Kathy Griffin isn't shy. The comedian and host of her own Bravo reality show, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, is known for off-color remarks and self-deprecating humor. Her tell-all memoir, Official Book Club Selection brazenly named, Griffin says, in hopes that Oprah will pick it for her book club or at the very least invite Griffin onto the show catalogs the outrageous redhead's decades-long struggle to make it in Hollywood, her slow climb to the middle and all the claw marks she left along the way. Griffin talks to TIME about plastic surgery, dating Levi Johnston and being mistaken for another famous Kathy.
A whole section of the book is dedicated to a horrific liposuction experience, complete with photos. You could have literally died from the botched procedure, but then you admit to doing it again. Why did you get liposuction the second time?
I have a lot of shame about that. The second time I had plastic surgery, I got it done for free. People was covering it, and I met a team of doctors that had a publicist who kept adding procedures. The guy who did my LASIK surgery wanted to do a "tune-up," and now I've had five surgeries on my eye. I have partial blindness in one of my eyes, actually. It was very much like Nip/Tuck, where they'd be like, "Tell me what you don't like about yourself," and then they'd draw all over you with markers to highlight your "problem" areas. One of the doctors was like, "We can do a little teeny lipo on your upper arms." I said, "Are you sure?" He said yes, so I went along with it.
Why do you keep doing it?
The reason why I got any work done was because I'm on television. If I were a public school teacher like my sister Joyce, doing the Lord's work unlike me, who's telling dick jokes for a living I wouldn't have gotten anything done. But I have to. The next time you turn on your TV, think about the fact that 90% of the women have had some form of what I call "dental work." That's my new code.
Besides, I actually have a theory that my original nose has grown back. I heard that your ears and nose continue to grow as you age, so I think that I'm right back to where I started.
Paparazzi get photos of celebrities doing pretty much everything, but they never seem to get pictures of stars after surgery. Why is that?
Oh, there's a whole system you need to know about. First of all, the plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills all have secret celebrity doors. After the surgery, you leave the plastic surgeon's office covered in a sheet that's not unlike a burqa. Your assistant takes you to an upscale hotel where you hide in a dark room of shame until you're better. There are bandaged rich ladies walking around the hallways of the Four Seasons and the Peninsula in Beverly Hills right now. It's not unlike being a war criminal or a terrorist.
You talk about the comedy scene as a "boys' club." Do they really treat you that differently?
Absolutely. It is appalling to this day the stuff that I encounter. I remember I had a meeting with Ben Silverman at NBC two years ago about my role in the company and the future of the show, and he said, "Kathy, we're gonna find a role for you that fits you as tight as those jeans." Now, you know that no one says that to Matthew Perry.
In your book, you reprint an entire series of e-mail exchanges with Apple founder Steve Wozniak. In one of the e-mails, he mentions that he has rented My Life on the D-List on DVD. Is it weird to go on a date with a guy who has seen your reality show?
That's what you think is the weirdest part of me going on a date with Steve Wozniak?
That and when you asked him how to work your iPhone.
Listen, I've banged a lot of guys who have seen me on TV. This is the guy who created Apple computers, and he is one of the most unique people I've ever dated. In fact, my relationship with him is probably what propelled me into the loving arms of Levi Johnston.
So that's still going on?
This one's got legs. I just have so much in common with Levi. We can talk for minutes. As long as I can quote The Bachelorette to him, I'd say we have a connection.
Have you moved up to the C list yet?
There's nothing I can ever do to get off the D list. I was working on some show and the sound guy was putting my microphone on, and he kept talking about when we'd worked together before, but none of it rang a bell. Finally it dawned on me and I said, "I think you're talking about someone else." And he went, "Oh yeah, sorry." If that happens, you know you're on the D list.
Do you mind being mistaken for other people?
If you ever see me on the street and say "Hello, Kathy Gifford!" I will say, "Hello!" You can tell me you loved me when I did the show with Regis, I will talk about my problems with Frank, I'll talk about my Christian album sales. We might do a prayer circle. Unfortunately, when I start to tell dick jokes, it'll give it away.