Kathy Griffin’s Right Hand Man

John Raphael with Kathy and Anderson Cooper.

John Raphael with Kathy and Anderson Cooper.

I met John Raphael Oliveira through Twitter and we instantly clicked. He’s an East Coaster who moved out to LA to live his dream. As an associate producer on one of Bravo’s only talk shows, he meets extraordinary people and gets to do some equally extraordinary things. Not only can he shed light on what goes on behind the scenes of the Kathy Show, but his own story is equally interesting. JR, as I affectionately call him, is young, bright, and has a quirky sense of humor…all things prerequisite to be Kathy Griffin’s right hand man!

TBB: What is your title and role in the planning and execution of an episode of the Kathy Griffin Show?

JRO: I can’t say how much this is a dream job for me. My official title is talent associate producer. After a celebrity guest is booked, my co-producer and myself deal with both the logistics and creative planning regarding the guest. We’re in charge of doing research on the guests, pre-interviewing them and going over the show, being their on-site contacts on show days, etc. It’s been amazing meeting people I look up to! In addition, I find the celebrity pictures for “Explain This” and present them to Kathy. The most fun is when Kathy decides to use us in her on-camera field pieces. You never know what’s going to happen.

TBB: How did you land your exciting job?

JRO: After spending two years at Judge Judy, I was promoted to segment producer and knew I had gotten as far and as high up as I wanted on that show. It was a great experience and an honor working for such a legendary woman, but I was ready for something new that would excite me creatively. I prayed for something new to materialize and it did! I heard that Kathy Griffin would be shooting her new talk show on the same studio lot where we shot Judge Judy so I saw it as my chance to make things happen. I dropped off letters, called people, etc. and then got an interview! The rest is history! I had been a HUGE fan of Kathy since before college. I remember seeing her live in Boston years ago and sitting in the back row and just dreaming about working with her and being a part of her staff. At that point, the D-List was just starting and Tiffany (Rinehart) and Tom (Vise) looked like they were always having fun and I think everyone dreams of having a job where you’re laughing 90% of the time. I’m still pinching myself that my dreams came true and it’s better than I could have ever predicted.

TBB: What is the greatest challenge you face at work?

JRO: In general, I’m a control freak and when things start to unravel I get a little crazy. Working on a live show is fun because you never know what’s going to happen and you only get one shot! It’s kind of like theater! But at the same time, not knowing what’s going to happen out there can be a little daunting! You prepare all you can and hope for the best! Who knew Chris Noth was going to tell our audience to do LSD when he was on with Chelsea Handler? Certainly not us!

TBB: What is a typical work day like for you and the staff at Kathy?

JRO: In a word…fun. Every day is for the most part a little different. I suppose on a typical day, we all come in and start talking about what we watched on tv or anything we came across that was funny. This is our unofficial way of starting to plan the show. The writers all get together and start planning ideas and my co-producer and myself start getting the celebrity logistics in order. When Kathy comes in, we have a huge pow-wow with her and get the ball rolling! We’re high on laughs and low on drama.

TBB: Who has been the most interesting person you have met while working at the show?

JRO: Besides Kathy Griffin herself, the most interesting person I have met in the last year is the living legend…CHER! Back in November, Kathy was invited to participate in a PSA with Cher and she brought me along to the shoot. Just being in Cher’s presence is intoxicating. She’s such a lovely, down to earth person. She just has “it” and it’s no wonder she’s been a presence in this industry for as long as she has!Later on that day, completely by chance, I ran into another living legend who lights up my world…Britney Spears! I didn’t speak to Britney because I was way too busy freaking out. I was unprepared for that sighting!

The Kathy crew meets Cher.

The Kathy crew meets Cher!

To sum up, November 1st 2012 was a day that will live in infamy in my own personal history. The gay trifecta of Kathy Griffin, Cher, and Britney Spears was achieved!

Meeting celebrities is both awesome and nerve-wracking.

TBB: Have you any funny behind the scenes stories you can share?

JRO: There are so many funny stories, from traveling with Kathy to working on the show, that have occurred this past year. These moments include everything from Kathy sticking her tongue down my throat unexpectedly on camera, to Jimmy Kimmel asking me to bite his earlobe, to running around between commercial breaks trying to refill the guests’ drinks on a recent episode after Steven Weber spilled his wine all over poor Kate Walsh!

Nibbling a kibbel...err Kimmel.

Nibbling a kibbel…err Kimmel.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that 99% of time spent with Kathy is funny whether it’s during a wardrobe fitting with her or sitting at the airport lounge waiting to board a flight. There’s always some moment of hilarity.

