Inside Kathy Griffin's Life Today

Comedian Kathy Griffin's life changed forever on May 30, 2017, when she tweeted a photo of herself holding up a ketchup-covered Halloween mask of Donald Trump in a mock beheading that caused widespread outrage and disgust. The president himself shamed Griffin on Twitter, sparking an unprecedented wave of fallout that sent Griffin into hiding for the better part of a year.

After being dropped from her annual gig as co-host of CNN's New Year's Eve coverage, Griffin also lost a sponsorship deal with Squatty Potty, as well as watched the last half of her in-progress stand-up comedy tour evaporate before her eyes. She issued an apology on June 2, 2017, via a tearful press conference, in which she claimed the Trump family was "trying to ruin [her] life forever." A few months later, she retracted the apology, claiming the outrage was "B.S.," and she vowed to address the entire controversy and backlash in a new stand-up tour.

As of this writing, Griffin has completed a wildly successful run of international shows and has just begun the North American leg of the tour. Although she's back in the saddle with stand-up, the controversial comedian is still being affected by the aftershock of the Trump photo scandal. Let's take a peek inside Kathy Griffin's life today.

Spilling an ocean of tea

It didn't take long for Griffin to pivot from the retraction of her mea culpa to a full scorched-earth approach towards any powerful man from her past whom she felt wronged her. In a scathing October 2017 YouTube video, Griffin first dragged TMZ founder Harvey Levin, alleging his close backroom ties to Donald Trump led to a smear campaign against her that she felt intensified the fallout from the photo scandal.  

She then took aim at Andy Cohen and Jeff Zucker, her former bosses at Bravo, where she hosted a show and several specials in the 2000s, and CNN, where she'd hosted their annual New Year's Eve coverage. Griffin relayed the story of how, when she asked Zucker for a raise, he allegedly became so enraged at her audacity that he threatened to fire her, forced her to tearfully beg to keep her job, and then actually cut her pay by 20 percent. Griffin accused Cohen of "harassing" her and treating her "very poorly" during her time at Bravo. She also alleged that he offered her cocaine before two appearances on Watch What Happens Live.

And, as if she hadn't fully taken Cohen to task on YouTube, Griffin hammered him again six months later when she told ET Canada that his "level of talent is diminished by his lack of ability." That's not only burning a bridge, that's filling your cat's litter box with the ashes and laughing while kitty does its business.

The Laugh Your Head Off Tour

After watching her in-progress U.S. stand-up tour evaporate in the wake of the Trump photo scandal, Kathy Griffin had a brilliant idea. "Send me to countries where they hate Trump," she told her reps, according to a May 2018 interview with The Globe and Mail. Brilliant stroke number two was to call the new run of shows "The Laugh Your Head Off Tour," which she kicked off with "shows in 23 cities in 15 countries," for which she claimed she received "a standing ovation at every gig."

Unfortunately, Griffin also said that she made "20 percent of what I was paid two years ago" for the gigs, but that could be turning a corner as well. On a March 2018 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, Griffin revealed that her American comeback was fully underway with two shows "right in Trump's backyard" at The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Her tactic of "leaning in on this whole photo thing" — as the The Vancouver Sun put it — seems to be paying off, and it's a strategy Griffin won't be abandoning anytime soon. "The show is completely honest and I am going to be completely honest with you," Griffin told the Sun. "This photo will be with me the rest of my career and will be known when I leave this earth more than anything."

Airlines are funny about decapitation jokes

The most serious consequence Kathy Griffin faced from the Trump photo scandal was a "two month federal investigation from two departments from the DOJ [Department of Justice]," as she described it to Bill Maher. Though she was cleared of their investigation over whether she had conspired to assassinate Trump — yes, it was taken that seriously — Griffin remained on the No Fly List for a time, and, as of this writing, claims to still be on the list, which tracks the movements of known and potential international criminals.

As a result, Griffin claims she was "detained at every single airport" she flew into for her recent international tour, which sometimes resulted in the confiscation of her "devices," and always meant big delays and frightening encounters in "detention rooms."

