As the result of a now-infamous photoshoot in 2017, in which she held up a Halloween mask that resembled a beheaded Donald Trump, Kathy Griffin’s life has changed forever. In addition to destroying job prospects and alienating her from longtime TV pal Anderson Cooper, the controversy has also forced Griffin to learn a lot about bots and coordinated harassment campaigns on social media.
“I had to educate myself about all these Trumpers and the subgroups and the rise of Nazism among young people,” Griffin said on the latest episode of Recode Decode. “Because I’m from Oak Park, Illinois, and it was this really big deal ... when the Nazis marched in Skokie.”
Griffin told Recode’s Kara Swisher that while she was being threatened by people who ostensibly supported President Trump (“Their favorite method is, they would say, ‘I want to shoot you in the cunt, cut your head off and then stuff your head up your cunt,’” she recalled) she was not contacted by anyone from Twitter’s safety team.
“He should resign,” Griffin said of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “The first order of business, he needs to resign ... Remember when he was covering Ferguson? I remember thinking, he’s like this forward-thinking guy and he’s going to document the riots in Ferguson, and that’s good for him. Next thing you know, he’s not banning any of these Nazis or super-far-right QAnon folks and stuff. I don’t believe they don’t have the capability.”
More generally, she said social media companies are “complicit” in fraudulent elections around the world and said that if CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to join her for dinner — as he did with families around America in 2017 — she’d say, “Get the fuck out, you fucking cheater.
“First of all, we have to get more people in elected positions that know what social media is, that know how it works,” Griffin said. “They don’t know the questions to ask and I thought Zuckerberg’s testimony was frightening.”
You can listen to Recode Decode wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and Overcast.
Below, we’ve shared a lightly edited full transcript of Kara’s conversation with Kathy.
Kathy Griffin: Woo! Kara Swisher — Your headliner, Kara Swisher, is here.
Sit down, sit down.
All right, I just started with my funnies.
All right, listen, we have a lot to talk about. We were just talking about ...
No shit. I don’t know where to begin. Why don’t you explain the photo? Just talk about the photo.
Okay. So one of the things that I’m very open about is I’m 58 years and proud of it, 58, look at this body! Look at me! I’m a role model. All right so, I’ve been canned from Bravo because of the piece of shit Andy Cohen with his no talent.
No, if you could name a skill set, I’m all ears.
All right, okay.
I thought so. But I’ve been dealing with ageism in my industry for a long time. And since I was about 40, they’ve been trying to put me out to pasture. I don’t have a big Lorne Michaels type or a Judd Apatow type to have my back or a studio or anything. Sometimes when you’re out of work, you’ll do little silly things like that. I’ve done it before. I’ll just take some wacky pictures, put them up on my social media and try to make you guys laugh. That day I worked with a shooter named Tyler Shields and he had taken some other photos of me before that were good. He’s a good shooter. But I’m a little pissed at him because he won’t give me the copyright and that picture changed my life irrevocably.
But he came over, just him and a couple of bros. The very last photo, we had taken a bunch of silly ones which never saw the light of day and the very last photo, we did collaborate and say, “Let’s do a photo that shames Trump in some way.” And I did it in response to, even though I can’t stand Megyn Kelly, but I also didn’t like when Trump said “there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” So the inspiration was as deep as this, “see if you can can handle it.”
I just thought, all right, let’s see how he likes it when there’s blood coming out of his wherever. And so it was a Halloween mask and it was one of my styrofoam wig heads. Because the mask kept folding, like his balls I assume. Oh, they’re dragging on the floor, he trips on them every morning. But anyway, sorry, we’ll stay on topic.
All right. Thank you for that vision though, go ahead.
God, poor Stormy, can you imagine?
What she’s seen. Anyway, so took the photo to be like subversive, I’d say, more than funny. Look, if people think it’s a joke and it makes them laugh, that’s fine. But I kinda felt like it was a little more of a, just like a middle finger.
What happened was, took the photo and I was so naïve that the photographer for some reason gave it to TMZ. So if you guys don’t know this, TMZ is a guilty pleasure blog, run by a self-loathing gay man named Harvey Levin. And his big gig is that he has a fucking vault and everybody in Hollywood is scared of his vault. Well, I say open the fucking vault, all right, I got nothing to hide. So I’m not afraid of those guys anymore, but I will say in my business, people think that TMZ is the news. They pretty much think it’s the Post. The Washington one, all right? Denver Post. But anyway, it started with the photo and I believe the title was ...
Did you think at all there was any possibility because of the headless ...
Not for a minute. I thought, this will be on a gay blog for two days. I really thought, I was clearly ... I actually purposely did a stoic look on my face because normally I’m very animated. I purposely wore this high collar thing. And I was holding up a Halloween mask. By the way, if it had been a full body dummy, that probably would have been fine.
So then Harvey Levin was started with the, “Kathy Griffin has joined ISIS and severed the president’s head.” Which, I’m not a surgeon but I don’t think that’s feasible. That he would then go back to work. “Work.” So it spread like wildfire and I love that whole AMI flipping. So then all those other publications picked it up very, very rapidly.
But you were in ISIS, that you were in ISIS. But it was a lark, this was ... You didn’t think possibly tasteless, you weren’t worried that he was actually president and there had been threats and things like that.
And then there were the Al Qaeda beheadings or anything like that. You weren’t ...
No, but I will tell you I did a tragic apology video, which I still kept up. Because my good pal, Rosie O’Donnell, who is the preeminent expert at being trolled by Donald Trump, he’s been after her for, what, 13 years. And she called me and she said, “What if Daniel Pearl’s mother saw this?” And that’s why I did the apology video. When then all my comedian friends called me and they said, “Why did you apologize?”
I just want to be clear, everyone turned on me, left, right, and center. The right wing had a field day and they still are. That photo’s in the new NRA ad, it’s in the new National GOP ad, it was in several local GOP races during the midterms.
It’s been manipulated, it shows up at every rally. People make a lot of more Trumps holding my head, stuff like that. So in the way that it went more than viral is not something I could have seen because I wasn’t aware they had that apparatus ready to go. Trump’s calling ...
You called it a wood chipper.
I call it the wood chipper because it’s really no different than what they did to Little Marco and Lyin’ Ted and stuff. I was sort of the first celebrity. The reason I ...
Well, Rosie O’Donnell, right? The names.
Yes, but she didn’t have to go under federal investigation by two federal agencies. So what happened was the next day I got a call from my attorney and he said the Secret Service has opened a file on you, and the U.S. Attorney’s office. The part that I want to tell people, because I want people to know their rights and there’s a lot of mythology about what they can and can’t do. But they wanted me to go downtown to the jail downtown in a jumpsuit and cuffs and they wanted video of a perp walk. Over my dead body would that happen.
