Ryan Chartrand

No celebrity was safe from a verbal beating by abrasive comedian Kathy Griffin when she performed live at the Performing Arts Center July 7. The show, which filled the auditorium, gave audience members what they came for: two hours of unadulterated trash-talking and politically incorrect vulgarity. No opener, no intermission.

“This is a gorgeous theater. Wow!” said Griffin as she began her set. The compliments ended there. Being at Griffin’s show gives the feeling of gossiping with the comedian in a backyard patio over sandwiches. She has a conversational way of expressing herself, jumping from subject to subject spontaneously as one would in a casual yet hilarious chat.

“It’s going to be that kind of a night. I’m warning everyone now,” said Griffin as she started with a healthy dose of swearing. Subjects raced from Paula Abdul to Celine Dion’s accent to Oprah’s ego to The View’s Barbara Walters to what it’s like in the “gay jail wing.” It was like taking a sneak peak into the lives of celebrities from the perspective of someone who holds them in very low regard, and has no problem viciously insulting them.

Griffin’s favorite topic of the night, however, seemed to be Paris Hilton. “I’m convinced she’s a little retarded. Just a little,” Griffin said in an example of the shocking lingo that had her audience hysterically laughing if not simply for the surprise factor.

In her relaxed, conversational style Griffin chatted about trying to annoy Hilton during a photo shoot for Italian Vogue. “Let me tell you something. I spent the afternoon torturing Paris Hilton. It was so much fun!”

On a roll with Hilton material and in a moment of sheer comedic precision, Griffin described why she thinks Hilton is so famous. “She represents everything that bugs us about celebrities. She’s entitled, doesn’t work, gets taken care of, isn’t educated and has no regard for the law or other people.” The crowd loved it.

San Luis Obispo is the only California destination on Griffin’s tour until late October, so many audience members traveled to see the show.

CSU Long Beach communication studies Senior Britt Johnson came up to see Kathy and visit friends. “I am a huge Kathy Griffin fan. I mean I love her. She did such a great job, my stomach hurts (from laughing),” Johnson said after seeing the show.

“Last year I performed in Iraq, and this year I performed in a prison,” Griffin said. “I wanted to perform in the gay wing of LA County Prison because I saw on HBO that they segregate the gays,” said the openly homophilic Griffin, whose support of homosexual men gears on the side of enjoying their company rather than being a spokesperson on their behalf.

Griffin’s performance eloquently complimented the theme of the week in San Luis Obispo. The 11th annual Central Coast Pride event, which lasted July 4 to 7, included events such as Pride in The Plaza and a drag show at Downtown Brew.

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