TBB: What is Kathy like as a boss?

JRO: Kathy jokes that she wants her staffers to live in fear of her as they would if they worked for Madonna or Naomi Campbell. However, that’s far from the reality. She’s a great boss. She knows how to make things funny and she knows the direction she wants her show to take. You learn a lot from her because she’s been in the business for such a long time. I’ve learned to trust her instincts.

TBB: What do you do when the show is off season?

JRO: It’s strange for talk shows to have off-seasons but it is what it is. I was extremely lucky after season 1 ended. Kathy scooped me up and I got to work with her at her house every day. Call me anything from her intern or her second assistant. I was actually working with her longer than I was with season 1. It was so much fun and I was with her when she taped two stand-up specials in Long Beach and Minneapolis, traveled to Vegas to help out at IHeartRadio music festival, etc.

TBB: What is your advice for someone who wants a job in your industry?

JRO: For this, or any industry, my advice is to work hard and follow your dreams. You have to really want to be successful and you have to be willing to sacrifice and work hard. It WILL pay off. Also, be kind. You never know who’s going to help you out or be your boss and a nice attitude goes a long way. Also…schmooze security…they’ll get you backstage!

TBB: Anything else you would like to share?

JRO: I’d just like to say thank you to you for being you! You are a wonderful blogger, mother, tweeter, etc. Thanks for your support of KATHY and of myself! Don’t forget to watch KATHY Thursdays at 11:30PM on Bravo! We’ve got some fun stuff coming up including a spoof on one of television’s longest running dramas so stay tuned.

I encourage anyone to tweet me (@JohnRaphael). I respond to everyone! As you know, I can get very snarky when discussing my beloved Housewives! I’d love to collaborate with you more and discuss other shows (Housewives!!!).

Video:John on Kathy with Jimmy Kimmel!

ENTER OUR MARCH GIVEAWAY HERE!

The Bachelor Season 17 :The Women Tell All

Next week Sean makes his final decision. Photo: abc.com

Next week Sean makes his final decision. Photo: abc.com

By Denise Weiss

Welcome to the most dramatic The Women Tell All ever! I clearly made that up, because this episode was anything but dramatic. It was more like The Women Tell All and who cares? According to Chris Harrison, this was “the best Bachelor season ever”, with “the most dramatic ending ever” – yet to come. No introduction would be complete without a reference to shirtless Sean Lowe, who in my opinion, has been the hero of the season.

To prove just how successful this season was, Sean and Chris board The Bachelor Party Bus and crash some Bachelor viewing parties. The first unsuspecting group of fans was a few teenage girls who were disappointed that it wasn’t Justin Bieber at the door. The next surprised group was 300 sorority girls crammed into a room. At least the Delta Gamma girls got Sean to take off his shirt. The most memorable girls from this season are back, and so are the most unmemorable, because I didn’t recognize half of them. Before we can allow the ladies to speak, we watch a montage of this season’s highlights, which fortunately included lots of gratuitous shirtless Sean shots. Sean was surprised that so many people were invested in him and rooting for him to find love. Honestly Sean, we could care less about you finding love. We just wanted to watch the women behaving badly. Enough reminiscing already- bring on the rejects!

Tierra

Although Tierra isn’t sitting with the other rejected women, Chris doesn’t waste any time throwing her under the Bachelor Party Bus. He asks the scorned peanut gallery if they believe that Tierra faked her fall down the stairs and exaggerated her plunge induced hypothermia. Uh, DUH. Brooke speaks up and says something like, “All you bitches are just mad because she seized opportunities to get Sean’s attention.” Who the hell are you, Brooke? I don’t remember you being on the show and have no interest in figuring out who you are.

Tierra is waiting backstage in an ugly dress that she wore once before, which makes her a bad-outfit repeater. We watch as she sprays herself with “Bitch Be Gone” and talks to a director about how to get onstage without stepping on the live grenades planted by Robyn.

Before he brings Tierra out from her safe house, Chris asks the audience to not throw rotten fruit and eggs. Tierra comes out, sits down and immediately babbles on and on about how she lights up a room, and brings joy and smiles where ever she goes. This elicits HUGE eye rolls from the women, but Tierra is not deterred and blames the other girls for judging her based upon her looks. Tierra is a legend in her own mind and needs to get over herself. The eyebrow is still there, but the dent is gone. So is the sparkle, and Little Miss Sparkle looks more like Little Miss Really Washed Out.