Because by the way, I did show that photo to my lawyers before I posted it. I’m not stupid, I work in the First Amendment, it’s my commodity. And my lawyers — rightly so — said, “Yeah, it’s well within the bounds of the First Amendment.” So A) I didn’t break the law, B) I didn’t violate the First Amendment.
So I didn’t know what they had in mind, but the investigation, I think, was to intimidate me. And my entire tour, the rest of my tour was canceled within 12 hours. And TMZ was reporting the tour cancellations in real time, which was odd. And then I just became toxic and everybody became scared of me and stuff like that.
So you had checked with your lawyers that this was okay to publish.
Yeah, I sent it to him and I said, “Can I post this?” And he said, “Yes.”
Did any time you think that it was tasteless or something like that, just because he’s the president, whatever you think of him as the president?
No, because it’s him.
The reason I did something so extreme with him ... First of all, I’ve known this moron for 25 years. One time he hired me to roast him. So he acts like he doesn’t know my shtick, he does.
Okay. What did you say at the time, during that roast?
Oh, well first of all, like a typical bully, when I saw him at that fakakta golf course that we’re all paying for, Bedminster, whatever it’s called, and the only reason I did it is because Liza was gonna sing. And you can’t leave Liza alone with Donald Trump, I mean, even you know that, Kara. It’s not safe. And she was on her happy pills that day, so I just wanted to keep an eye on her. And so when Trump approached me like every other bully, he had hired me to roast him and comes toward me with the fucking gut hanging out and his balls are filling his pleats. He’s so gross.
Anyway, he comes up and he’s like, “Uh-oh, there she is, don’t make any jokes about the hair.” So of course, I made as many jokes as I could — but I did touch his hair, though, that day. And he didn’t feel it, which I thought was incredible. I touched it and he had no reaction to it. So I did it a second time, and he still didn’t even feel it. So it’s like a shellacked sculpture: Billy Ray Cyrus meets combover.
Believe it or not, when I knew him during the NBC days, I don’t mean to defend Hollywood but honestly, nobody took him seriously. I mean, I would see him just on roundabouts, if I was promoting My Life on the D-List or one of the specials and he’d be doing The Apprentice. Or I’d see around New York in some way and he would show up at the opening of an envelope. There was an envelope opening one time. I actually spent quite a bit of time with him.
One time, there was a roast for Larry King, it was like his 120th birthday party, I think. And so there was a dais and as you know, the weirdest thing about a dais is the audience is watching you eat dinner prior to the little roasts. And I was in between the Donald and Gilbert Gottfried, I have never been more in love with Gilbert in my life. Because Trump just, it was just that like wah, wah, wah, the Charlie Brown teacher, and he kept saying non-sequentorial shit that made no sense. And I knew he was stupid, but I didn’t know he was Britney Spears stupid. Like happy to be stupid. Oh Britney’s like fine with it.
And so the reason I wanted to do something really dramatic with the photo is truly, I remember watching every day of the Watergate hearings and I truly never thought in my lifetime anything like this could happen. And now I believe it’s worse.
All right, so you put the photo out ...
I said to the photographer, I didn’t have a publicist ...
But there one other thought, because at one point Hillary Clinton decided it was Perseus and Medusa.
That hurt. So Hillary Clinton, who I worship, she puts in her audiobook, she goes, “And all the fuss about Kathy Griffin, it was obviously a send-up of Perseus and Medusa.” Which I’ve never heard of. I just need you guys to back me up when in the other interviews, I go, “It was a send-up of Perseus and Medusa.” Is that like a Greek story?
Sounds Greek. Does somebody’s head get cut off?
She’s a woman.
Oh, it would have been a send-up. I get it now, I’m the woman.
Yes, got it. She had snakes on her hair.
I have curly hair.
If you put her face in front of people, they turn to stone. You don’t ... Okay, all right.
There’s a lot of people I’d like to turn to stone. But ...
So in the 24 hours, the idea was that you were inciting violence, suggesting assassination.
In 24 hours, suddenly all the virality went into it.
So you were canceled by the internet, essentially.
Yeah, and also everybody felt the need to make a grand statement. So CNN was first in line. And then actually on the ticker it said, “CNN fires ISIS member Kathy Griffin from the New Year’s Eve broadcast.”
So just to be clear, you’re not a member of ISIS, right?
I worked at the gift shop for a week. First of all, they get up too early. They’re on those jungle bars at 6:00 am. That is not my gig. By the way, it’s taken me a long time to even be able to make that joke because I’ve had so many people confront me on the street and they’re convinced I’m in ISIS. And they’re tying me in with pedophiles and something, QAnon?
Yeah, okay, am I Q? Are you Q?
All right, there’s not really a Q, right?
I don’t even want to go into it.
Okay. But that’s my role now, I have to know all this shit. I had to learn all the Nazis, now I know all the fucking Nazis, the Proud Boys, they all come at me. And some guy named Charlie Kirk, who’s got fans that are like cult members. And they don’t play.
So online, the death threats were immediate. But then because ...
The death threats range from ...
They range from, well, the most popular one was, we want to cut your head off, we want to stuff it up your pussy and then cut you in the middle. That was their most popular way of wanting to kill me. And it was graphic. So the way the tour got canceled was, people started calling these theaters, and I really don’t blame the theater owners.
And putting death threats in ...
Because when you’re normally doing Mamma Mia or Blue Man Group, you’re not used to someone saying, “I don’t want to go see this ISIS member do comedy.” So I later found out that they were all robocalls, which was devastating to me.
So when I talk about the Trump woodchipper, I’ve just learned so much. I have a weird feeling I might show up in some of that David Pecker stuff. Because now that AMI has OK and Life and Style, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an email from Don Jr. saying ... Don Jr. said on Good Morning America, “Our family just doesn’t want to ruin Kathy Griffin’s career, we want to decimate her.” And he’s Eddie Munster from the show The Munsters.
I have a lot of respect for him and his girlfriend. So the reason I tell the story is, it is in fact historic. So I did a lot of research on this because I didn’t want to be spouting off, but I am actually the first person that has had a sitting United States president use the full power of the Oval, the first family, the Department of Justice, and the entire right-wing media to try to ruin a private citizen. And I happen to think being a 58-year-old female comedian with a big mouth and everything antithetical to what he believes in is why he sort of chose me. And I also didn’t have an infrastructure in place to really protect me. So it’s been a long slog.
