Entertainment editor's humor is 'Golden Girls' inspired

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Kathy Hanrahan

When it comes to entertainment news, it’s nearly impossible to tell Kathy Hanrahan something she hasn’t heard before. As a WRAL.com web editor and self-proclaimed entertainment guru, she has usually Tweeted and talked about the gossipy tidbit hours before you even stumbled upon it.

Kathy came to WRAL.com from the Associated Press where she covered entertainment news in the New Orleans area. Since coming here, she has created two popular online shows, Entertainment Wrap-Up and Idol Chitchat, and an entertainment blog called RaleighWood.

She was also responsible for bringing American Idol’s Anoop Desai and Elmo and the Cookie Monster to our station recently. I asked Kathy to share her story and tell us how she became a guru of all things celebrity.

It’s obvious that you’re passionate about entertainment reporting and the industry itself. How did get interested in it?

When I was a child, my mother used to leave the TV on a lot. I grew up listening and watching TV all the time. I learned to speak in full sentences at an early age because of that. I credit my humor and sarcasm to watching reruns of “The Golden Girls.”

Anyway, I used to watch “Entertainment Tonight” religiously! I absorbed every morsel of entertainment information and gossip. It just fascinated me. I used to be able to tell you which movies were out each week and how much money they made. I am now hooked on TV and celeb news.

I’ve just always loved entertainment.

You’ve interviewed, B.B. King, Joan Rivers and most recently, American Idol’s Anoop Desai. What’s the secret to getting in touch with celebrities and convincing them to do interviews?

Getting in touch with celebrities isn’t too difficult, but you have to be from a reputable news organization. As a journalist I have to first figure out who is representing the celebrity – agent, publicist, tour manager. I get in touch with one of them and formally request the interview in writing. From there it is just a waiting game to see if the celeb has time to talk.

Tell me about some of the other celebrities you’ve interviewed.

The list includes John Cusack, Jerry O’Connell, LeAnn Rimes, Ray Romano, Jason Alexander, Lance Bass, Deidre Hall, Big and Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy, John Mayer, Will Hoge, Alien Ant Farm, Good Charlotte, Morgan Freeman, Jean Smart, Paula Dean, Cat Cora, Better Than Ezra, Peyton Manning, Archie Manning, Eli Manning, Marshall Faulk, Jerry Rice, Warren Moon, Jay Leno, Deuce McAlister, Lance Armstrong

LeAnn Rimes is tiny! She really is small framed. I saw her and her husband walking around the Beau Rivage Casino a few hours before her show there. I interviewed her backstage after the show and she was super small. During the show, her husband was at the sound board dancing and singing along. He was her biggest fan.

I ate Goldfish crackers with B.B. King. I interviewed him on his tour bus prior to a show at a casino in the Mississippi Delta. He keeps that tour bus so hot! It was like 90 degrees in there – during the summer! B.B. was dressed in a tuxedo and drinking a diet Coke. Anyway he likes it that hot. He saw that me and my photographer were sweating so he asked his grandson to turn down the heat because he “didn’t want to melt” us. I happened to notice a box of crackers in his living area. It was one of those huge industrial sized boxes. So I asked if he liked those crackers – since he had so many. He said he did and started asking me if I wanted any. He called his grandson back into the room again to break open those crackers so “he and the young lady could eat some.” What was supposed to be a 10 minute interview turned into a 45 minute visit with one of the most talented musicians ever. I will never forget it.

Kathy Hanrahan and B.B. King

Jerry Rice (athlete and Dancing with the Stars participant) was sick when I interviewed him. He had a slight cold. We chatted in the back of an SUV during his visit to Madden, Miss. He was there for the officially launch for the Madden video game that year. They did the launch in there in 2007. Jerry keeps his Super Bowl ring around his neck on a chain. He let me hold the ring.

Also at the Madden launch, I played Madden ’07 against NFL star Marshall Faulk. He destroyed me! I scored a touchdown but the game’s refs reviewed the play on me and called it back! I tried to trash talk Marshall, but he wasn’t having it. We had a good time and I got a few good interview questions in while we played.

You’re also a great photographer. Tell me about the concerts you’ve shot and how you got involved in that.

I got into concert photography in college. I just started shooting some of the shows that came to New Orleans. I ended up getting pretty good at it. I’ve shot John Mayer, 311, Eminem, Counting Crows, Black Crowes, No Doubt, Paramore, Better Than Ezra, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, Fuel, Alien Ant Farm, Stone Temple Pilots, Matchbox Twenty, B.B. King, Kid Rock, ‘N Sync, 3 Doors Down.

One of the coolest things was sitting on the stage at Voodoo Fest in New Orleans. I was tired after a long day, so the guards let me sit on the stage and look out at the crowd right before the Stone Temple Pilots’ set. They were closing the show and Scott Weiland was fresh out of rehab. Anyway, sitting on the stage I saw this guy spitting fire! It was wild!

STP’s set was great. We were allowed to shoot for the first 5 songs, but Scott decided he wanted the photogs to stay in the pit so he yelled at security when they tried to usher us out! He was like “No, leave these people here. I want them here.” So we got to shoot the whole show and he got up in my face and was singing!

Gwen Stefani, lead singer of No Doubt
Who would be your dream interview?

Sharon Osborne or Kathy Griffin – because both of them are outspoken and hilarious!

What are some of your goals for WRAL.com’s entertainment coverage?

I want WRAL.com to have the best entertainment coverage possible. I’d like to see us get people more involved with what they are reading. We did a few live chats during American Idol and I’d love to do more of those about top entertainment headlines. Also I want to do more fun stuff with the “Entertainment wrap-up” – my weekly Web show. Last week, we went to the Silly Putty drop at N.C. State. I’d like to see us do more on location stuff.

Your husband is also a journalist, but he covers sports. Are you interested in sports and is he interested in entertainment? What’s the best thing about being married to a journalist?

My husband is a sports writer. The best thing about being married to another journalist is that he gets it. He understands my crazy schedule.

I have always been a sports fan. I love watching football with my family. At every news outlet that I have worked at, I’ve always been friends with the sports writers.

My husband wasn’t into entertainment as much before he met me and now he can tell you all about “Jon and Kate Plus 8” and “American Idol.” He grew to really appreciate all of that stuff after we started dating.

Who are some celebrities you’re tired of hearing about? And who do you think deserves more press?

I am really sick of Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian (the whole Kardashian family, really!), Paris Hilton, Heidi and Spencer and the rest of the cast of “The Hills” – with the exception of Britney, none of these people are really celebrities. They are famous for nothing. They need to get over themselves and go away! I am also sick of Megan Fox.

People who need more press…I’m a fan of these bands: Cowboy Mouth and Better Than Ezra, both from New Orleans; Nashville-based Will Hoge, rock/classic rock/blues band

What would you like viewers to know or understand better about you?

I love making people laugh. I always have!

I am truly just a celeb gossip watcher just like anyone else out there. I may have interviewed a lot of famous people, but I am just a regular person who likes to speculate about the latest breakup or hookup. I try to say things that I know all of us are thinking, but may be too afraid to say.

I also really take suggestions from our readers seriously. We did a poll at the beginning of the year and Britney was voted the celeb no one wants to hear about this year. I am staying true to that by not talking about her on the Entertainment wrap-up.

You’re always smiling and have such an upbeat, positive attitude. Where does it come from and how do you maintain it?

My personality – hmm, I am happy because I enjoy what I do for a living. I have also followed the belief that laughter is the best medicine. Whenever I feel like getting down, I try to think of something funny or do something to make someone else laugh. It usually does the trick.

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