All Aboard the Pink Flight

Advocate film critic Kyle Buchanan braves the Kathy Griffin–hosted Pink Flight on Air New Zealand and lives to tell a few tales.



Kathy Griffin

Soon enough,
Kathy herself heads to the plane intercom to begin her
performance. "Some little girls want to grow up and get
married," she begins. "I had a dream to one day be on
a plane full of gay people." Mission accomplished,
though she jokes that you'll never see Dane Cook
attempting a gig like this. Would Nicole Kidman, the
celebrity bête noire Kathy so often measures
herself against? "No, absolutely not," Kathy laughs.
"Why would she?"

She prods the
passengers to turn her tour manager Tom gay before the
flight ends. "Some rules about the mile-high club: We
encourage it," she says. As Kathy details her upcoming
Sydney itinerary -- including a stand-up performance
in Newtown and a trip to the zoo with Lance Bass --
her assistants pass out stationery that Kathy ganked from
Bette Midler's Las Vegas show. We're to submit a question to
Kathy and she'll answer it during her routine. I
notice Logo's news anchor Jason Bellini scribbling

Among the

Who would you
rather be friends with: Mary-Kate or Ashley?
"Mary-Kate," Kathy says. "I feel like she's more vulnerable.
Plus, Ashley's a little fat."

Who's gayer: Tom
Cruise, Ryan Seacrest, or Clay Aiken? "Seacrest,"
Kathy says without missing a beat. She thinks they
could get their nails painted together.

Is tour manager
Tom well-hung? Everyone laughs, though Tom, who's still
passing out stationery, remains unaware. Kathy demurs,
though she does add, "With one beer, he'll be on his
back singing show tunes." Jason Bellini sidles up to
me and reveals that the question he wrote down was one
of the three I listed above. But which? That, dear reader, I
will leave you to guess.

Her performance
concluded, Kathy continues to work the aisles as
cameramen film her for My Life on the D-list.
She sits on a male passenger's lap and, apropos of nothing,
rides him like a horse as he throws his hands in the
air. "Any wood?" she asks. He shakes his head. "Just
like high school."

Sleeping Hours

After Kathy exits
to business class and the drag queens pass out dinner,
things start to settle down a bit. The first in-flight movie
is sighted on someone's view screen, and it's the
obscure Amanda Bynes starrer Sydney White. Huh? Turns
out the in-flight movie menu hasn't gone all gay -- in
its promotional information, Air New Zealand was
merely spotlighting the gay movies it does program. We can
still watch The Bourne Ultimatum or Michael
if our hearts so desire.

As most of the
passengers dim their lights and drift off to sleep (a few
take advantage of the fluffy pink face mask included in our
gift bags), I meet a reality TV producer who takes me
on a whirlwind, Ambien-assisted tour of the plane. We
tour the business class section for the first time
since the lights have gone off, and it's like walking
through a morgue: bodies are laid out on slabs,
covered in white shrouds. The only sign of life is
Kathy Griffin's tour manager, Tom, playing computer chess.

The producer is
determined to find some champagne to wash down the two
Ambien he's already imbibed. We head into the very back of
the plane, where several passengers and members of the
crew are hanging out, drinking. One of the
stewardesses is there too -- Miss Ribena, who is
sitting down, fanning herself. As I peer down at her, I
notice the chest stubble just below her neckline.

I talk more to
the intoxicated producer, who thrusts a pointed finger
into my chest and tells me he's going to give me an insight
into dating: "7's and 8's" should never go after "9's
and 10's." He informs me that since we are both 8's,
we would be great for each other, except that he
already has a boyfriend. I have one too, and I tell him
so, but he is already on an Ambien loop and is asking me my
name again. It's fascinating, this Ambien loop. It
lasts about 10 minutes, and after it's concluded, he
asks me the same questions, having forgotten their
answers. As a writer, I have free rein to answer differently
each time, and he answers differently too, depending
on his mood. How long has he been seeing his
boyfriend? Three years. One year. One and a half. How
many Ambien has he had tonight? Two. One. Two. One and a

Tags: Travel