It’s a shame that Hollywood is so terrified of Kathy Griffin. Because if they really want to revive the Oscars, they really need to book this self-proclaimed "biggest bitch of them all" to host.
I went into my viewing of the first ever A-List Awards on Bravo with more than a little trepidation (and more than two fingers of Ketel One in my iced tea). The pre-show red carpet was a bit of a mess, with an assortment of reality show regulars and the odd, terrified A-Lister mulling a twenty-foot red carpet and doing their darnedest to avoid the advances of correspondent Billy Eichner (a new name for me), who made Isaac Mizrahi‘s booby-grabbing red-carpet demeanor look downright Victorian by comparison.
But thankfully the actual show – while by no means any classier – was a well-produced, irreverent, and uniformly entertaining show that puts pretty much all the other, more "legit" awards shows to shame. Remember how fun the MTV Video Awards used to be, back in, like, 1991, when you worried if Axl Rose might swan-dive off the stage and crush several Bangles? Well, that’s what the feeling was here.
Aside from the audience, which was packed with every sort of personality you could imagine ranging from Padma to Lauren Hutton to that fat guy in the Tron costume (I kid you not), the show itself was a riot. First there was Griffin’s masterful turn as ringleader. From her opening cabaret number (with out songwriter Marc Shaiman on piano), she was "on" for all ninety minutes. Check out the bawdy number below…
But that was just the beginning.
Griffin took a few minutes to eviscerate Dina and Ali Lohan for canceling at the last minute, intentionally mangled Padma Lakshmi’s last name, made fun of Tila Tequila as the was walking offstage after winning an award, and pulled some awesome physical comedy in the on-stage Quickfire Challenge and her quick-change costume gag.
But what about the gay? Kids, this was gayer than the Tonys. Heck, it was gayer than Xanadu at the Tonys. From Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm, whose pre-taped acceptance speech with co-star John Slattery (whom he introduced as his “partner” while holding his hand) was predicated on the joke that he thought he was winning a “Gay List Award” to the hilarious man-on-the-street interviews conducted by Eichner (the red carpet terror) where he noted, “if you’re watching this, you’re either a woman or a gay man,” the gay jokes were fast and furious.
Plus, out celebs like Simon Doonan, Christian Siriano, Jonathan Adler, Tim Gunn, Nick Verrios, and tons more were all over the event. It was a celebration of low culture and camp the likes of which haven’t been seen since Circus of the Stars … with more insults and beeped-out words. Or as Simon Doonan put it, not “turgid and retarded” like most awards shows:
Of course, it had its faults. Do we really need that many cooking awards? Could the sponsorship reach-arounds and shameless network self-promotion have been any more blatant? And should models and … whatever Tila Tequila is … really be allowed to speak this much? (Side note: What the hell was up with that creampuff from The Office? When they were called onstage to win the Best Show award from the look on her face you’d have thought they just announced that her cat was dead.) But it embraced its own shortcomings with such passion that it sort of innoculated itself from criticism. I’m sure Bravo’s rerunning it like 30 times a day, so you can still check it out if this tickles your tummy. Did anyone actually watch? What’d you think?