Kathy Griffin: The comeback kid

Comedian Kathy Griffin
Comedian Kathy Griffin is the comeback kid.

She has garnered Emmy awards and a Grammy. Yet, in recent years, the focus has been on Kathy Griffin’s outspoken opinions rather than her comedy. She is back and unfiltered as ever. With the Trump drama behind her (for the most part, Griffin has resumed spilling celebrity tea and serving humor we could all relate to. After all, in 2024, who isn’t suffering from PTSD?

The infamous Kathy Griffin! We haven’t spoken since 2018. Where do we even begin!?

Kathy Griffin: Honey, I have not done a lot of shit since 2018, like work. W-E-R-Q. Caps, all caps. It has been a shitfest!

We have to discuss everything from then to now. But first off and most important, how is your health?

KG: You are so nice for asking. I am officially cancer-free. I just had another surgery on my paralyzed left vocal cord, which is permanently paralyzed from when they took out half my lung from lung cancer, even though I never smoked. What about that? I have half a fucking lung. While everyone else in Hollywood is on Ozempic, I have half an organ taken out. Do you think it’ll make me look thinner?

Well, in that case… maybe it was worth it? You publicly announced your diagnosis in August 2021 but do you know how your cancer actually came about? Is lung cancer hereditary?

KG: I am 63. The surgeon asked if I was exposed to radon. I was exposed to everything! We used to have the DDT truck, and my dearly departed mother, Maggie, who is still in purgatory, would literally yell “Kids, the DDT truck is coming” to which we would dance around it. What kind of 1960s crazy bullshit is that? I honestly don’t know how I got it. I never smoked. Maybe I got it from my early days in the club? I use my voice for a living, so leave it to me to get injured during the surgery where they take out half a lung. Although, I am not above playing the cancer card… If I can’t get a table at Nobu I will tell them the cancer came back [laughs]. Judge me all you want, I’ve been judged by the Department of Justice, I can handle you, Will!

I still can’t believe everything you endured in 2017, how much it affected your career, and how intricately you were under a microscope by the government. Are you still traumatized by your experience?

KG: It was so surreal. To this day I can’t believe people lost their shit over the infamous faux beheaded photo of the former president like they did, and by people, I mean the former administration, attorney general, and Department of Justice. The great Jane Fonda told me it will be on my tombstone, and she is right, so I just accept it. However, can you guess how much I enjoyed Donald J. Trump getting hit with that $83.3 million judgment?

I am sure you were celebrating. How much are you intertwined in the Trump web?

Comedian Kathy Griffin
Comedian Kathy Griffin on stage.

KG: I am on a daily text chain with Stormy Daniels, Mary Trump, and E. Jean Carroll. The government better not subpoena those text messages because we are going to hell in a handbasket. I just love those girls so much. They are so strong, inspirational, and smart. They know what it is like to take on the fucking beast. Now with this aside, I am just so happy to be going back to Count Basie Center in Red Bank.

You are embarking on a huge tour appropriately titled “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the PTSD-List.” The tour kicked off in February and continues through June. What can we expect at Count Basie and elsewhere?

KG: I sprinkle in a nice chunk of celebrity material, such as the crazy antics of Kanye West and my vacation fiascos with Sia. However, as of now, I don’t even mention Trump in the new show. I did that with the last tour and made the movie A Hell of a Story. Today I am trying to move on, make fun of my whole life, and all of the crazy shit we are all collectively doing. I will be adjusting the show by the day. I don’t understand these comics who write a show, memorize it, and perform it for two years straight everywhere. That is not why I do this.

I am so excited you are back. I have been a fan of yours since I was a very young kid, middle school actually. My parents were avid viewers of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, which I probably should not have been watching at that age, but it made me a longtime fan.

KG: Awww! I love hearing this. Reality television was real back then. It was not like the Real Housewives of today. They just followed me around for six months out of the year hoping I would pull some funny shit.

