Saturday, February 6, 2010

"Official Book Club Selection" by Kathy Griffin

I enjoyed this book, so much so, I could not wait to pick it up, read the next bit, while at the same time feeling bummed that thee faster I read it meant the faster I would be done.

So note to Kathy: hurry up and write another one, and another.

I have not had much experience with Ms. D-Lister, outside of her infamous "Suck it, Jesus" comment at the Emmy's and the fact that not only does she star in my favorite Christmas movie "A Diva's Christmas Carol" but she also has my favorite line "Did you just call me skinny?"

But I liked what I read, and as someone going through a Search and Call process to find my next church to pastor, I could identify with Kathy's story.

This book is a celebration of paying one's dues to get to where they are and discovering who you are, who you are NOT, and working your ass off at being the best you can be at what you are best at. In other words, Kathy realizes she can never by Mary, but she can be a Rhoda. And the best Rhoda she becomes. She may never be A-list, but she embraces her D-list all the way to the bank, the Emmy's, talk shows and doing whatever she can do to ensure she never has to live out of a car, eating dog food (read the end of the book and you'll understand, and by the way, read the index: very funny).

So what kind of soul will you find in the pages? Enough. On page 26 she is being beat up at school as a nun watches and Kathy has a "light bulb" moment: "Oh, I see. Nobody saves you." She realizes she is not strong enough to fight back, or kind enough, but she is smart and clever. So she uses that as her weapon and defense.

Page 70, in regards to agents and getting gigs "I learned early on that a very important notion to let go of was the notion that anyone was going to get me work except me."

121-122, Brooke Shields asks Kathy for help making a line funnier. "I'd think Wow, that's really coll of her. It was also smart. It made me understand, no matter how famous you are, don't ever be afraid to turn to somebody and ask for help. Don't ever feel above it."

125: When Andre Agassi is upset he's no good at golfing "I though, Well, you're not that good at it, apparently. There's a thing called a racquet you might want to pick up You seem to be good with it. It's a theme in my life. Go where you're welcome and wanted. I wasn't making it at the Improv, so I went toward Un-Cabaret."

134-135 she deals with the suicide of her tv co-star, David Stickland, who pulled her over a month before he dies and said "I don't think I can ever quit drugs and alcohol" to which her response is "Oh David, yes you can. Keep going to your meetings." I found this part indicative of why pastors are taught how to listen, not poo-pooh things or diminish statements people make. Kathy glossed over his cry for help. What would have happened if she said "What can you do for just this one day? How can I be here for you?"

When "Suddenly Susan" is cancelled and she's going crazy from not working and can't get work. What does she do: calls up the Laugh Factory, finds out what their slowest night is, takes it and hustles her ass off to make it successful, bringing in so many people that waitresses are thanking her for helping them make their rent money in tips.

199, she's famous enough to score tickets to American Idol, but she's in row 26 and not invited to the VIP party. It helped her "realize what exactly I was, the insider as outsider."

220: After much sleeping around and bad relationships, she has an epiphany "What if I tried an exercise where the number one requirement for the next guy I go out with is that he be nice, not anything else?" And that decision changes her life.

221: Kathy is out for dinner with her new boyfriend is so poor and worried about how they can date. They work out a plan that if it was something she wanted to do, she's pat and visa versa. After they come to their agreement, the waiter comes over and tells them that a family from Oklahoma at a nearby table wish to pay their bill. "I turned to Matt and said with enthusiasm, 'And sometimes that happens.'"

249: Kathy has a hard time believing her marriage to Matt is over. It takes Matt telling her for Kathy to fully get it. "Now it's just ridiculous," he said, "You're trying to force something." As Kathy writes "He was right. One of my worst character flaws in that it takes me too long to "get" things. I have to bit hit over the head with a sledge-hammer. It is this very quality of never accepting defeat, going against the odds and not always listening to reason that while serving me so well in my career, has screwed me over in my love life."

273-274: the use of "sick humor." Julia Sweeney's brother had cancer as did Julia. When Mike answered the phone he's say "House of cancer". Kathy said it was important for Mike to laugh and he had no tolerance for small talk. He wanted the most out-there jokes possible. When Kathy's friend Judy was sick with cancer she's call Kathy and ask her to come over and "make fun of my illness." Kathy thought making fun of cancer would be mean, but Judy assured her it wouldn't. The she had a friend with AIDS who also used sick humour and Kathy realized that with certain audiences you do not hold back. Such as the soldiers she visited who wanted her to make fun of the insurgents, officers, locations, food and the soldiers themselves.

342: "My mother proudly says that denial is in fact a river in Egypt, and she is on a canoe."

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