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Acerbic comedian Kathy Griffin had a brutal 2017, and that’s putting it mildly.
From the colossal fallout of her Donald Trump “beheading” photo — which ultimately lost her work, including her annual New Year’s Eve co-hosting gig on CNN — to the death of her sister from cancer, it’s been a hard, long road for the outspoken funnywoman.
But as anyone familiar with her would expect, Griffin isn’t taking any of it lying down. Nor is she backing down. She’s launching the North American leg of her “Laugh Your Head Off” (get it?) worldwide tour in Ottawa on May 23, and tickets are nearly sold out across the board.
“Donald Trump will not survive the live and hilarious indictment I will be bringing down on his orange head,” she joked. “Did I say head?”
Indeed, Griffin, 57, is promising the goods on her tour. (Don’t bring your kids, she warned.)
“To all of you in North America who have been sending so much love and support, now’s your chance to show it. Buy a ticket for one of these tour stops and I promise you won’t be disappointed,” she said in a press release for the tour. “You’re gonna get the whole story. We will talk about the photo that sparked a conversation around the world, how my mom Maggie still watches Fox News and thinks I might be in ISIS, and hell, I’ll even walk you through my interrogation by the feds.”
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“I’m going to stand on those stages and I’m going to f**king tell everything. I’m not going to hold back one bit.”
Global News spoke with a clearly excited Griffin in Los Angeles over the phone and she was flying high, especially at the prospect of returning to Canada to start off the tour leg. It was tough to get a word in edgewise, and excluding a one-minute interval, Griffin spoke at a breakneck pace the entire time.
“I’m going to be the darling of Canada,” she said, followed by her trademark guffaw. “I’m selling out all over your wonderful country, and I want you to know, during this entire motherf**king ordeal, more than another country, I was hearing from Canadians.”
In fact, Canadian comedian Jim Carrey, who started his career in stand-up, phoned Griffin to support her when the beheading photo fallout was at its worst.
“He called me, and I can’t sing his praises enough,” she said. “He goes, ‘Kathy, you’re the most famous comedian in the world today. Use it. Lean into this photo. Do you know how many comedians would give their right arm for this material? Nobody else has this material!'”
She claimed that Carrey “helped translate trauma into material,” as she put it, and she realized this tour had to happen. So far, Griffin has already performed overseas in 15 countries and 23 cities for this tour. At the beginning, she said, her shows were averaging around two hours in length, but by the end of the international leg they were hitting the three-hour mark.
“Get ready, Canadians! Bring your colostomy bag or take some bathroom breaks. We’re going to go on a journey,” she laughed.
The demand for her shows has been so great, she’s even had to change venues. For example, Griffin’s Toronto appearance had to be moved from a smaller venue to Massey Hall, which seats just over 2,700 people. She claimed that she even sold out New York City’s legendary Carnegie Hall in 24 hours.
Often woefully underrated, Griffin’s comedic work is nothing to scoff at; she’s completed half of an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), winning an Emmy in 2007 for Outstanding Reality Program for My Life on the D-List, and a Grammy in 2014 for Best Comedy Album, Calm Down Gurrl. She’s also featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for performing more televised stand-up specials than any other comedian, living or dead, male or female.
Now, with so much material, Griffin is literally bursting with stories to tell, many of them about Trump.
“We have a psycho in the White House,” she said. “You know I know Trump, right? I’ve known this idiot off and on for 20 years. I get to tell the story about how this idiot accidentally stole the election, and accidentally became the worst president in history, and then targeted me personally.”
“I know this fool, and for years, nobody gave a s**t,” she continued. “Now I have these stories that are … ‘golden.’ I tell this story about how he’s so gross … when I took a picture with him, I could feel his ‘gunt’ over his belt. Everything about him is disgusting.”
She also proudly claimed to be a first in American history: “Never in the history of our flawed but wonderful country has a sitting president targeted an American citizen and decided to use the Oval Office, his family, the Fox News machine, TMZ … and have a coordinated attack to decimate a comedian.”
Indeed, after Griffin’s “beheading” photo made the news, Trump called Griffin “sick” and said she should be “ashamed of herself.”
Donald Trump Jr. joined in the fight, supporting his father and saying Griffin’s behaviour was “disgusting but not surprising.” Ultimately, she was banned for life from appearing on CNN and received much backlash from other celebs. Even her NYE co-host, Anderson Cooper, said the picture was “disgusting and completely inappropriate.”
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One of the things Griffin loves most about Canada — aside from our gun control laws and our health care — is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and she can’t understand how any Canadian has a problem with his behaviour on the world stage.
When she saw the backlash about Trudeau’s recent trip to India, she was aghast at the negative things being said of the PM. She reminded Canadians to take it easy on Trudeau, and then, of course, compared him to Trump and the state of the U.S. at the moment.
“My jaw is just dropped that you’re so hung up on a couple dancing outfits,” she said. “We have a president who cannot construct a sentence. We have a president who, I’m pretty sure, is developing dementia. We have a president who believes in insane conspiracy theories. Also, we have a portion of the country … larger than I’d like to admit … that believes Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring in the back of a pizza parlour, and some fool went to shoot it up. I mean, holy crap!”
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“You know what, that is some bulls**t!” she continued. “You come to America, and you’ll be begging for him to be in inappropriate costumes from around the world. You’ll be begging. If he was our president, I wouldn’t care if he wore a f**king bunny outfit. I would be so grateful to have a sane person in the White House. You’re lucky. Just stay there.”
During her shows, Griffin will most likely reference the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, two things she said she’s been waiting for her whole life, especially considering her place as a woman in the male-dominated industry of comedy.
She donated $2,500 to porn star Stormy Daniels’ defence fund, and sent her a tweet of encouragement, saying, “I know what it’s like to go up against the Trump machine … and I want to do my part.”
Fellow comedian, actor and pal Rosie O’Donnell (who’s also a longtime Trump rival) matched Griffin’s contribution to Daniels’ fund.
“At the time when women are given hope, we have a president who’s like the assaulter-in-chief,” quipped Griffin about the movements.
At the very least, Griffin’s tour has been about finding herself, and realizing that, despite hitting a career nadir in 2017, she has a gigantic fandom and legions of people willing to support her through anything. So far, 2018 has been her phoenix year. She’s even received an invite to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 28.
“I know I sound like a braggadocious a**hole, but it’s been almost a year of being tormented, tortured, investigated,” she said, for the first time letting frustration leak into her voice. “And hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend myself against f**king nothing. The idea that I had to undergo a full federal investigation and cooperate fully … our own accidental president is acting like he doesn’t have to. I want to go to the White House right now and go, ‘Bitch, if I had to do it, so do you!'”
Of course, not everybody is behind Griffin, but it’s nothing new, she attests. She said people are still sending Bibles to her house to try and “save” her, and she gets plenty of hate mail. But as with everything else over the past year, Griffin lets it roll off her back.
“I just found out yesterday I’m on something called a ‘kill list,’ but that’s a whole other thing,” she said with a laugh.
The North American leg of Griffin’s 2018 world tour starts on May 23 in Ottawa. Her other Canadian stops are in Toronto (May 25), Kitchener (May 26), Calgary (May 31) and Vancouver (June 2).Follow @CJancelewicz
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