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Kathy Griffin is ready to return to the spotlight after making her first major television appearance since her controversial photograph that featured a mock-severed head of President Donald Trump. Visiting HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher on Friday night, the comedian discussed her life post-photo scandal and announced that she is officially making her U.S. comeback.
“I’m dipping my toes into touring again, even though the Trumps and nobody wants me to work again,” Griffin told Maher, then announced that she has booked two comedy shows in the U.S., her first in the country since the scandal. The first is set for Carnegie Hall in New York, with the other one at the Kennedy Center in Washington, which Griffin joked was right in “Trump’s backyard.”
Though excited to perform her first shows, Griffin acknowledged the journey has been difficult, failing to receive much support from the public. “Thank you for being one of the first and only people to publicly support me and say what happened is bullshit, publicly,” Griffin was quick to say to Maher, who has been vocal about his support for the fellow comedian.
Griffin sparked controversy last year after a photograph of her holding a fake, decapitated Donald Trump head circulated online. After the photo went viral, she immediately received death threats from Trump supporters, criticism from the media and Hollywood and was threatened to be charged with conspiracy to assassinate the president. Griffin was also fired by CNN, where she hosted its annual New Year’s Eve broadcast alongside Anderson Cooper for a decade.
“You took a very bad selfie. I blame the photographer. … It turned out to be very wacky,” Maher said of the incident, further arguing that the country appears to go “bat-shit nuts about everything” in today’s climate.
Finding it difficult to book any jobs in the U.S. post-scandal, Griffin embarked on an international comedy tour of 23 countries and 15 cities, where she revealed the extent of her scandal. “I was detained at every single airport,” she admitted to Maher. “They scan your passport. They put me in a detention room. … There were times when they took my devices. When you’re in that moment, you’re at the mercy of the one or two people in that room.”
Griffin also admitted to being on the Interpol list for international criminals, with Maher quipping, “You were on the D-list. Now you’re on the no-fly list.”
Though expressing that she would reconsider taking the photograph if she could turn back time, Griffin jabbed that she would now pose with a decapitated Mike Pence instead. “Just kidding! Ten months I waited to do that joke. Ten months!”
CNN’s Ana Navarro, conservative blogger Erick Erickson, New York Times staff editor Bari Weiss and stand-up comedian Trae Crowder also made appearances on Friday night’s episode of Real Time.
The following week, Griffin officially announced the North American continuation of her Laugh Your Head Off world tour, with shows in the United States, Canada and Mexico. “Armed with the story of the now infamous and controversial photo (yes…THAT photo), the fiery redheaded, award-winning, American comedian is bringing the story of the photo heard ‘round the world and the fallout that followed, along with breaking down everything in the pop-culture landscape from Trump to the Kardashians,” read the release. “Griffin tells all in this more than 2-hour no-holds-barred show in the raw, honest, and engaging way fans have always loved about her.”
Griffin added in the announcement: “Donald Trump will not survive the live and hilarious indictment I will be bringing down on his orange head. Did I say head?”
The tour kicks off in Toronto on May 25 and concludes at NYC’s Carnegie Hall on June 26. See the list of dates here.
March 13, 8:15 a.m. Updated with Griffin tour dates.
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