So instantly, you got the death threats?
And we’ll get to the social media companies in a minute and what they do.
Yes, fuck them.
You have an issue with Jack Dorsey.
If Jack Dorsey’s here, I’m going to slap him in the face.
Okay. All right, he’s not.
He’s not a god, calm down. Elon Musk is crazy too, so don’t be like falling into that fucking cult. Elon Musk, that fucking guy’s nuts.
All right, speaking of which, you’re investigated ...
He went out with a girlfriend of mine and he parked outside her house for four fucking days.
Right, that guy’s gonna send you to Mars in four years? Don’t count on it. He said that, SpaceX, we’re going to Mars in four years. You know how much oxygen, 0.1 percent.
So what do you do when you get to Mars? You don’t breathe, Elon. How do you deal with these people?
I’ve interviewed him many times, he says he wants to die on Mars, just not on landing.
Fine. He can do it in four hours, according to him.
Okay. They investigated you, they put you on the do-not-fly list.
I was on the no-fly list for two months. The Department of Justice called ...
Because they thought ...
Credible threat to the president.
Yes. I have a very good ... I got Bloomed by that piece of shit, Lisa Bloom. So I had a disastrous press conference and she’s horrible and I’m also allowed to say that, because it’s only my opinion. She is bad and a fake feminist. All right, so then I had to call my actual First Amendment attorney who I’ve been with for years, who actually was at a funeral and didn’t pick up his phone that day. So that’s kind of how it went down, so that’s how I got Bloomed. But his name is Alan Isaacman and he won the landmark Supreme Court case, Jerry Falwell vs. Hustler magazine. So my theory has been, if you can get Larry Flynt off, you can handle me.
And he did a very good job and he was very effective. Because the DOJ called his office every single day. “Is she coming in? Is she coming in today? Is she coming in?” And I just thought that sounded far and above what they would typically do, certainly to a comedian. So he had to negotiate that I wouldn’t go downtown and do the perp walk but I was interrogated under oath, in his office. And what they were considering, they took two months to consider whether or not to charge me with conspiracy to assassinate the president of the United States.
Which holds a lifetime sentence. So prior to my interrogation, my lawyer said, it wasn’t a situation where if I fuck up he can go, “I need a moment with my client.” It wasn’t like that. And so he said, I’ll never forget him saying. “I love ya, kid, but you fuck up and you leave in cuffs.” So it was a very serious matter and we had practiced and done murder rooms and all that stuff.
Right, so you’re on the do-not-fly, so you couldn’t go anywhere.
Couldn’t go anywhere. And I make my living by touring, so that was bad.
That was bad. And other celebrities had insulted the president, Michelle Wolf did and got in trouble.
Yeah, she did the White House Correspondents dinner, which I attended, by the way, and she was hilarious. So that was Matt Schlapp and his beard wife making that bullshit up.
Could you imagine fucking Matt Schlapp while he looks at Channing Tatum on a video? No, he’s super straight, he loves vagina. All right, so that’s the crowd Trump runs with, so fuck him.
I actually was at the White House Correspondents dinner, Michelle did really well and I saw Matt and his wife Mercedes leaving and they started tweeting that the whole room, there’s this mass exodus. And that just wasn’t true. So now that it’s happened to me, I’m determined that it won’t happen to anybody else.
Other male celebrities, Johnny Depp, Snoop Dogg.
Yeah, Peter Fonda.
They all just got ...
Said similar things, said threatening things.
Yes, allegedly. I mean, they were harmless, but I talked to Peter Fonda and he said he just had a 10-minute phone call with the Secret Service and that was it. I know Johnny Depp was just mysteriously photographed with his Make-A-Wish kid four days later. And he looked hammered even during the picture, I’m not gonna lie. But he had the whole team from Pirates of the Caribbean come in and make sure he could be up and working. So I think in a way, I was the perfect target for that.
Perfect target, so an easy target.
So one of the things you said, there’s no bad publicity ... There is bad publicity.
Yes, I learned that. There is such a thing as bad publicity.
Right, because your previous career had been, you didn’t mind trashing people.
Oh, I’ve been in Hollywood trouble, but never two federal agencies.
So Hollywood trouble would be?
Hollywood trouble is when I won my first enemy ... My first enemy, I got a lot of those now. When I won my first Emmy and I wanted to do a speech that was funny because I think it’s funny when people thank Jesus for awards. So I won my first Emmy and I said, “I just want to say Jesus had nothing to do with this. Suck it, Jesus, this award is my god now.” So religious groups took out full-page ads in USA Today.
Yeah, I remember “Suck it, Jesus.”
I got fired from a DirecTV commercial.
Because I wouldn’t sign the gag order so I could talk about it.
I won’t be gagged.
So second to that ... that’s Hollywood.
That’s Hollywood trouble. That’s when your agents go, “Oh, what were you thinking?” But when you get the lawyers saying they’ve already opened an investigation ... I didn’t have an opportunity to even clear my name or say it was a statement. And as you guys know, there’s a long history of comedians doing this sort of thing. And I thought ... I didn’t know that the shooter was going to give it to TMZ. I thought he was going to send it to Der Spiegel or Charlie Hebdo or something. Or a paper magazine. Once it’s on TMZ, then it’s on all their ancillary...
... the woodchipper ...
... the woodchipper, yeah.
... the bots start working.
The bots start. And I didn’t even know how that apparatus worked. So I was getting ... my timeline is, to this day, flooded with “ISIS lady be bad.” And I had to learn what bots were.
And then there was this sort of debate over, no, no, you’re just trying to make it better. These are real people. And then I started getting old-timey mail because a lot of Trump ... sacks of mail, like a cartoon. And there were all kinds of ...
... those are real. Those aren’t bots.
Those are real people that really think I’m in ISIS. Because it’s so believable. And they would say, once again, their favorite method is they would say, “I want to shoot you in the cunt, cut your head off and then stuff your head up your cunt.” And that was like the theme. And these are probably 70-year-old straight guys and stuff. Not exactly my demo. So they enjoy the old-timey mail. Some of them would do stickers. And a lot of them would draw me without a head and shit. So that went on.
And then the FBI started calling me. And they have three levels of threats ...
Now you’re directed to the FBI because of threats.
Yep. I’m a big fan of the FBI, let me tell you. They protected me and they did a fantastic job. So they would call me if a threat was like — thank you. They’re a government agency. Yes. I’m not anti-government. I’m not one of those at all. I think government is necessary and regulations are good.
