Cast Blog: #KATHYGRIFFIN

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Law & Disorder

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Public Domain

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Demolition Day

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Kathy Does The Garden

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Mrs. Kathy Goes to Washington

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Sewing with the Stars

What Happens in Wasilla, Stays in Wasilla

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Once

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Kathy Comes To T-town!

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New Years In Times Square

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Coming Soon!

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Here We Go Again

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D-list Do's And Dont's

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Tom And Kathy, Sittin' In A Tree?

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Kathy Closure

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Celebrity Dating Tips

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Tom's European Vacation

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London Bridges

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Take A Dating Diet

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Looking Up After Lockdown

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Porn And Prison

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D-list Hot Spots In Los Angeles

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Q&A With Jessica

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Q&A With Tiffany

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Q&A With Tom

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Q&A With Kathy

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That Face To Face Connection

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In Tom's Hands

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The Windy City

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Home Swearing Network

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Remembering Dad

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Sexy In The City

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I'm Not A Lesbian...

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Kathy's Amazing Fans

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Jessica: Up Close And Personal

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Michigan Or Bust

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Oh, Sweet Charity

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D-list Dating Ex Anxiety

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D-list Dating Disasters

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How I Got The Tour Manager Job: Revealed

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A Very Special Blossom

Law & Disorder

Executive Producer Danny Salles goes into detail about how they got the shots they needed ... despite some disturbances from the crew.

My strangest memory of working on this episode was meeting with Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni on set to let them know how our D-List production works. Since they were busy shooting Law & Order: SVU, it was important that our roving documentary-style cameras didn’t distract from their usual paid gig. So, prior to shooting, my fellow executive producer, Lisa, and I drove out to their set in New Jersey and waited to meet with them in their producer's office.  Now, understand, I am a huge Law & Order fan – and the signature “ching-ching” sound can pretty much be heard in my house at any time day or night since some form of L&O is always on the air on some channel 24/7. It’s like Ryan Seacrest. It’s everywhere. So, we’re waiting to meet with Mariska and Chris, and they enter – in full costume, right down to their belts and firearms. Lisa and I do our usual explanation about how we’ll just be a fly on the wall with our cameras, etc. Mariska and Chris start to lean in with fixed attention, fascinated by the low-budget process of our reality show and, as they ask questions, I begin to have my own private out-of-body experience. Somehow, I now feel like a suspect being interrogated by Benson and Stabler – and I have convinced myself that I must be guilty of something. I started to sweat, staring into Olivia Benson’s probing eyes. Luckily, they were totally cool with us shooting and happily returned to set after 10 minutes of what seemed like a long interrogation in lock-up. If it had gone on any longer, I probably would have confessed to some brutal (albeit fictional) crime.

I have to spend a moment to describe Liza Minnelli’s apartment. It’s exactly like what you’d imagine. I mean exactly. It looks like Liza. Sleek, black and white, New York chic. Smooth, classic surfaces of marble and suede, generations of awards modestly placed everywhere and giant, black and white photos of her father from Meet Me In St. Louis and of Liza herself in Cabaret. And the view beyond the glossy grand piano is a city skyline that looks like a fake backdrop you’d see behind a Leno or Letterman set — but it’s real.  My other fond memory from this episode was when Kathy wanted to shoot a Law & Order spoof outside the New Jersey studio with Ice T. Ice, if that’s his first name, was nice enough to agree to do the scene with us but we only had five minutes between his real scenes to shoot it. We were all set with tour manager Tom to play the victim (much to Kathy’s delight). We had fake blood (food coloring and Karo syrup) and a grey sheet for the body, thanks to the Law & Order prop department. We quickly made Tom lie down outside and traced his lifeless body with police chalk (OK, it was kid’s chalk, but it did the trick). Ice rushed out and we started rolling. The D-List crew almost ruined the take because we were laughing so hard. Kathy started riffing that they should check the “vic” for anal tearing and Ice played right along with her, not missing a beat. And poor Tom had the double indignity of being dead and rudely violated. We got the bit shot in four minutes, including a wide overhead shot we got D-List-style by having the camera man stand on the hood of a car. Ice T was impressed with our crazy speed and joked that we should direct Law & Order: SVU episodes since we’d be able to shoot a whole show in just one afternoon. 

Demolition Day

Executive Producer Danny Salles explains how he and his fellow producers reacted to Kathy's unplanned renovation.

Since the second episode aired, many of my friends have asked me, “Was that real when Kathy tore her house apart without having a plan? It’s just so hard to believe. Did you make it up for the show?” I know. It’s hard to imagine someone tearing out her floors and kitchen cabinets without having a rock solid plan – but that’s exactly what happened. 

One of my most vivid memories from producing the show was arriving at Kathy’s house the morning after she told us that she had decided to move on from working with designer, Kenny.  It was 9 a.m., and I was finishing up my coffee as I walked up Kathy’s long driveway. I started hearing noise coming from the house as I approached. The booming sound grew louder and louder. I entered the front door to find eight workers with sledgehammers and crowbars cracking the floors and counters. Dust was everywhere. The producer in me panicked – We’ve got to start shooting this now! And the homeowner inside me was screaming, "WTF!" There’s no plan. Needless to say I got cameras up and rolling in minutes. 

My next call was to Lisa, my fellow executive producer. My voice was faltering.  “Eh, Lisa….It seems that Kathy has started demolition.” “When will they get started?” she asked. “Oh, no.  It’s already started. The fireplace in the kitchen is gone.” “Are you…?” “Yes, we’re rolling cameras.” In reality TV, you’ve got to be ready to move on a dime, because, well, that’s the reality part.

I found Kathy in her bedroom happily planning out her day, blithely ignoring the boom, boom, boom of destruction in the kitchen. She was acting like nothing was happening. But she must have seen the shocked expression on my face because she added, “Oh yeah, that.” “Yes, that.” She started laughing. “I told you I move fast.” She explained that since she only had enough money to rent another house for a certain timeframe, she figured she would just get rid of what she wanted gone and plan it out as she went. In the meantime, her friend and decorating enthusiast, Lara Spencer (also known to many as the host of The Insider) would help her out with the creative ideas and with finding workers. Between Lara and Team Griffin, Kathy was confident it would go well. 

Having had work done to my own house, I was privately predicting disaster. Who's ever heard of a renovation going well under the best of circumstances? As a reality producer, I know that disasters often make for great episodes, so figured this could lead to some good comedy. You might think I had a moral dilemma. Nah. The comedy comes first. 

Leave it to Kathy to be the first person in history to have a successful remodel. Lara came though and Kathy’s crazy “improv-a-renovation” actually worked. Her house is gorgeous!  I may not have gotten the home disaster episode I dreamed of, but Kathy got gay man’s Palm Springs bachelor pad she dreamed of. And that’s what counts.