Chris asks Tierra if she is nervous, which is host talk for, “Wow, what a load of crap you just dumped on us.” Chris probes a little deeper (which isn’t hard to do since Tierra is about as deep as a puddle) and Tierra again blames the others for not wanting to be her friend. Tierra admits she really wasn’t interested in making friends, so what’s the problem, right? According to Tierra, the problem was that she got a rose and the other ladies didn’t like it. That is the point of the show Tierra- some women get roses, and the other women don’t like it. The one thing that Tierra failed to grasp was that only the super bitches are truly hated by the rest of the women in the house.

Chris asks Tierra if she has any apologies or regrets, other than wearing that dress again. Dead silence. Then she says, “Off the top of my head, no.” What about off the top of your eyebrow, which still has a mind of its own? Seriously Tierra, you got the dent fixed- how about spending the extra $500 and fix the eyebrow too?

Tierra defends herself as best as she can and says, “Well, everyone talked about each other, so I did it too.” That comment is more age appropriate for the girls at the middle school lunch table than for a grown woman. She then adds, “I didn’t say one bad thing about anyone”. Maybe not, but I do recall you threatening people with bodily harm on a weekly basis.

In response, Robyn calls her delusional, Jackie says she was fake and Selma is upset that Tierra didn’t say good morning to her. Tierra must have “Post Bachelor Stress Amnesia” because she doesn’t remember any of this. All she knows is she can’t control her eyebrow, and is a victim of her own runaway stink eye.

Brooke goes all gangsta on Tierra and tells her “I wish that you would just stand in your convictions. You made it clear that you didn’t want to be friends, you didn’t like the women in the house, it wasn’t them, it was you.” Um Brooke, again, who are you? You weren’t even on this show. Whoever you are, slight correction- you stand on convictions, not in them and besides, Tierra has no idea what convictions are. Someone please call security and escort Brooke out of the building.

When it’s AshLee’s turn to pipe in about Tierra, this is a good time for a Jerry Springer moment and I am hoping that 50 Shades of Drunk Ashley P. is going to jump out of her chair, rip Tierra’s hair out of her head and yell “Die Bitch, Die!” Instead, we get to relive “Bitchfest 2013.” Tierra says that in St. Croix all she wanted to do was talk to AshLee about some things that were heavy on her chest- not as heavy as the things on Selma’s chest, but crushing nonetheless. In a ridiculous “he said, she said” recap, Tierra calls AshLee a liar. AshLee sets the record straight and takes “great offense” to Tierra calling her a liar. Tierra backpedals and says, “I didn’t call you a liar, I said you lied.” Good comeback, Tierra.

Reminiscent of the great Courtney Robertson, Tierra issues an apology that no one believes. This would have been Brooke’s opportunity to say “Bitch, puh-lease, talk to the hand,” but she has been escorted off the property. Chris talks about the eyebrow and holds her responsible for using the word “sparkle.” Tierra explains that when she was younger, she was Little Miss Nevada and her Daddy told her she sparkled. That’s a shameless plug and revelation about Daddy issues all in one sentence. That, my friends, explains it all.

Speaking of sparkle, let’s talk about Tierra’s engagement ring. She wants all of America to believe that she is engaged to someone she dated before the show started, got engaged minutes after she came home, and her time on The Bachelor served as the validation that their relationship needed. In the end, Tierra proved that she don’t need no stinkin’ Bachelor, and that even though she doesn’t have any girl friends, she got her man. As thankful as I am that Tierra provided fodder for my recaps every week, it is time for her to go. I hope I never have to see Tierra or her eyebrow again.

Sarah

No one has touched America’s heart like Sarah. That is because Sarah only touched it with one hand. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself). We are reminded of Sarah’s journey and what stands out most to me is not her disability, but rather, her annoying voice. When the montage is over, Sarah is crying. She thought Sean was the one. She cries some more and says, ”I wonder what changed in Sean’s head. Why didn’t he like me?” Who the hell knows why he didn’t like you? He just didn’t. Get over it already.

Sarah says she has been strung along by guys who tell her she’s great, but that it’s just not meant to be. She feels like she keeps hearing the same old line over and over again, and blames her failed relationships on her missing arm. I’m sure Sarah is hearing the same old line, but it has nothing to do with your missing arm! The reason men dump you is not because you have one arm, it’s because all you talk about is your one arm. Maybe if you stop bringing it up all the time, you won’t be so annoying. Through this experience, Sarah has learned about self-acceptance and being vulnerable. I wish she would learn that she needs to stop talking through her nose. I really hope she’s not the next Bachelorette.