So anyway, if you get a phone call ... If the lawyer gets a phone call, it’s like kind of a threat. When they would call me personally, it was jacked up a little bit. And then, as I said in the tape on there, ironically, the day I filmed the movie, the FBI did a no-knock, which means they feel the threat is imminent. So I was sleeping in that day because I had a performance that night, and I was in my PJs. And every time the FBI comes over, they never laugh at this joke. I go “Norm!” Like on Cheers. “Where everybody knows your name…”
All right. So they came over and I was used to them saying “look out for this or that.” So they said that the MAGA bomber had ... he was already in custody. And they said that he had shared his list with like-minded people. And I said, “Okay.” And I said, “Can you tell me how many?” And they said, “No.” And I said, “So you can’t tell me who?’ And they said, “No.”
Then they suggested that I open my mailbox standing 10 feet away from it. Like the as-seen-on-TV old lady, but I would have to get two of them. So now I just stand in front of it and I go kaboom and I just open it myself.
Right. Are you worried at all?
Yeah. I am. And on the other hand, it’s been so much of a deluge. I had incidents at almost every show on the American leg of my tour.
Meaning they’ll get up and yell at you?
Oh, yeah. There was a GoFundMe for some guy that they flew into one of my Philadelphia shows — where I sold out the first one, had to add the double, hey. And he was like a QAnon guy or whatever. So he was in the second row and he starts yelling that I’m a pedophile.
By the way, you’ll have to walk me through how the Trumpers then turned into calling Tom Hanks a pedophile and Sarah Silverman’s a pedophile now. Not true.
So he started yelling that I was a pedophile. And then I got it down to a system where my tour manager and I have a security meeting personally with every gig that I do. And I really wanted to play what I call the great halls because I thought this material wouldn’t work in 500-seaters. So here I played the Long Center, which is amazing. And in New York I played Radio City and Carnegie and sold out Carnegie in 24 hours. Very proud of that. I know, right? So I thought there is a story that people want to hear, there’s just a disconnect. Which is, the fans were coming out, really, around the world. And so I’m now global if nothing else. Y’all know me.
But working ... your work in Hollywood has dried up.
I don’t have one single day of paid work ahead of me for the rest of my life.
Except for concerts. Except for ...
I don’t have any concerts coming up.
Right. Because of this?
And you can’t get anyone to distribute this. You paid for this video that you’ve made?
Yes. Yeah. And honestly, the reason I even made it is at first I thought, even my lawyers were saying, you should document this story because it is historic and even if it sits on the shelf for 10 years or something like that. So, I wanted to just do that. And then, when no one from any of the TV or streaming services would even talk to me or ...
Not Netflix, not Amazon?
None of them. No.
None of them. And what do they say to you?
When it got to the check signers, and this is another important point, there’s kind of a ... There’s a couple of misleading things I want to clear up. One of them is women do have more power in show business, but to this day, there’s not one female that can actually sign the check. So as powerful as Shonda Rhimes has, she still has to kick it up to the old white dinosaur to get a show greenlit. So there are still, I call them the six old white dinosaurs.
One of them used to be Leslie Moonves, but he’s gone. Fuck him, all right. So, he raped his way out of the business. I have no sympathy. And they’re all like that. They’re all rapey and they’re all gross and they’re all behind the times and all that shit. So I would be trying to express, well, if the big boss doesn’t want to give me the time of day, can you at least give him the stats from my tour? My tour grossed $4.4 million worldwide and I probably made about $75 million over my career.
A friend of mine did a little experiment, which is he called the head of the one of the biggest free agencies in Hollywood and said, what if I could bring you ... No, his first question was, he said, “Hey, would you like to take on Kathy Griffin?” And this owner, who I’ve known for a million years, said, “Oh, Kathy Griffin? That is a life’s-too-short situation.”
So, the same friend called the same agent a month later and said, “What if I could bring you an actor I know, and this guy has made $75 million over his career?” And the agent goes, “I would call that a priority client.” And my friend goes, “Well, that guy is Kathy Griffin.” And he still was like, “Nope, nope, no, toxic, too scary.” So, you know.
So what are you going to do? If you can’t get at Amazon or Netflix or the more fast-forward ...
Well, I’m hoping they’ll come around and I’m hoping that whether it’s the almighty dollar or they see possibilities or they see at least the historic value of the show. Although I try to make the show funny first, but there is ...
It’s not all funny. There’s some sad parts.
It’s not all funny. Because some of that shit was really scary. And also, I feel a real need to tell people, when I was finally exonerated, I knew I could only do concerts overseas. So the cool thing is, I did really well overseas.
You’re big in Belgium.
They didn’t bat an eyelash. In fact, everywhere I went, and you guys know this if you’ve traveled, if it was a café or any place, pretty much they’d hear an American accent and be like, “What the fuck are you guys doing? What’s going on? You were the bastion of liberty.” And so I would deal with that.
But the audiences were really hungry. And I think the fact that I know Trump sort of was like another layer. And the extent of the investigation and the extent to which they were willing to go to ... And I was obviously just a shiny object. I mean, my photo was days after Robert Mueller had been assigned. You guys have all seen it. When he’s in trouble, there’s some new shiny object that they’ll dangle. And I was a shiny object. But this ...
Do you regret doing the photo?
I don’t, because, No. 1, he really has it coming. He really deserves just ... he deserves what he has done to others. Probably most ... most of us probably agree that the most egregious thing is the zero tolerance kids in cages thing. But it’s also moving the embassy to Jerusalem was stupid. Not to mention ... Right? I mean, that’s just caused violence. There’s just so many things that ...
Like I said, at 58, I just thought, if you’re not going to take a stand now, what the fuck you waiting for? I just wanted to get the story out there.
And, by the way, they can take your phone and SIM card at airports in America. So that was a rumor that I also heard. So I was then put on the Interpol list. So I went overseas, my first show was in Auckland, New Zealand. And that was the first time I was detained. I was then detained at every single airport. Which is ...
What do they do when they detain ...
It’s actually really scary. They take your passport and they take your device, your phone, and they put you in a detention room, like The Breakfast Club, I guess. And I was Judd Nelson, apparently. And they don’t tell you what they’re doing. But their eyes would all turn into saucers.
So, to this day, I don’t know what’s on my passport. But it’s bad. And then they call the supervisor and they take my passport and my phone and they go away. Sometimes it will be 20 minutes, sometimes I would be two hours. And you’re just sitting there not knowing what’s going to happen. What are you doing?
I’m looking ... I’m going to read something that you wrote me. But go ahead.
I thought you were bored and you’re going to ...
No, I’m not bored.
“Mom, look, this is really going slowly. What are you making for dinner? Oh! Oh, I love pork chops.”
