Mackenzie Phillips may be catching some flack these days for the ill-timing of her new memoir, "High on Arrival," but for most celebrities who are trying to get back on talk shows and magazine covers (or in some cases, stay on talk shows and magazine covers), writing a "tell all" about their lives is the way to go. Bethenny Frankel's "Naturally Thin" cookbook and lifestyle guide stayed at the top of the NY Times Bestseller list for months after the success of her stint on The Real Housewives of NYC; NeNe Leakes' ghostwritten "Never Make The Same Mistake Twice" received a surprise outpouring of fans from the online community; and Ted Kennedy's posthumous "True Compass" was fast-tracked after the politician lost his battle with cancer. Kathy Griffin's "Official Book Club Selection" seems to be the book that encompasses the best of ALL of those things, though.
Released on September 8th, Griffin's book is unique from all of the other celebrity memoirs because instead of just recounting her time on television sets or at red carpets, she dissects them...all with a snarky, judging, and somewhat self-deprecating voice. It's easy to get lost in Griffin's stories of Hollywood lights and famous names, but it's even easier to imagine her as your cousin or neighbor when she takes the tone down a notch to heap praise on her parents, who moved out to California when she did and let her live in their house until she was twenty-eight, or when she opens up about her her brother's troubles or plastic surgery gone wrong. Griffin dishes on everything from Seinfeld to Brooke Shields to her early comedy troupe days alongside Lisa Kudrow and Janeane Garafalo, and at time she speaks directly to the reader...as if the reader is Oprah! Griffin's voice is crystal clear in every sentence on every page in this book, and it's easy to hear the exploits and experiences come alive in her infamous resonance.
Last night, Griffin and one half of her team trekked out to Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena for a book signing and brief meet and greet with fans (Tour Manager Tom was not on the premises; perhaps the five hundred or so fans who showed up screaming and giggling for Griffin would have caused him to pull out too many more hairs...). One extremely devoted fan, Lorilee Vargas, camped out at the store with some Starbucks sustenance since about five-thirty that morning to ensure she was number one in line.
The first hundred or so fans who had purchased their copy of "Official Book Club Selection" from Vroman's received an autograph ticket that also allowed them to take a photo with the (Emmy winning!) TV star, comedienne, and author. This particularly excited fans like Randy McDonald and Jody Wagner, who had driven all the way from Victorville and San Diego, respectively. Wagner had even driven up to Pasadena the night before the book was released and stayed a hotel down the street from the store just in case there was such a high demand for the autograph tickets that they sold out within a few hours.
A rumor quickly circulated that someone was even scalping these "front of the line" autograph tickets. Suren Magakian, who had been waiting excitedly in line since about three o'clock that afternoon and who managed to snap a photo with both Griffin and her Number 1 Assistant Tiffany Rinehart, mentioned he had seen at least two sold. Later in the night, I managed to confirm said rumor when I found myself in line behind one woman who paid an extra ten dollars to another fan just to ensure she could have a few extra moments to pose alongside Griffin.
The press was told we would have a brief photo op with Griffin prior to the fans being let in but that no interviews were allowed. Perhaps this was Random House's way of getting even more people to just purchase and read the book, though. As Griffin pointed out: "This book basically is one big interview." And it may be the only one you ever need; it may be a cliche, but it proves to be true here: you will laugh, you will cry, you will learn! And the one thing we all learned last night was just how devoted Griffin's fans are to their favorite reality star-- and vice versa.