Maggie Griffin: Out of the Box



Even among the “ordinary” people who become unlikely celebrities on myriad reality-based series, Maggie Griffin is a surprise. The sweet 90-year-old mother of outspoken comedian Kathy Griffin has become a scene-stealing favorite of gay fans due to her weekly appearances on her daughter’s hit Bravo series, My Life on the D-list. Frequently the butt of Kathy’s good-natured ribbing about her excessive boxed-wine drinking, Maggie has won over viewers with her gentle observations as well as the bemused indignation she expresses at Kathy’s more outrageous antics — particularly her foul language on live TV while cohosting CNN’s New Year’s coverage next to Anderson Cooper. “He’s a Vanderbilt!” Maggie exclaimed.

Griffin has now followed in her daughter’s publishing footsteps. Like Kathy’s 2009 best seller Official Book Club Selection, Maggie’s just-published Tip It! The World According to Maggie (Hyperion, $23.99) is equal parts memoir and advice book. In it, she details her Depression-era childhood and happy 65-year-long marriage to her late husband, Johnny, and she doles out helpful tips for going green and suggests which actors should and shouldn’t do nude scenes. The prose also features the expected sarcastic asides from Kathy. Maggie Griffin speaks with The Advocate about her strange liking of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, her thoughts on marriage equality, and the celebrity with which she most wants to tip it.

The Advocate:
How did you come to write Tip It!?

Maggie Griffin: It was proposed to me. At first I wasn’t too keen on it. I’ve never written anything in my life. The publishers came back again, so I decided to give it a try. The book is a chance to say what I think, and of course Kathy gets her two cents in as well.

Do you really drink as much wine as Kathy alleges?
If I drank as much wine as Kathy says I do, I’d have been dead 20 or 30 years ago. No, I love wine, but I usually have only one or two glasses a day. My husband and I would always have a happy hour before dinner and then a glass of wine at dinner. So it’s just two glasses. That’s usually my limit.

Why do you prefer boxed wine to bottled wine?
It started years ago when we’d have big parties. The boxed wine was so much more convenient and easier to carry, and it would stay good for as long as it lasted.

If you could share a glass of boxed wine with any celebrity, who would it be?
Oh, Helen Mirren! I’ve met so many celebrities through Kathy and they’ve all been fine, but I think the only one I’ve actually shared a glass of wine with was Betty White. She was so wonderful and funny and real and adorable. I felt as if I’d known her forever. We just laughed and had the best time.

Tags: Books