"You might think, 'We all have our rights,'" she told Maher, adding, "But, you know, when you're in that moment, you're really at the mercy of one or two people in that room."

Crazy like a fox

During her initial, teary-eyed apology press conference following the Trump photo scandal, Griffin declared that the president had "broken" her. Of course, we already mentioned that she's since retracted the apology, but, on top of that, Griffin has seemed to refocus and even sharpen her criticisms of President Trump. In fact, when she started ramping up her press appearances in the spring of 2018, she boldly pointed the finger at Trump, alleging his personal involvement with her federal investigations.

Soon after that, in an interview with Houston Press, Griffin attacked the entire first family, referring to them as "that f***ing bunch," and even going so far as to nickname the president's sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, "Eddie Munster and Date Rape," respectively. She also mocked Melania Trump's anti-bullying initiative, which uses the widely-panned slogan, Be Best, and characterized Donald Trump as an "idiot," and "this accidental president" who is "coming off the rails mentally and physically."

And this is nothing compared to how she lets loose in her live shows, according to Griffin, who promised plenty more unfiltered attacks on the first family in her new act. Keep in mind, however, that this is all also genius, subversive self-promotion for Griffin, who has been hyping up her personal Trump stories as the sole reason fans should buy tickets to her shows since even before the photo scandal.

Keeping up with Kimye

Though she lost plenty in the aftermath of the Trump photo scandal, Kathy Griffin had decades of success under her belt before it all went off the rails. Griffin did so well she even bought a Bel-Air mansion, which is now fortified with extra security, according to The Hollywood Reporter, thanks to the litany of death threats she still receives (more on that in a moment).

But one of the perks to her swanky digs was that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were her neighbors for years — up until around March of 2018, according to Griffin, who told Houston Press that their houses were so close that she would "like open the window and yell at them."

They apparently didn't mind the intrusion, at least not according to Griffin, who painted them all as close chums in an interview with People in which she referred to Kimye as "dreamy neighbors" and said that they were "getting on beautifully." Kris Jenner even seemed to confirm the close companionship in an April 2017 Instagram post that showed Griffin "babysitting" North West and Saint (above).

Their friendship notwithstanding, is anyone else interested in a reality show starring the notoriously unfiltered Griffin and Kanye "Free Thinker" West? Because we would pay money to watch that.

Did she lose her best friend forever ... forever?

Not only was it a big professional blow to Griffin when her CNN New Year's Eve show co-host, Anderson Cooper, denounced the Trump photo on Twitter and turned his back on her, it was also extremely personal. "I loved him. Like, I really loved him," Griffin told ET Canada in May 2018. "The Anderson part, I don't even have a joke for, because honestly that just hurt," the normally quick-witted comedian continued.

In an interview with Wendy Williams, Griffin also revealed that Cooper didn't even reach out to her before sending his tweet in which he described the Trump photo as "clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate." She also said that they didn't speak for a period of two months after that, and, as of this writing, still do not have a relationship.

Asked whether she would accept his apology if he ever offered one, Griffin said, "He's not that kinda guy ... like, he and Jeff Zucker, who runs CNN, they're not cut from that cloth." It really says a lot that Griffin dodged a direct answer to that question and could even indicate that the estrangement from Cooper might actually be the worst of the fallout. That said, Cooper wasn't alone in his flight from friendship with Griffin.

It's good to have super famous friends

Griffin joked to Bill Maher that she was "down to three gays" when describing how ostracized she felt by her former social circle in the wake of the Trump photo scandal. In several interviews, Griffin specifically mentioned how both Will & Grace star Debra Messing and Chelsea Clinton called her out on Twitter. She also told The Hollywood Reporter that it was actually Rosie O'Donnell who prompted her to apologize in the immediate aftermath of the scandal by referencing slain reporter Daniel Pearl "who'd been publicly decapitated by Pakistani terrorists in 2001."