No. I was going to ask you because I wanted … it’s sexist.
Oh, it’s totally sexism. And ageism and misogyny.
Right. One of the things you wrote. Would you mind if I read something that you texted me?
I dare you.
I asked you. Okay, well, dare me. You don’t know me. I said, “I have Amy Klobuchar right before you, so get ready for some comb talk,” because we talked about the issues around the comb and her being a bad boss and stuff like that.
You wrote me, “You know what? That whole thing is such Hillary Clinton-level bullshit. Big deal, she threw a binder at someone. I’d fire an assistant who brought me salad without utensils as well. Maybe that assistant would be happier working for Mark Meadows. Amy Klobuchar never pulled out her vagina in front of a worker or a subordinate, I can guarantee you that. Yashar Ali even started this nonsense campaign and got taken to the woodshed for it. But I’m saving all mine for Jack Dorsey. Fuck him and his place on the fucking spectrum. Love, your new best friend, Kathy Griffin.”
I speak freely. I speak freely.
There is so much to unpack there. Not the vagina part. But this sexism, the same thing with Amy Klobuchar. She was just talking about this, the idea that she’s a bad boss and gets it 20 times more than other ...
I mean, are you kidding? I don’t care if she gives someone a concussion. That’s nothing compared to Trump whipping his dick out and everybody else whipping their dicks out. Can you guys keep your dicks in for one second? Jesus Christ.
I’m not going to let anybody see my vulva once. I know that’s crazy. And I also think, knowing the Donald, he likes to be addressed as “the Donald,” which is the weird in itself.
He’s such an idiot. I think that he is the type of man that thinks and resents the audacity that I, at my age, would even dream of staying in the game. And my inner Joan Rivers, I want to basically die onstage and I don’t ever really want to retire and I love what I do.
All right. Let’s get to the ... I want to get to tech in just in a minute. But Anderson Cooper. Who didn’t stand up for you and who did?
Anderson Cooper did not.
Yes, I am aware of that.
So, yeah, everyone is. That one just really hurt because, I always say, I don’t have a punchline for that. I mean, Zucker didn’t surprise me because he’s just a douchebag. He’s not smart enough to run a news agency.
This is Jeff Zucker?
Jeff Zucker. Z-U-C-K-E-R. Although he wants it pronounced “Zooker, like hooker.” He said that to me once. “It’s Zooker like hooker.” I was like, “Okay. You got me.”
Anyway, even though I was exonerated, those two guys don’t roll like that. It wouldn’t be inside them, I don’t think, to say, “Oh it turns out this was kind of a smear campaign and we kind of know what this is.” And there was a lot of manipulation of the image and all this stuff. And the Anderson thing hurt just because I really loved him as a friend and I ... nobody gave me a heads up or a call or anything like that.
Have you spoken to him since?
No? Not at all?
But did you see that shitfest New Years Eve? Oh. Woo-hoo-hoo, stinker! Oh my God. I watched every minute. I hate-watched it. It was a disaster! Oh, I was in heaven! Talk about chemistry.
Did you think about reaching out to him again, or did you?
Yeah. He actually did send me one text that wasn’t particularly nice. And I just wrote back. And honestly, I just said, is it okay if I reach out to your mom? Because I really was friendlier with his mom, Gloria Vanderbilt, or as I call her, Glo Vandy. You heard me. And he said yes. I just wrote her an email and I just said I appreciated her friendship. And I said, however you want to proceed is fine with me. I just really wanted to gush over her because she was a really good friend to me.
Do you expect to ever have a discussion with him about that?
He’s not like a talker. But ...
... You have a new gay. You have Bobby from Sarasota.
Yeah. I got a ...
... the civilian gays.
That’s right. The civilian gays are on my side. I got ... A couple of days after the photo, one of the gays sent me a photo of all the gays dressed like me on Fire Island with mock heads doing a parade. And all the other gays were like, “Hey, go girl, go.” So I was like, oh. I almost cried. So emotional. I mean, that’s ... I think that is my kinship with the LGBT community. I think we share a being on the outside looking in, liking to be subversive, having to fight harder for everything, jump higher, fight harder, that sort of thing. So I think that’s kind of a natural relationship.
I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can say none of the power gays have given me a gig or anything, but they might just be scared, too. I don’t know. I’m blacklisted everywhere. So I don’t know what’s going to happen.
So, I want to talk about where your career’s going to go last, but the tech people. You mentioned Jack Dorsey “on the fucking spectrum.” Talk about the tech companies. Because you have issues.
Well, I do. Because I now have a little bit of understanding, but this is your area. But I was put into the beyond meme-o-sphere. I didn’t know that these tech companies had agents ready. And I remember seeing that guy on 60 Minutes, Brad ...
Parscale. That fucker is dirty. All right? He should be in front of the grand jury. Oh, by the way, I want to be on that grand jury.
Okay. I’m in charge of the grand jury. But go ahead.
You are? I was hoping?
Maybe if somebody gets sick or something. I would do it in a heartbeat.
Yeah. It’s me and Giuliani. But go ahead.
Oh. So anyway, as I was taking such an online beatdown, I was also learning at the same time, some of the non-robots coming over me, like I said, I had to educate myself about all these Trumpers and the subgroups and the rise of Nazism among young people. Because I’m from Oak Park, Illinois, and it was this really big deal. I don’t know if you guys remember the Nazis ...
Yes, the Nazis.
When the Nazis marched in Skokie. And it was like a civic event. The whole city talked about it for years and people protested. And they never came back. So it blows my ... It makes me really sad that there’s now a whole new generation getting misinformation that turns them into full-blown Nazis. And they don’t care for me.
And so you’ve got the Breitbart folks and tied in with that group, and I did not know that some of them have large social media presences and that their followers have no interest in legit news at all. So, that’s why ...
What do these companies do? What do you want Jack Dorsey to do?
Well, first of all, he should resign. The first order of business, he needs to resign. Because I got fucked into ... remember when he was covering Ferguson? I remember thinking, he’s like this forward-thinking guy and he’s going to document the riots in Ferguson, and that’s good for him. Next thing you know, he’s not banning any of these Nazis or super-far-right QAnon folks and stuff. I don’t believe they don’t have the capability. But you could answer that question. Is it really, truly out of their hands?
Well, what the fuck?
Yeah. What the fuck?
Are you going to call him?
I can. But not right now.
Let’s call him and on speaker.
No, no, no.
Come on! (cheering)
Get that stick out of your ass! Let’s have a little fun.
He would take my call.
Yeah, okay. You do. You call people.
