When Josh and I heard that Kathy Griffin was going to be at the Barnes & Noble in Tribeca tonight, promoting her new book Official Book Club Selection, we didn't even really have a conversation about it. We just knew we were going. Period.
Over the last four years Josh and I have been to scores of readings, and by now we have it down to a science: Get there half an hour early if it's a lesser-known person; get there an hour early if it's a relatively famous person and plop down jackets or bags if your friend(s) are late. If you want to be really safe--or if you're anticipating a lot of interest--maybe even go two hours ahead.
Tonight, though, we both had stuff to do and couldn't meet before 6 p.m. in Tribeca for the 7 p.m. event. We dutifully showed up an hour early, assuming we might have a crappy seat near the back, but at least we'd see her Royal Vagesty in person and get our no-holds-barred infusion of Kathyness.
Oh. Oh ho.
Oh no, child. Not even.
Ready for this?
First of all, if you wanted to see Kathy Griffin at all, you were required to purchase a copy of her book, ringing in at a nice hardcover hefty $25. That was the first surprise. And it was a surprise because, in all of the readings we've ever been to, there has never once been one where book purchases were required.
Second, once you purchased a book, you were issued a wristband in varying colors. Certain colors guaranteed seating; others connoted standing-room only. If you were late to the game there were none to be had at all. (Wristbands? For a reading?)
And the game, my friends, started early: Kathy fans started lining up at 6 a.m. for the right to buy her book, get a wristband, and camp out in a maze of velvet rope penned-off waiting lines that rivaled anything I've seen before in New York (or Disney Land--seriously) before getting a non-personalized signature from Hers Truly.
Altogether nearly 1,000 fans (a thousand!) showed up at Barnes & Noble Tribeca for Kathy.
Just for perspective, an average reading by a lesser-known author might have 30-50 people in attendance (often many of which are friends, family, and/or publishing/PR folk). You can fill the seats for Dan Savage; you can go into overflow and standing for Augusten Burroughs, and over-overflow for a Nobel Prize winner like Toni Morrison.
But a thousand people? That was new. It's easily more people than the crowd at the last six readings we've been to all put together.
The seriously bad news for hoi polloi? If you didn't buy a book and get in line with the hundreds and hundreds of waiting fans, you wouldn't get a chance to even glimpse Kathy. The velvet ropes had been set up so that nobody could see Kathy unless they were getting books signed. Those at the end of the signing line couldn't even hear her as she addressed the crowd. They just stood near the B&N Cafe, shuffling their weight from leg to leg in their respective winding cattle lines, waiting to get their books signed.
On top of that, getting your book signed wasn't even guaranteed (but they did promise to really try).
All of that didn't stop Josh and I from strategically camping out near a pile of new fiction selections not terribly far from the event area, where we heard everything, even though we couldn't see Kathy (which was a strange phenomenon all on its own--she's just right around that corner, but you can't see her).
And, alas, Ms. Griffin spoke to her crowd of many (emphasis on many) for a mere ten minutes so she would have time to sign as many books as possible. During that time, she didn't read a single sentence from the book.
Then again, she didn't have to: Everybody already had the damn book.
All of that said, do we love Kathy Griffin? To bits and pieces. Would we shell out cash for another of her stand-up shows at Madison Square Garden, or anywhere else? Without question. Worth every penny.
But wow, Kathy, can we talk? Honey, you're not D-list anymore. You're now officially on the A-list.
* * *
KATHY GRIFFIN HAS A BOYFRIEND FOR YOU
If you're single and ready to mingle, a Kathy Griffin book signing is apparently better than speed dating or match.com to put you in a giant pool of dating options. There was every shape, size, style, and flavor of gay present tonight at the bookstore. Deep v-cut shirts, scarves, shoulder bags, bulging biceps, strategically bared triceps, snug jeans, plastic-framed eyeglasses, and every other variation spanned as far as the eye could see. There were a smattering of ladies as well, and some heterosexual male stragglers (welcome, guys!), but there were gays o' plenty, as I'm sure nobody is surprised to hear. So if Kathy is coming to your town, get thee to a B&N. The fruit is low-hanging and ripe for the plucking. Have at it.FOR THE RECESSIONISTAS AMONG US
Kathy's book Official Book Club Selection--which looks pretty great from what we saw in flipping through it--is available for $15 on Amazon. That's a nice way to chop ten bucks off bookshelf price, no?
(And our two cents? Use the ten spot you saved on the book to buy a drink for your new boyfriend that you meet at the reading. You can thank us later.)
**UPDATE: KATHY SHARES THE JOSH & JOSH LOVE ON FACEBOOK
Whoa! Kathy posted a link to this blog post on her official Facebook page!
What can we say? We're honored. This is us sending Kathy a big Josh & Josh smooch.
Like the new header? It's a Josh K. original, the first new one in a long time. Are you loving it? Cuz I'm loving it. It made me have banner nostalgia earlier today and I had to flip through our banner archives (on your left) and reminisce.