Kathy Griffin exposes everyone in “Laugh Your Head Off” tour

Kathy Griffin in 2017 before the Trump incident
Kathy Griffin in 2017 before the Trump incident
Griffin’s career immediately came to a halt last year

In May of 2017 satire became surreal for iconic comedian Kathy Griffin. TMZ, who received the picture prior to its release, posted the now infamous photograph of Griffin holding a faux Donald Trump head covered in fake blood. Despite having garnered a reputation within the world of entertainment, with no one ever free from her truth cannon, and despite going on to acquire multiple New York Times Best Selling books, multiple Emmy awards and a Grammy; Griffin’s career immediately came to a halt seemingly overnight.

In a move which they had never done before, TMZ began reporting Griffin’s tour cancellations in real time. Th cancellations Griffin came to find were largely due to robo calls to every venue citing the same explicate death threat if Griffin were to appear. Along with the loss of tour dates also came the loss of gigs. This included the CNN New Year’s Eve Live broadcast and endorsement deals, ala Squatty Potty. Fast forward to a year later, and Griffin is back touring the United States with sold-out shows throughout on the second leg of her Laugh Your Head Off Tour,. The tour began internationally performing in 15 countries and 23 cities overseas.

Kathy Griffin is back and stronger for it
Kathy Griffin in 2018 on the "Laugh Your Head Off Tour"
Kathy Griffin in 2018 on the “Laugh Your Head Off Tour”

A single photograph ended up placing Kathy Griffin in a seemingly retaliatory two-month federal investigation by both the Secret Service and Department of Justice. They even at one point were demanding a perp walk. She was added to the Interpol No-Fly List, which Griffin delves into head-first in the new tour. She ultimately came out on the other side as the winner. Performing a three-hour show at Radio City Music Hall. It was her first time performing at the historic venue. She wore the same navy pussy-bow blouse she sported in the infamous photograph of which President Trump said she would never work again. Griffin may be back on her A-game stronger than she’s ever been before.

Griffin’s Laugh Your Head Off Tour commences with a well-crafted video that depicts many of Griffin’s accolades and funniest moments. It runs along with various headlines during the height of the Trump controversy. As Griffin makes her way on to the stage she is welcomed by a roaring standing ovation. It is noticeably longer than any recent comedy performance I have covered for Out In Jersey.

Griffin does get choked up when referencing death threats

Griffin has made a career poking fun at predominantly less-threatening characters (Sarah Palin, Harry Styles, Lindsay Lohan) and proves just as skilled when taking on much more polarizing figures. She goes after ‘Feckless’ Melania ‘Melanie’ Trump, Sarah ‘Fuckabee’ Sanders, Eric ‘Eddie Munster’ Trump for instance. Griffin’s ability to openly discuss such brutal experiences with such hilarity solidifies her as this generation’s Joan Rivers. It is a feat many female comics have long strived for. The only time Griffin ever gets choked up is when referencing death threats her late sister Joyce, who passed away on September 14, 2017, received up until the day she died. Sadly, her 98 year-old mother also received deaths threats in her retirement community. And many of the death threats  Griffin received directly wished for the death of her sister, prior to her passing due to complications from lymphoma.

Nevertheless, Kathy Griffin proves that she is in fact the “Mayor of Zero Fucksville.” She reads aloud several of the countless death threats she received from MAGA-supporters. More than one-third of the threats she was mailed actually contained return addresses. It made it easy for the FBI. Griffin also reads a very disconcerting letter she was mailed from Billy Bush, who received a $9 million-dollar payout from NBC after audio of his misogynistic conversation with President Trump came to light.

For Griffin there is no payout — yet
Kathy Griffin in 2017
Kathy Griffin in 2017

For Griffin, however, there was no payout. In fact, throughout the night she makes light of the Times Up movement, noting why she advocates for the Time Is Not Up Yet movement in her tea-spilling monologue. Not only did Griffin not receive a payout when CNN declared she was banned-for-life from their network, when she asked for a raise during her eighth year of hosting New Year’s Eve Live, she was fired by Jeff Zucker for asking him directly. Griffin not only had to beg for her job back, in which Zucker reduced her pay by 30% despite the show expanding from 90 minutes to 4.5 hours in length, but ultimately Zucker also advised Griffin that she could only do one Trump joke per hour during the latter years of her hosting.

Throughout the evening Griffin goes back and forth from discussing entertainment-related figures and topics to those of politics. It is a very clever move on her part which other comics could afford to take note of. The evening never once became too dark or too fluff. Although many of Griffin’s long-time friends severed all ties with her, and refused to acknowledge their friendship, when her reputation was at an all-time low, she did find support in celebrities who fans would least expect. They included, urban comic and actor Katt Williams, who warned her of the aforementioned betrayal. Jim Carrey provided Griffin with positive reassurance, emphasizing that every comic “would kill for this experience because of the story there is to tell when you have the worst president in history going after you.”