I do. I called Marty Singer. He’s one of the attorneys that would go after the #MeToo victims and threaten them. I also called one of the Nazis from Charlottesville, the crying one, Chris Cartwell. And I was like, “Hey, it’s Kathy Griffin, bitch. How does it feel now, mother fucker?” And just hang up. By the way, it’s very smart of me to identify myself. He’s out of jail now. Shit. I didn’t think of that part.
But the thing with the social media thing is, I thought Sheryl Sandberg was a hero with the Lean In and ... Although let me just say about Lean In, every time I’ve tried to lean in, I broke my fucking nose. So, she should have written a sequel. But anyway, I don’t know what their game is, because how much money do you need? And if they were taking rubles, etc., and you can tell me, but I would suspect it’s more than just Russians?
Right. It’s Chinese. It’s all of them.
... and maybe some Americans. But that is something that I fear. Because I don’t see them making any moves and their testimony in front of the Senate was just really embarrassing for the Senate because they didn’t know an iPhone from Google. For real. Gohmert. I don’t see them signaling anything that they want to protect their users.
I think ... Two things I always say is, they want all of the benefits but none of the responsibilities of running the platform.
I am a living example of that.
They did not contact you when you started getting strafed on social media?
Not at all. Not at all.
They never escalated you to a VIP kind of status?
I don’t even know what that means. I have a blue check?
They should have contacted you if you’d gotten — if you’d reported death … you just filled in like everybody else, the death threats?
Yes. I fill in the thing and I send it.
Oh, is it true ... I want to ask you this. Is it true that the way, I think it’s a robot, I heard a rumor that if you follow them for a minute and then block them, it kills the mother bot. Is that true?
I don’t think so.
Oh, shit. Kara, I thought you had some bot-killing trick.
No. I don’t have a bot-killing trick. But they didn’t contact you when you ...
No one contacted me. No one but the FBI.
Nobody but the FBI?
None of the social media companies. What should happen to them? Should they be subject to regulation?
Yeah. Well, first of all, we have to get more people in elected positions that know what social media is, that know how it works.
Yeah. They don’t know the questions to ask and I thought Zuckerberg’s testimony was frightening. I mean, seriously. Those beady eyes, I know it’s a joke. That’s not human. So I don’t necessarily think he’s real.
Oh, come on.
Are you sure?
Have you seen blood? Or is it ice?
I’ve seen it.
All right. Remember one summer when he annoyed a bunch of people and went to their house for dinner and thought it was a big treat for them? Can you imagine? Knock knock. “It’s me, Jeff Zuckerberg.” Okay.
Oh, sorry. Mark. I’m thinking of Jeff Zucker. I have residual anger for ... But I wouldn’t even let him in. I’d be like, “Get the fuck out, you fucking cheater.” Because I actually think they are as complicit or, rather, responsible for manipulating worldwide elections. I mean, worldwide.
So the idea that Nazism is on the rise in Germany where, as you know, it was ... the only European country I know of where it was at least technically illegal. And Poland is now an autocracy. And even Italy is getting kleptocracy. So I blame them for all of that.
I was in London a month ago where I gave a speech on the First Amendment at Oxford University. Oh, fuck off. You guys are like this, “Went there. Yawn. Yawn.” I didn’t even go to college! That’s a big deal for me. I went to...
Now you’re talking down to me. So anyway, one of the reasons I am here is, obviously, I was the first of many. But if they’re stripping John Brennan of his fucking security clearance, they will stop at nothing. And my story is unique in that I did and do have the means to defend myself. But I’ve also met many, many people, as you know, this inaugural had more protesters actually arrested and put in jail than any other inaugural. So those folks got to show up for a trial. They’ve got to pay for, hopefully, legal fees because you need a lawyer in those situations.
So that’s one of the reasons I want to get the message out, it really is not a showbiz story. It’s all fields. And that’s why I also think the ageism and sexism, misogyny tie in. I think the more younger electeds we get that can talk about unionizing indigenous women, women that are forgotten, women that have been incarcerated, getting people who have been incarcerated the right to vote when they get out, stuff like that.
I don’t even understand how stuff trends on Twitter. Is that manipulated? Or are those actually the top 20 things people are talking about?
Well, they can push things. If they push virality, speed, and engagement, that’s what they’re going to get.
Okay, so how does that work? Let’s say that they want #MuteHillary. That’s got to be some fucking group, right?
Well, you can manipulate those algorithms.
How do you do that?
You can use ... These are very sophisticated ...
Do I have to buy an algorithm? What is that?
No. You don’t have to buy an algorithm. But they’re very manipulable. They don’t want to take responsibility for what goes on in their process.
Here’s what I want to know what they have the nerve to say to you because you actually know how this shit works.
Right. They tell me they’re not, that it’s really hard after having previous ...
Wait a minute. I just got an idea.
Let’s role play.
All right. And then we have questions.
You’re going to play Kara Swisher, okay. I’m going to play Jack Dorsey. Are you ready?
I just was online with him, we just did an online thing.
“Hey, I just came from a Nazi rally, how are you?” I’m embellishing. I’m an artist. “What’s your question, you fucking dyke bitch?” I’m playing character, I’m playing a character. “How do you like my beard, I’m in ZZ Top.” And then what?
I would not know what to say.
But you really call these fools on the carpet.
Do they actually try to convince even you ...
... like, “Oh, we didn’t see this coming.”
“We’re trying, we didn’t see this coming. We’re trying really hard. Kara, don’t be so mean to us.”
Oh my God! Let’s go through together.
Because I will kick some fucking ass on your behalf.
All right, okay. We’re going to have some questions from the audience via Slido. Let’s see: “What are your general thoughts on the 2020 elections and current candidates, Kathy?”
I think that the thing that’s great is that, I’m obviously a Democrat, and I think the thing that’s great is, I think we have an amazing stable. And I think what’s fucked up is that already social media is contributing to the right-wing notion that we have a bunch of horrible choices. And I think we have an embarrassment of riches. I personally would like to see a smart, competent female president before I die, so that’s where I’m coming from. But what the good news is, I think there’s many, many stars in there, many stars.
Any particular favorite?
I have a little hard-on for Booker/Harris, Harris/Booker, and I don’t care who’s who. Don’t boo Cory Booker, he’s a good guy. I had lunch with him.
Okay, you had lunch with ... Is there a ...
I feel like Booker gets a hard time.
Why? Oh, he took corporate money for two months?
I don’t know.
Okay. “Is there a problem with hate speech in the US? Should it be regulated as it is in many other democratic countries?”
