De­fi­ant Kathy Grif­fin back on tour

USA TODAY International Edition - - LIFE - Pa­trick Ryan

You thought a lit­tle back­lash was go­ing to shut up Kathy Grif­fin?

The abra­sive co­me­dian is back and louder than ever, just a year af­ter post­ing a graphic photo of her­self on Twit­ter hold­ing a fake de­cap­i­tated head re­sem­bling Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. The in­ci­dent, and an en­su­ing up­roar, serves as the in­spi­ra­tion for her 23-show Laugh Your Head Off com­edy tour, which kicks off Thurs­day in San Fran­cisco.

The ir­rev­er­ent new ma­te­rial mines her tu­mul­tuous past year as she weath­ered the fall­out from her blood­ied Trump head, a Hal­loween mask doused in ketchup. She was fired from CNN’s an­nual New Year’s Eve tele­cast, dropped as a Squatty Potty spokes­woman and risked fac­ing charges of con­spir­acy to as­sas­si­nate the pres­i­dent.

De­spite Grif­fin’s tearful apol­ogy and dis­as­trous news con­fer­ence last sum­mer, she now says she’s no longer sorry for the grisly im­age. In fact, she be­lieves more peo­ple would have sup­ported her had she shared it to­day.

“Ev­ery day that passes, more peo­ple re­al­ize not only was my photo lit­er­ally harm­less but com­pletely le­gal,” Grif­fin says. “The nice thing is that, af­ter a year, sev­eral folks who were afraid to sup­port me are (do­ing so) now, and that ob­vi­ously sig­ni­fies a real sea change. I have peo­ple like Mark Hamill tweet­ing, ‘Go see Kathy Grif­fin.’ I barely know Mark Hamill – I only met him one time. That’s a big deal for me.”

A year away from it all

Grif­fin, 57, says she’s “hum­bled and grate­ful” to be back on the road, where she’ll take au­di­ence mem­bers inside her year of self-im­posed ex­ile. Over the course of her more than 2-hour set, she’ll talk about her time on a no-fly list while un­der fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the gram­mat­i­cally chal­lenged death threats she has re­ceived. She’ll also re­count sto­ries about her own run-ins with Trump through the years, one of which, she prom­ises, “is worth the price of ad­mis­sion alone.”

“More peo­ple re­al­ize not only was my photo lit­er­ally harm­less but com­pletely le­gal.”

Kathy Grif­fin

On her bloody Trump tweet

If the tour’s ti­tle and her out­spo­ken lib­eral pol­i­tics didn’t give it away, Grif­fin wants to make you cringe-laugh with

jabs at the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, its poli­cies and the first fam­ily. (She calls Don­ald Jr. and Eric Trump “Ed­die Munster and Date Rape.”) While she doesn’t want the show to feel like a “lecture se­ries,” it’s also not for peo­ple look­ing for easy laughs.

I’m not go­ing to walk away

“I do feel like this is such an anx­i­etyrid­den time for ev­ery­one that there is a thirst for all kinds of com­edy,” Grif­fin says. “And look, if you want to not hear about Trump at all, go see Kevin Hart. He doesn’t even men­tion Trump. I per­son­ally think that’s a (ex­ple­tive) move be­cause he’s a black man. But I guess he’s sell­ing more tick­ets than I ever will.”

The flame-haired co­me­dian, whose Emmy-win­ning re­al­ity show “Kathy Grif­fin: My Life on the D-list” ran for six sea­sons on Bravo, has not an­nounced any fol­low-up projects. “I wish I had an­other se­ries,” Grif­fin says. “TV is re­ally my main job: It made me be able to live in the house I live in, and I love do­ing it.”

But for now, she’s em­brac­ing her new role as a po­lit­i­cal fire­brand.

“One of the things that’s great about be­ing a co­me­dian is you re­ally do get to be a whis­tle-blower. I like to do it through com­edy. Peo­ple love to hear these sto­ries, so I’m not go­ing to walk away from it. I have a hell of a story to tell.”

CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP

Ir­rev­er­ent co­me­dian Kathy Grif­fin is em­bark­ing on the U.S. leg of her po­lit­i­cally charged Laugh Your Head Off tour.

AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

A tearful Grif­fin apol­o­gized for her grisly Trump im­age in 2017, but is louder than ever now.

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