The littlest gossip girl

Everyone has a Kathy Griffin. That friend, you know the type, who’s effortlessly hilarious, quick with the comebacks, perfect for parties (if you, like me, prefer to bring guests who amuse but also mildly offend the hosts); also the kind of friend who after a few days together starts to grate on you. It’s no fault of theirs, just some people work better in smaller doses. Non-consecutive-day-doses.

Kathy Griffin’s memoir is a lot like her, and like that friend. It’s hilarious, fast-paced and often insightful, but by the end I was ready for a break.

I went into this book not knowing what to expect. Comedians can go both ways when it comes to the written word–sometimes, as is the case with Michael Ian Black, their books are perfection, just slightly more bizarre extensions of their routines (I don’t care what people say about Russell Brand, I find his memoir(s) far more amusing than he is in person). Other times, it doesn’t quite work. You find yourself missing their inflections, or well-placed pauses for laughter. Reading is an isolated activity, and stand-up is a group one. The two don’t always mix.

Griffin’s Official Book Club Selection (which, by the by, awesome title) benefits from Griffin’s stand-up style, which is more long-form storytelling than a series of witty one-liners. Those familiar with her stand-up (or Bravo show) will hear her voice in the writing, but the stories don’t suffer for not being performed on a stage. In fact, the book lets her go further than she probably would to a crowded roomβ€”a chapter about her brother, who she suspected of pedophilia (no joke), miiight not have made the best material for a night at Radio City Music Hall. On the page it comes across as insightful and acerbic; one gets the impression humor isn’t so much Griffin’s defense mechanism as it is a lens through which she (and any self-respecting cynic) views the world. In other words, the book isn’t all celebrity gossip and plastic surgery stories; just mostly.

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