Honestly, I think it should be regulated on social media first. I actually think they should be the pioneers because, as you know, in anonymity, it’s very different than if you yell “fire” in a theater, which is breaking the First Amendment. What I did is not breaking the First Amendment.
Do you believe in some regulation on social media?
On social media first and, frankly, I would like to see how it works there before you impose it on people. And being a comedian, we live in fear of free speech being limited in any way, and journalists of course. I want to have them try it online first.
I would like them to first get rid of bots, which they can do. The bots do gin up, you saw during the Samantha Bee/Roseanne Barr thing.
It was really interesting. The bots don’t care what side, they just want to create discord. They were doing the, “Rosanne is terrible,” and they were doing, “Sam Bee is terrible,” and then humans join in.
How come Americans don’t get their goal? It’s so transparent.
Well, I think a lot of people, a very well-known reporter I know was ...
I’m not telling you.
Yeah, Bret Stephens.
I knew it. I don’t trust Bret Stephens as far as I can throw him.
It’s not Bret Stephens, but anyway.
Who? Charlie Sykes?
No, I’m not telling you, it’s not.
Oh, not David Frum. You’re not believing his bullshit. “Axis of evil,” remember that shit? David Frum.
In any case, they were arguing with a bot and I had to text them and say, “Hey, that’s a bot you’re arguing with.”
You’re a good friend.
That’s a call I’d like to get.
I know, I will.
Argue with a bot and...
Let’s get to: “Kathy, are you single?”
I am single. And I’ve got to say, my boyfriend was a rockstar during the whole thing. And it sucks, we just broke up four months ago.
I don’t know why. All I can say is a relationship works until it didn’t. But he was a great guy and what’s ironic is I referred to him quite a bit in the film because he was with me for so many things.
Right, so you are single?
Fifty-eight. And are there any like 50-year-old, I want like a 50-year-old attorney, CPA. I want a real job, not you fucking venture capitalists with your apps. I want a dental plan.
I want a defined benefit plan, not bitcoin. What’s the matter with these people, bitcoin. Can you imagine? Bitcoin.
So you’re looking for a man.
They believed it?
You’re looking for a man.
I’m waiting for a man to be lucky enough to find me.
All right, okay, good. Well said. You said backstage, you’re close to being fluid, right?
If it would help my career, I’d turn fluid in a heartbeat, binary fluid, oh, and bipolar is very trendy. Yes, that’s my announcement, I’m bipolar and fluid.
Okay, well, you’re going to come to our lesbian parties now.
I wouldn’t miss a lesbian party!
All right, okay, all right. They’ll stick by you. You can join our Militia Etheridge.
I was hoping.
Okay: “Have you been able to persuade anyone from the other side’s opinion by sharing your story? Should we engage with racists, misogynists, etc.?”
No, not at all. Not at all. I have a ton of relatives that don’t talk to me. I will say that my ex’s parents are big Trumpers and they had news vans outside their house because his dad and he have the same name, so that didn’t help.
But I will say — this is the only funny story — but the amount of people that legit think I’m in ISIS to this day is sort of funny now, but it’s also shocking. But that day, my mom, my beloved mother, who I’m sorry to say is now in the throes of dementia, but I’m sure you know her and she was a national treasure.
And she watches Fox, like my mom.
She watches ... what the fuck, right?
What the fuck.
Do you ever yell at her?
All the time.
Right, me too. I was like, “I don’t care how sick you are, turn it off.” All right, so I’m a very good nurse. I’m a very good nurse. Anyway, my Mom that day calls me and it’s a crazy day and I’m crying and all sorts of stuff. And she calls me and she was watching Fox, but her hearing aids weren’t in because they would have hid the petals in her hair, it’s an old-person thing. And her vision was really going.
She goes, “I was watching my boyfriend, Sean Hannity, and he says you joined Al-Qaeda, and out of all the clubs you could have joined, dod damn it, why did you join Al-Qaeda?” So my own mother thought I had joined Al-Qaeda, as she says it, and then wanted me to take up stamp collecting or a normal hobby. It took like a good week to talk my own mother out of the fact that I’m not in ISIS.
“Kara, how does this career hit that Kathy endured impact the world of tech? What are the similarities between this and the Bezos thing?”
I think Bezos managed to hit back pretty hard himself. He did, he wasn’t putting up ... he is the world’s richest man so he does have assets, so to speak, to do that, right?
Yeah. He actually inspired me because I actually wrote a thread. I have a next-door neighbor that I’m in a civil suit with and he’s a Trumper and he stands at the wall, we have a shared wall.
That’s where the Kardashians used to live?
No, the other side. The Kardashians were a dream. I swear to God, I know that’s hard to believe.
They were neighbors.
But they were my next-door neighbors during this whole thing, which I hope if you see the film ... the stories that got cut — can I tell one story that ...
All right, hurry quickly, we only have time for one question.
All right, so get this. Kim is dumb as a box of rocks, but she’s super sweet, like really sweet. One day I called her and I said, “My mom’s really depressed, can you send the kids over?” And she did, and it was really sweet and stuff.
So the husband’s crazy, I call him Pabs because he thinks he’s Pablo Picasso and he writes “Pablo” on all his designer clothes. So anyway, he went on one of those 5150 cycles, which I’m this close to doing. That’s when you go to the nut bin and just rest. He came back and I never heard from Pabs, he’s not a talker. My then-boyfriend runs into the kitchen and he goes, “Holy shit, you’re not going to believe what Kanye just did.”
Well, who wouldn’t react to that? So I go, “What?” So Pabs comes home and of course I’m not going to bother him, it’s a serious day. He goes in the backyard and he goes, “AAAAHHHH,” like that. Loud, and then, like at level 10, he blares up fucking Enya, “Far and away, far and away, far and away, AAAAHHHH. Far and away, AAAAHHHH, far and away, far and away.” I can’t not tell you that, that’s why we need the First Amendment!
And your other neighbor?
Oh, the other neighbor stands at the wall and he calls me a cunt and a bitch and, “Oh, Trump put the heat on you, you bald dyke,” because I had shaved my head in solidarity with my sister who had passed away from cancer two days prior to the incident. Anyway, so I wrote a thread about it and I ran it by all my very expensive lawyers and I really was inspired by the Bezos media thing. I just thought, he’s a CEO of a very powerful company called KB Home and I thought, “Boy, I thought those ...” And his name is Jeffrey T. Mezger. Anyway, that’s all covered. It’s all covered.
So I thought, you know, I have so many friends that have been so much braver than I in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement, that I thought, “Well, what am I being quiet for because this guy’s so ... “ I’m about putting it out there.
Okay, all right, okay. So we just had this one.
