Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Kathy and Mo's Wild Ride: Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney Are Returning to Their Off-Broadway Roots with a Hilarious New Show-But First There's the Pro-Choice March, the Sick Nanny, and the Telltale Cell Phone

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Kathy and Mo's Wild Ride: Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney Are Returning to Their Off-Broadway Roots with a Hilarious New Show-But First There's the Pro-Choice March, the Sick Nanny, and the Telltale Cell Phone

Article excerpt

"I came to the door of Kathy Najimy's very warm, feng shui'd home. Her hair was pulled back and wet. She looked surprisingly young. She had a little bit of lip gloss on her lips and not much more--casual yet professional. I was struck by, um, her dainty bones, the Julianne Moore-like look in her eyes.

"That's how [writers] always start [celebrity interviews] out," says Kathy Najimy. "But never on mine."

This is, quite literally, how Najimy starts out her interview with me on an impossibly hot Los Angeles day in late April. It's the start of an afternoon that defies the cliches of the "celebrity interview."

For starters, a sick nanny means Mo Gaffney, Najimy's longtime partner in comedy, can't make it as planned to Najimy's Hollywood hills home. (For the record, her home is very inviting, if littered with photos of Najimy's husband, friends, and 7-yearold daughter, Samia.)

I'm here to talk about Afterbirth: Kathy & Mo's Greatest Hits, which opens on June 11 for a one-month off-Broadway run as part of the 25th-anniversary season of New York City's Second Stage Theatre. Having just wrapped a hit run in Los Angeles, the show is a blend of skits from the previous Kathy and Mo shows Parallel Lives and The Dark Side, their ground-breakingly frank and funny statements on feminism, gay rights, and religion.

Since The Dark Side's 1996 HBO broadcast, both women have gone on to much individual success, Najimy in movies like Sister Act and TV shows Veronica's Closet and King of the Hill, Gaffney in recurring roles on Absolutely Fabulous, Mad About You, and That '70s Show. They've retained their close friendship throughout--as well as their fierce need to speak out on issues like gay rights and a women's right to choose.

In fact, Najimy has just returned from the March on Washington for Freedom of Choice, the massive pro-choice protest in the nation's capital. It" I had any question whether Najimy has kept her edge, it evaporates when I bring up the man who ended up enemy number 1 at that pro-choice protest: George W. Bush.

"I think he hates women and fears them and resents them with every fiber of his being. I think he hates gays and is afraid of them with every fiber of his being. And I think he hates minorities." Najimy pauses briefly to chuckle that she's "going to get killed" for this opinion and then adds in the same breath that Bush is "all about swaggering and showing. There's nothing in him so far that shows he cares about human beings. I think he's a dangerous person; I don't think he has a good heart."

It's around this point that Najimy asks me if I'm single (I am), and as we drive in my beat-up Nissan to Gaffney's home in the San Fernando Valley, she does a little casual match making. ("Do you know so-and-so? You should.") She talks about her family vacationing with Melissa Etheridge's--It's rare when the parents are friends and the kids are friends too"--and explains her beef with all the dead--or-missing mothers in the Disney oeuvre. (This is, in fact, the theme of one of the few new sketches in Afterbirth.)

We arrive at Gaffney's in-the-midst-of-redecorating home, and with her adorably precocious 4-year-old son, Jack, playing in the background, the duo waste no time rifling off my questions. Watching their back-and-forth is like watching two halves of the same brain--where Najimy is all deadpan, Gaffney loves to laugh, especially at her partner's jokes.

Kathy: We do a lot of preparation before the show. …

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