What about former friends Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen?

Karma is a dish best served cold. The New York crowd consisted almost solely of gay men and women.  They cheered with long-standing applause when Griffin roasts former besties Anderson “Vanderbilt” Cooper, and Andy Cohen. Griffin reads aloud Cooper’s sellout tweet, She notes that Cooper never reached out to her after the infamous Trump photo hit the web. “For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.” The audience booed when the treatment of Griffin was discussed. And they cheered in unison when she said, “Rule 101. Never turn on your fag hag.”

As for Cohen, “I was good for Cohen up until he wanted my job and removed me from the network. What type of executive gives himself his own show which magically gets renewed year after year!?” The sheer irony of the aforesaid? Cohen prides himself on being a [transplant] New Yorker, yet as the night went on, it was clear from the audience’s reactions to Griffin’s liners that Cohen has fallen short with his own LGBT tribe. They loved when Griffin cites him as a “knockoff” gay.

Griffin now appreciates Kim Kardashian

Interestingly, the only time in the night when the audience became cautiously receptive was when Griffin let it be known that she… now appreciates Kim Kardashian. However, once Griffin went in on husband Kanye West. The audience seemed to appreciate it, and breathed a proverbial sigh of relief. After having already initiated the process of buying her beloved $10.5 million-dollar Hollywood Hills home in cash, Griffin discovered that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were her neighbors. Griffin did not know what to expect. “After ten years of calling the family dirty whores,” she said. But, she came to an epiphany at one point. “As long as you are not trying to kill me, we are cool.”

Surprisingly, the Kardashians embraced her following her backlash. During a dinner at her home with Kris Jenner and Melanie Griffith, Kris advised her to “just apologize. We do it all the time when we copy trademarks.” Whereas Melanie acted like the devil on Griffin’s shoulder suggesting she go even further. Griffin also spills the exclusive tea that Kylie Jenner is, shockingly, the richest in the family due to the unexpected success and growth of her cosmetics line. Kylie has surpassed her sisters’ endeavors, making Kylie the sole billionaire in the family, according to Griffin. As for Kanye, who has made recent headlines for his devout support of President Trump, Griffin cites him as “thinking he is fucking Pablo Picaso.” He has an actual desire to be referred to as “Pablo.” Although typically a quiet neighbor, there was one evening which made Griffin go, “what the fuck.” Next-door-neighbor Kanye was “having a breakdown and screaming outside in the backyard for a solid ten minutes. Guess who playing in the background… fucking Enya!”

Griffin appreciated comic Michelle Wolf at the White House correspondents dinner

During the last hour of the show, Griffin discusses her experience being invited to and attending the 2018 White House correspondents’ dinner. It was a hilarity in and of itself. This was Griffin’s first White House correspondents’ dinner and first public appearance event in the U.S. since the infamous photograph one-year prior. This was also the second year in a row President Trump declined to attend the dinner. It is the second year celebrities avoided the annual event like the plague. Griffin did push the limit as far as she could at the dinner with every opponent she came in contact with. She showed the middle finger to Jason Miller, former Trump spokesman. She asked Hogan Gidley, deputy press secretary, how she sleeps at night. And she said she was one of a dozen in a room of thousands to give a standing ovation to fellow comic Michelle Wolf. Griffin continued to serve Karma to everyone she came in contact with, detailing how she spent an hour outside the men’s bathroom during a hysterical bit.

After discussing the White House correspondents’ dinner fiasco, Kathy Griffin ends her show on a high, recalling how she shocked Kim Kardashian when she casually invited her over one afternoon after having already became acquainted with momager Kris. Initially, Kim actually did not believe Griffin was serious. Years ago, the late Joan Rivers gifted Griffin a sign-in book which she instructed her to only have celebrity guests sign when they visit. Griffin explained the purpose of the book and heedfully asked Kim Kardashian to sign as she waited in the next room wondering what was taking so long. She discovered that Kim was upset because she had spelled her own name wrong.

Griffin ended her debut performance at Radio City Music Hall with the entire audience standing and providing a long-lasting applause, even after she exited the stage. Despite having experienced some very emotionally and psychologically scarring experiences, Griffin comes out of this vindicated, and undoubtedly at her best yet. She offered stellar material. What President Trump, his administration, MAGA-supporters and the sellout sector of the media did one year ago was meant to break and forever silence everything that is Kathy Griffin. Instead, Griffin walks away all but unscathed.

In fact, Griffin exudes an undeniable level of gratitude and perseverance unlike any other performer. She welcomes her audiences on a personal level and solidifies her status as the Queen of Comedy. Scoreboard: Griffin 1, Trump 0.

Kathy Griffin will continue to tour the country on the Laugh Your Head Off Tour. The next local stop is Philadelphia on October 6, 2018 at 8pm at the Merriam Theatre at Kimmel Center. Tickets are available on KathyGriffin.com or Ticketmaster.