her and more, even down to the black H&M leggings and iconic “Team Griffin” t-shirt. We were taken for a ninety-minute ride on her bright red rollercoaster as she stood there sipping water from the L’Auberge cup atop a wooden barrel, but this was a thrill ride that I didn’t want to end. As she gave her parting howls and dashed across the stage for her curtain call, we rose to our feet with yet another unforgettable memory. After three years, I’ve finally seen a Kathy Griffin show. Trust—this won’t be my last.
“Twat” Kathy Griffin @kathygriffin.
Images found through internet searches.