My favorite episodes were when you visited Iraq, and you know there had to be a ton of closet cases there…

KG: Actually, they tried to kill me on that show. “What should you do this season, why don’t you go to a war zone, how about Iraq?” And so, we did, and you know I found my gays in Iraq. I briefly discussed this on one of my specials. I heard the gay gasp followed by, “Diva what are you doing here?” I had some of my best times there. It would just be me and ten queers shooting the shit and laughing. That experience made me realize how hard it is for gays in the military.

Comedian Kathy Griffin
Comedian Kathy Griffin

I agree. Although it is acceptable in 2024, you just know there is a lot of underlying trepidation, because it is the culture.

KG: And let me tell you my friend, I am worried about LGBT rights in general, because these politicians are not playing around. They are rolling the clock back, and the way they are so obsessed with drag brunches, what fucking year is this? It is the same way they obsessed about my picture and are still obsessed with me today. I always warn the venues I perform at to not post me because someone on Facebook is going to advocate for my death. Artists and comedians should just plug their tours on Instagram and flat-out ignore Facebook.

You are also apparently a blood-drinking adrenochrome enthusiast who has visited “Epstein Island.” Which, much like the infamous photo, is the reason to hate you today. Can you finally address this conspiracy theory that has been sweeping the web?

KG: If I try to do a TikTok live, it is overrun with MAGA people, who have now turned into Q-Anon people, who both together believe I went to Epstein Island with Hillary Clinton and molested children.

I am so glad you are addressing this. When I read the list of names on social media, there were some who I feel definitely went there, but then I see your name and go “what the fuck.” It stands out because it doesn’t make sense. Are you surprised this received so much traction?

KG: When people think the list is real I ask them to look at it again. What do we all have in common? It is not that we molest children, it is that we are all Democrats. Do you think these people ever have moments where they question if this is far-fetched? I personally think a third of the voting population in this country have lost their minds. They thought I was a member of ISIS, now an Epstein girl. People are going in so deep. I think it is a combination of Covid-19 and isolation.

I agree. The Covid-19 pandemic caused a lot of people to go off the deep end and it makes sense when you think about it. Your average person was isolated, and health wise, people are not meant to have such an extended period of isolation. People were dealing with their regular personal and professional worries now suddenly coupled with managing the possible end of the world and losing those around them.

KG: This is why I named the tour My Life on the PTSD-List. I was legitimately diagnosed with PTSD after the 2017 Trump outrage, my prescription pill addiction which I am in recovery for, and my lung cancer. Yet I also have to mock it because I once thought only combat veterans got PTSD. I am doing all kinds of crazy things to just keep my head above water, which I discuss on stage. If you were to walk into my house at any moment you may see me meowing like a cat or mooing like a cow. I get acupuncture and cupping, I don’t know if it will do a damn thing, but I will try it all. I had ten months where I had a ton of panic attacks and could not stop vomiting. Thus, I have a team of professionals trying to put me back together. I am like the broken Barbie.

It sounds like you are back to your roots and leaving the DJT drama behind. Moreover, a lot of people can relate to your experience, because these past several years have been a doozy. It is not just our regular worries, it is also the state of the world that has us fucked up.

KG: Seriously! Let’s talk about it, laugh about it, and feel better about ourselves. Who the fuck goes into recovery at 59 years old? Talk about a late bloomer. Half the time I am in an AA meeting, I am laughing at myself. But it seriously did happen. After the Trump thing, I was popping pills worried what would happen next. I ended up on a 5150 psych hold like a combo of Kanye West and Britney Spears. There I was, just like someone from my act, on a psych hold for three days. Then, I celebrated my sobriety, only to get diagnosed with cancer a week later. I do a 90-minute walk daily for my physical and mental health in which I win every argument in my head.

You just gotta laugh at it.


Will Loschiavo
Will Loschiavo is Out In Jersey‘s entertainment editor. He has worked for Top 40 radio stations in New York and New Jersey, written for various publications, and currently works media tech operations for NBC. Will is the host of the Will Love Listen podcast available on iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple, and Google. Follow on Instagram: @WillLoveInc.