Des

Next up in the hot seat is Des, who has grown out her Demi Lovato bangs and looks adorable in a white dress. Chris reminds Des that she was one of Sean’s favorites until the hometown date. We revisit their relationship and laugh as Sean says, “I’m excited to meet Des’ family and can’t wait until they get here.” Ah, famous last words. Chris asks Des if she thinks her brother sabotaged her relationship with Sean. Ya think? Des admits that she was falling in love with Sean, and defends her brother’s actions as his way of protecting her. I hope we haven’t seen the last of Brother Nate.

It was painful to watch again as Des begs Sean not to leave her. Clearly, Des will never be the spokesperson for the National Organization for Women.

In the end, Desiree seemed very content and forgiving, and my money is on her as the next Bachelorette.

AshLee

I know hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but wow! I didn’t see this coming. AshLee’s face is stone cold as she watches the highlights of her story with Sean unfold. I was so happy to relive the date when Little Orphan AshLee told Sean the whole story about being abandoned. AshLee said she’s very reserved and never dove into a relationship like she did with Sean. Unless of course, you count that silly marriage thing when she was 17.

Although she says she’s not mad, AshLee still seems MAD AS HELL to me! Chris tells her that her goodbye was heated and emotional. No Chris, it was psychotic! AshLee unconvincingly says she is not still in love with Sean and describes his interactions with the other women as acting like a frat boy. Frat boy? Where did AshLee go to school- a monastery? The Vatican is hoping that he turns both women away next week so they can make him the next Pope, for G-d’s sake. Frat boy? If I remember correctly, AshLee was the one standing on chairs screaming at the top of her lungs.

Sean

If Sean were smart, he would have come out without his shirt in order to divert attention from AshLee’s death stare to his fab abs. To our dismay, he is wearing a shirt, a tie and jacket too. Bummer. Sean is happy to see all the women he sent home, but they don’t look too happy to see him, least of all AshLee.

AshLee and her tight fitting dress come back to the hot seat, and she asks Sean what made him change his mind and send her home. Sean compliments her hair. Good strategy. He then tells her that the reason he sent her home was because she didn’t make him laugh. Who could even crack a smile with AshLee talking about abandonment all the time?

You can see the crazy in AshLee’s eyes and she tells Sean she is upset that he never came to check in on her after the rose ceremony. Are you kidding me? Go back? Hell no! Sean got away scot-free – there was no way he was going back. Instead of telling her that he was terrified to see her, Sean simply answered that he thought it would only make things worse if he went to check on her. Good answer, Sean.

AshLee is also upset that Sean talked to her about things they would do in the future. Have you not seen this show before, AshLee? Sean politely reminds her that they were on a dating show where you fall for multiple people at the same time. Good answer, number two.

This is when things start to get ugly for Sean, because AshLee wants to know why he told her that he had “absolutely no feelings” for the other women. Oh. My. Sean has a look on his face like Steve Urkel saying, “Did I do that?” Sean insists that he never said he didn’t have feelings for the other two women, but AshLee is way crazy and is sticking to her story. Sean continues to deny saying anything of the sort and AshLee just keeps saying, “C’mon, Sean. Sean, c’mon,” and batting her mascara crusted eyelashes at him.

During the commercial break, AshLee still won’t let it go and wants Sean to admit that he said, “There’s nothing for me with them.” Sean stands his ground and repeats, “There is no way I would have said that.” Come on AshLee; don’t tell me that you fell for the “those other girls meant nothing to me” line. Eventually, Sean apologizes to AshLee if he said anything misleading, which I’m sure he did. However, AshLee, you are 32 years old, knew there were two other women competing for Sean’s heart, and you should have known better than to fall for such a frat boy load of crap.

AshLee is very pretty, but like the preying mantis, can be very deadly. Hopefully, Sean realizes that he dodged a huge bullet by sending AshLee home. Tierra is the villain, but AshLee is the crazy girl, and has a lot of skeletons in her well-organized closets. ABC doesn’t carry enough liability insurance for AshLee to be the next Bachelorette, so unless she they invent Bachelorette Asylum Edition, we have probably seen the last of AshLee.

Catherine and Lindsay

Catherine brings out the silliness in Sean and calls him a hunk. She is ready to be his wife. Lindsay was the drunken girl in wedding dress on the first night that hopes to be the drunken girl in the wedding dress on the last night.

Next week is the 3-hour finale we have all been waiting for!!

March Giveaway- Sugar Snap Organizer!

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