LAST May, Kathy Griffin — one of only three female comedians to win a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album — released a joke picture of herself holding what appeared to be the bloody, severed head of President Donald Trump.
Trump called down the thunder, brandishing her “sick” in a tweet, claiming the image traumatised his 11-year-old son, Barron.
The kerfuffle that ensued turned Griffin’s world upside-down. She had a live tour cancelled because of death threats. CNN cut her from a long-running gig she had co-hosting its New Year’s Eve show and she’s endured a federal investigation by the US Secret Service, which has consequences for her as she takes her gags on a world tour that comes to Dublin next month (November 8).
“I’m on the Interpol list,” she says over a phone-line from Melbourne, Australia.
“It means that I’m detained at every airport I go to like a terrorist. It’s unbelievable.
“I don’t mean to brag but it’s just me [that is being pilloried]. This has never happened to an American citizen in the history of the United States where a United States sitting president has used the power of the Oval Office, the First Family and the entire Department of Justice to target an American citizen and in Don Jr’s words ‘to decimate her’.
“I’ve been doing this for decades. Last year I did 80 cities on my Like a Boss tour in America so for me to be frightened all the time, everywhere I go — each country has its mores — and to know that when I go back home I don’t have a single day of paid work ahead of me in my own country.”
Griffin’s family is Irish American — her maternal grandparents are from Drogheda, Co Louth.
“I’m a full ginger,” she says. “Although I’m in Australia and here they say, ‘ranga’, which means a red head. I’m so pale you can pretty much see through me.”
As well as her stand-up comedy credentials, she has a long track-record of work in film and TV, including cameo performances in Pulp Fiction, The X-Files and Eminem’s ‘The Real Slim Shady’ music video.
HER history with Trump goes back a long way too: “You know I’ve known this moron for 20 years. You can look online and see me, Trump and freakin’ Liza Minnelli. I’m not proud of it.
“I have history with this fool. I definitely feel like it’s personal. Also I know the two sons. I’m not scared of them anymore. I think they don’t know what to do with me so they keep attacking me. You just can’t keep a good Mick down.”
Griffin may even find solace from an unusual source, she says, once she returns to her $10.5 million home in Los Angeles, California. Her next-door neighbours are Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
“How ironic is that — during this shit storm I’m next to those two? They’re like laughing at this — this is, like, nothing. Who knows? Maybe at, like, two in the morning I’ll just go next door and knock on the door and see if Kanye will give me a hug.
“I go over to their house, and they’d come over to my house and that’s just hilarious to me. I’ve been calling her and her family dirty whores for 15 years since she was doing Paris Hilton’s closet. So now, who knew? They’re like these nice people that live next to me. They’re nuts but they’re very fun neighbours.
“I can’t wait to tell the audience in Vicar Street some of my insider stories about them. Those stories even have tentacles. When you live next-door to Kanye West, I’m not kidding, you never know when 2 Chainz is going to come by or Frank Ocean. It’s always exciting.”