“How do you spend your future days after this career hit? The documentary sounds brilliant” — and it is, by the way — “but will take time. Should you go to Greece and open a club?” I guess, like Lindsay Lohan.
Well, naturally I would have Lindsay be the CFO because she is someone you can count on, and the little dancing. I spend my days working and producing and writing and pitching. I have had more meetings and I have met with every network and streaming service. I actually, like I can’t believe I’m here. This is the only “yes” I’ve gotten in the year. So thank you, thank you.
You know, several dudes didn’t want to interview you, but I was just good with it, I was so good with it. Anyway, next question. “How do you feel about Meghan McCain?”
Oh, you know. She’s all right.
She’s all right? Okay.
You know, I don’t dislike her. I don’t like when she goes off, “Do you really want to be Venezuela?!” Like, “Okay, girl, calm down.” She does those Fox buzzwords.
Okay, all right. “First, thank you. Question: What’s the advice you give a young woman entering the workforce today?”
I give advice that is probably not welcome, but it’s real. I say, first of all, in comedy in particular, don’t do it unless you love it because you’re going to bomb more than you do well and if you don’t have a burning desire to do it, it’s probably not your thing, if you’re just using it as a stepping stone.
But what I also tell young women, especially women of color is, I just am honest. I’ll just say, “You’re not going to get equal pay.” These chicks that get 87 cents on the dollar, God love them. I get like a nickel on the dollar and it’s been like that my whole life. I just tell them, “You’re going to have to work harder and jump higher, and you’re going to have to watch the guys get paid more and they may be better, the same or lesser than you in their work capacity.”
I just think it’s better to be honest about that because I’m chairman of the new Time’s Not Up Yet campaign. I think Time’s Up is great, but I think frankly, under this administration, it’s struggling because it’s hard to get movement when you’ve got these two movements happening, MeToo and Time’s Up and then you’ve got this whole umbrella of complete sexism and Don Jr. like making fun of MeToo, etc.
I just say, “Know that you’ve got to work harder and get in there and dig in and do whatever it takes,” and it’s a lot of figuring out. Like, for me, I can’t get in the front door, so I figure out a way to get in the side window.
But I would also say, educate yourself. I took over my own promotion and my tour business because the white boys at Live Nation weren’t happy when I said, “I’d like to start promoting my own shows.” They said, “You think you’re a better promoter than us?” I said, “No, you have to accept that picture overnight made me a totally different type of artist. I can no longer play the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey, where I used to just go and make fun of the housewives.” The last tour had a specific message and they would put me in banner ads with Toby Keith. So I hired a DC marketing company. I started my first mailing list at the ripe age of 57, and text list. And that’s really what sold out the tour. I then started ...
You are a different kind of artist now. You’re not ...
I’m Hanoi Jane. In the way that Hanoi Jane, that photo, is with Jane to this day, I am very cognizant that that photo will be with me.
And your topics will change, right? Because you didn’t talk about politics, you talked about housewives and- ...
Yeah, some guy I was banging, or whatever.
Right. But you can’t do that now?
Well, I’m not banging anybody.
Okay. Last two questions, we only have a few seconds.
Yet! It’s early in the day.
Let’s see, which one, we have just one more left: “Have you considered crowdfunding the release of your movie?” If you can get into that very quickly, we’ll do one more.
No, because I have enough money and I don’t want hardworking people to give their money, you know what I mean? I also did a lot of charity stuff, like I did the tie-in with Trevor Project and American Cancer Society and Time’s Up. So I would do shows where ticket sales went to those events as well. I’m actually going to start a run in LA at the Laugh Factory, which is really how I got my first big break.
And even though I said I would never do clubs again, I’m going to do, there’s five Mondays in April, and it’s literally just going to be a new hour every week. The show is called Kathy Griffin, A New Hour Every Week because, if nothing else, I’m prolific. So maybe that will make the industry people go, “Oh, she’s not like these guy comics that need like two years to come up with 20 minutes.”
Right, last question here.
And I’m doing it for free, pro bono.
All right. We really have just one second to finish.
Don’t yell at me.
I won’t yell at you. I’m not yelling at you. I’m speaking in a quiet voice.
Can we call Dorsey just real quick?
No. One of the things ... I’m going to finish, one of the things in this movie, which I think is also very ... there’s sad parts of it. You can feel a sadness in it. And I want you to just comment on this and then we can get going and go to our parties and finding you a date.
Okay. At the lesbian party?
At the lesbian party. There’s some very attractive lesbians.
I’m pro lesbian. Pro, okay.
When you said in the movie, “I’m the girl who never learned a lesson.”
Yes, “I’m Kathy Griffin and I never learned my lesson.”
What does that mean? Should you learn your lesson?
No. And I’ll tell you why. All the things that I’ve done that a bunch of old white guys told me I shouldn’t have done, are the things that made me successful. That’s why I proudly say, I bought my house, $10.5 million cash, because I’m friends with Suze Orman and Suze says, “Girlfriend, if you can’t pay cash, that means you can’t afford it! Denied!”
She’s a lesbian, lesbian?
The ultimate, President Orman 2020, that’s my dream.
But also, I just think it’s important that women come out of the shadows about money and talk about how much they make because that’s how you’ll know what your market value is. You can’t just believe the guy who’s telling you.
Last question, do you regret any of this?
No. It’s still, should I have to deal with, like when I went to England there was a driver dude that took me from London Heathrow to the hotel. And he said he was Moroccan and that if we were in Morocco, he would cut my tongue off. This is a month ago. Of course, I thought I could talk him out of it and I said, “Are you aware that President Trump called all of Africa shithole countries?” He said, “I don’t believe it, he’s the greatest president in the history of America.” So that’s what you’re dealing with. I assume he gets his information from social media. I’m assuming that. Yeah, it was just all about ... that’s my new normal. Trying to get to a hotel before this guy cuts my tongue out.
Oh, wow, that’s a bummer, Kathy. Do you have a joke to tell?
I do have a joke because, No. 1, I filmed it and then I was in such a rage because the company was CLS Empire and I called the vice president and he was really cool about it and fired the guy and all this stuff. I said, “I am not going to be able to live with myself if I read a month from now some woman got her fucking tongue cut out.” I filmed me reading him the riot act. It’s a really fancy hotel and I’m screaming at him, “Oh, yeah, say it again, say you want to cut my tongue off. If you can get there first, if we don’t cut your dick off first, so it’s going to be a fucking horse race.” Admittedly, I look very ready for a 5150, but I’m glad I did it.
Kathy Griffin, everybody.
Kara Swisher, ladies and gentlemen.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.