Kathy Griffin has won two Emmy’s, one Grammy, is a New York Times best-selling author, and is a Guinness World Record–holder for “most stand-up specials by a comedian.” In 1996 she had her first major TV role in Brooke Shields’s sitcom, Suddenly Susan. After that she had a string of hour-long comedy specials on Bravo and her own reality show, and still one of my favorite shows, My Life on the D-List. Since that show ended she has done a lot more stand up specials, many tours, hosted E!’s Fashion Police (replacing her friend Joan Rivers), hosted a talk show and much more.
She was more popular than ever, when the infamous mask incident happened. The image triggered a rare instance of bipartisan agreement of disgust and disapproval. Due to this, her tour was cancelled, she was fired from CNN’s New Year’s Eve special, which she co-hosted for 10 years, and many friends abandoned her. She was also put on the no fly list, the inter pole list (still on), is detained at every airport, had to deal with death threats to herself, her mother and her family, and was forced to go overseas to make a living.
Finally, last June, she brought her Laugh Your Head Off Tour (you can see by the name she is not hiding from the incident) to North America. The tour sold out New York City’s Carnegie Hall in one day, and is about to come to the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, September 12.
Why did now feel like the right time to tour again in the States, where you’re still receiving death threats?
You know, I talked to other people who’d been in scandals, trying to negotiate how much time I would need. I’m trying to explain what happened to me in such a way that people can put themselves in my shoes and say, “You know, she might be annoying, but this is not right. I don’t think I’d like it if this happened to my mom, or my aunt, or my sister, or my cousin or my kid. Having lived through it, I feel I’m on a comedy mission to tell people that we need to talk about this.
After I kick the bucket, I want some baby gay or young female comedian or young person of color who has a dream to say, This bitch did it at 57!
Are you feeling redeemed?
I am performing for thousands of people in places I was told I would never work again. The accidental president said “Kathy Griffin will go down.” Well I am up and flourishing. Heck I was the only standup comic at the White House correspondence dinner. I was invited by the Washington Blade and I got into fights with at least four cabinet members! They also said I would never play Miami again and I am selling out the Arsht Center, how great is that?!
Also, one of the reasons this tour is important is that it’s allowing me to go city to city and tell people they can hate the picture all they want. I have no problem with that. But I want everyone to know that if your 13-year-old kid takes that same picture and puts it on Twitter, he or she shouldn’t be put under a two-month federal investigation.
At one point you were accused of being in ISIS, did that affect you?
That’s so ridiculous…I can’t be in ISIS; they don’t even have gay bars there!
Many comedians have criticized Trump, and some have been faulted for not, do you hold any bitterness toward comics who have played it safe?
I think comics who don’t talk about Trump are bullshit. I really think it’s the responsibility of a comedian to push the envelope.
Why do you think you deserve the support of celebrities when so much of your success has been based on mocking them?
Because those same celebrities know that when the chips are down—and when they have been down—I am absolutely there for them. It was painful when certain people I was happy to take calls from during bad times didn’t feel the same way. And it was harder when I would reach out and say, “I need you,” and some people were just not having it. Most people avoided me.
Who is your least favorite and most favorite celebrity?
Least favorite is Andy Cohen; most favorite Kellyanne Conway’s husband.
Do you regret anything from the last year?
My only regret is that I went live and apologized. I take it back!
What should we expect from your Laugh Your Head Off Tour?
This tour is about playing the great halls…that’s why I am playing the Arsht Center. I will have lots of all new material from the most corrupt administration in history! I want the community to know Jefferson Beauregard Session is deteriorating LGBT rights day in and day out. We need to be concerned about Kavanaugh, and Oberfield…..Florida watch your back…how are they going to gerrymander the polls this time?
I also might have to throw in a moment of Oprah or Ryan Seacrest. The show is still ever changing, but I will still be talking about being on the news every 3 seconds .Out of the blue, Sarah Huckebee started taking about me again….and tried to tie me in with Samantha B, and Roseanne (who is a Nazi now). I am so bitter that ABC gave her a multi-million dollar comedy show and not me!
What’s ahead for Kathy?
New Year’s Eve live with Kathy and Stormy….Wouldn’t that be AMAZING? LOL!! There are also multiple things going on at team Griffin…..all pro gays!
Also, one of my dreams is, as a lot of comedians have done, a seminal film role. I’m definitely still hopeful. But do you know what my real dream is? I would love to do a speaking tour.
To purchase tickets for Kathy’s Laugh Your Head Off Tour at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, go to: ArshtCenter.org.