But not everyone treated her like the plague. In fact, Griffin revealed to Wendy Williams that she got some very high-level support from the likes of Amy Schumer, Pauley Perrette, Bette Midler, and Martin Sheen. Even Jim Carrey reached out to congratulate her on snagging the kind of juicy material that any comedian worth a salt would love to have. "You can present it comedically however you want, and you're the perfect person for that," Griffin said the Dumb and Dumber star told her.

Though it was highly likely that Griffin was already plotting how she would channel the experience into her comedy, we can't imagine a better way for a comedian to get pulled out of the dumps than with a complimentary call from Jim Carrey.

Things didn't exactly work out with Lisa Bloom

Hollywood attorney Lisa Bloom represented Griffin in the early days of the Trump photo scandal. Bloom even staged that first, messy press conference, which, according to Griffin, only made matters worse and even drove a wedge between herself and Bloom almost immediately afterwards.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Griffin said that she turned to Bloom in a moment of weakness, but ultimately felt duped into doing what was essentially "an infomercial" for her law firm. In a separate interview with The Daily Beast, Griffin described Bloom as acting only in her own interest by "fame-wh***ing" throughout the press conference and trying to convince Griffin to embark on an extensive media tour.

Bloom responded to Griffin's accusations, telling The Daily Beast that the awkwardness at the press conference was due to Griffin abandoning their prepared remarks and that the supposed pressure to do a media tour was simply her "offering options and making recommendations."

Regardless of what actually happened, their professional relationship ended with the press conference. Later on Facebook, Griffin said, "I'm not gonna sue Lisa Bloom. I don't think Lisa Bloom should be shot, like people want to shoot me. So there's my f***ing statement" (via The Daily Beast).

Bloom was more gracious about the whole thing, writing, "This is sad, but I still believe that Kathy Griffin is one of the funniest comics alive, that she meant no ill will with the photo, and I wish her the best."

You've got (hate) mail

As of this writing, over a year has passed since the Trump photo scandal, and yet Griffin is still receiving tons of scary hate mail. The rape threats and death threats she continues to receive got so bad that the FBI had to intervene after "determining that Griffin was under credible threat."

Griffin described a system devised by the bureau that was designed to help her sort her terrifying mail to The Hollywood Reporter. "There's a pile that we think is harmless and a pile that's questionable," she said, adding, "And then there's a pile that the FBI says you put in a Ziploc bag and give to them. That's my life now."

She even said that this kind of verbal harassment was the main reason for all of her initial tour cancellations, since her detractors also began calling her scheduled venues and threatening physical harm to Griffin while she was on stage.

It's the one part of this ordeal that truly is no laughing matter. "I don't blame the theater owners," she said. "These are theaters that are normally playing Mamma Mia! or Stomp, and all of a sudden they're getting calls saying they're going to 'shoot her in the c*** live onstage." Absolutely horrible. 

The enemy of her enemy is her friend

Given that Kathy Griffin is, shall we say, not a fan of Donald Trump, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that she rallied behind adult entertainer Stormy Daniels' crusade to expose her alleged affair with the president. Griffin's first overture to Daniels came via Twitter when she announced that she would contribute $2,500 to the whistleblowing adult film star's legal defense fund. "I know what its like to go up against the Trump machine," Griffin tweeted, adding, "You're very brave to do this and I want to do my part."

Griffin later told Houston Press that the donation resulted in a meeting between the two femme foes of Trump. In fact, they're now "friends," with a plan for Daniels to make an appearance at one of Griffin's shows. Griffin even boasted that she got a picture with Daniels' outspoken and media-friendly attorney, Michael Avenatti, at the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner.

Griffin said, "... I knew if I posted that picture my Instagram would light up with OH MY GOD, BRING HOME DADDY." She explained, "The gay boys love a nice clean shaven man — so like, that's funny."

Though Griffin's clearly been through an ordeal with the whole Trump photo scandal, one thing never changed — her signature sense of humor.