Update: Kathy Griffin's Arsht Center appearance has been rescheduled for 8 p.m. Sept. 22. The show was originally set to take place Sept. 12, but was postponed "due to unforeseen circumstances beyond Ms. Griffin’s control," a statement from the Arsht Center reads.
Kathy Griffin marvels at fans’ support after the worst time in her life.
“It is the most meaningful thing in the world, because it gives me hope,” says the comedian, 57, who made headlines last year after she posed with a fake bloody head of Donald Trump. “Thank God for standup. Because you can’t stop people from buying tickets. It’s amazing. I’m selling better than I have in 10 years”
On Sept. 12, Griffin will bring her Laugh Your Head Off World Tour to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. “I throw in a lot of good stories,” Griffin says. “I got a lot of Kardashian stuff. I got a great Stevie Nicks story. It’s not all Trump.”
But Donald Trump is the main topic, because Griffin’s career went into a tailspin after the photo furor in May 2017.
“Everyone turned on me — left, right and center, friends, representatives, agents,” Griffin says. “I don’t have a publicist to this day.”
She lost work and received death threats. She was placed on a no-fly list for two months and put under federal investigation. She initially apologized, then took it back. She sees her tour as a story of the First Amendment, which covers that photo.
“You can be as offended by it as you want, but they really were perpetuating the argument that I had broken the law,” Griffin says.
“They” are Trump, his family and his administration — all targets in her act.
“I’m not trying to win over any Trumpers,” Griffin says. “And please, Trumpers, do not come to this show, ’cause you will not like it. But there’s a ton of people who just want to laugh and blow off steam. With all the crazy stuff, let’s face it: Every single day, we all wake up and go, ‘Oh, God, what’s going to happen when I turn on the TV? What’s going to happen when I go online?’ ”
Griffin starts the show with a clip package that recounts her ordeal. “The audience now cheers at the ketchupy mask photo,” she says. “Now, the minute I walk out onstage, they’re on their feet. I feel like they’re saying, ‘I’m on my feet because this crazy old bird did not lay down. They tried to knock her down, and they’re still trying.’ ”
Griffin says she was put into the “Trump wood chipper” as a frequent topic on conservative outlets Fox News Channel, Breitbart and Infowars.
Now, she’s on a mission because she doesn’t want what happened to her to happen to another comedian. She cites the outrage directed at comedian Michelle Wolf, who played the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and “Full Frontal” host Samantha Bee. Trump said Bee should be fired for calling first daughter Ivanka Trump a name.
“When the president tried to do it to Samantha Bee, I started an online campaign,” Griffin says. “The president shouldn’t be deciding whether or not you want to watch ‘Full Frontal.’ That’s up to you.”
Griffin shares Trump stories from when they both worked for NBCUniversal and she appeared on “The Apprentice.” “He was such a fame whore. That’s the Donald Trump I know. The idea that he doesn’t like Hollywood is a joke,” she says. “I have the cred to back it up. I know him. He hired me to roast him on two separate occasions. I had many conversations with my dear friend Joan Rivers about him and about how vicious he is.”
She says Trump had a vendetta after the photo controversy and magnified the furor for political purposes. “When he saw his chance to try to take down a 57-year-old female comic who had the audacity to succeed in a man’s world, he jumped on it,” Griffin says. “The only way I’ve been able to bounce back — and it’s not like I bounced back overnight, that’s for sure. I’m still trying to bounce, honey — the only way I bounced back, I’ve been dealing with this misogyny and sexism and ageism in my field my whole life.”
Even though the tour has signaled a comeback, Griffin says she remains “so anathema” in TV. Her many credits range from the sitcom “Suddenly Susan” to the Emmy-winning reality series “My Life on the D-List.”
“I still can’t get anyone to do a special. They’re all too scared,” she said. “I’m hoping TV comes around, because I am a TV animal. I started on TV. I love TV. I would love to go back.”
Griffin says she got so many death threats and still gets them to this day, online primarily, but in the mail, as well. People also try to get into her house periodically.
“I’m always flattered when people say, ‘Oh, wow, that was hard for you to go through and I’m glad you’re back.’ Lovingly, I’m still dealing with it in a big way,” she says. “Then, I try to make it sort of funny. It’s important to let people know this isn’t over for me.”
Yet she is defiant about Trump. “He hasn’t gotten me down,” Griffin says. “I am back. I’m badass. I’m more badass than ever.”
Kathy Griffin’s Laugh Your Head Off World Tour will appear 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., in Miami. Tickets cost $39.50-$154. Call 305-949-6722 or go to ArshtCenter.org.