More than four months after sparking nationwide outrage for posing with a replica of President Donald Trump‘s bloodied, decapitated head in her hand, Kathy Griffin has returned to stand-up — wearing none other than a Trump mask.
The 56-year-old comedian — who, in the wake of the scandal, was fired from CNN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast, which she had co-hosted with Anderson Cooper for 10 years — made her bold return to comedy Sunday night at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, taking the stage wearing a mask of the president’s face, though this one free of blood and gore.
Griffin was the opening act at the annual Aid for AIDS fundraiser Best in Drag Show. In videos taken by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Chris Gardner, she strutted out with both middle fingers in the air, wearing the mask and a bright blue dress with a large pussy bow, seemingly identical to the one she wore in the original severed-head photo taken by Tyler Shields.
She discarded the mask within seconds and tossed it on the floor.
“Hello gays! It’s me, Kathy Griffin, a genuine comedy fugitive,” she proclaimed to the audience. “Can you handle it?”
Griffin didn’t focus her set on Trump, instead choosing to skewer Harvey Weinstein, Billy Bush and the many “deplorables” who she said sent her death threats and hate mail after the photo went viral in May.
“I’m going to spill the f—ing tea,” she said. “I was part of an international scandal, under federal investigation for two months, my sister died, my dog died, and my mother turned on me. My mother took [Fox News host] Sean Hannity’s side. She was a little drunk. She goes, ‘Kathleen, I was watching my Fox News and do you know not one of those guys took your side. Not once.’ I said, ‘Yes.’ I got letters from them saying they wanted to shoot me in my c—.”
Griffin revealed that in the wake of the scandal, former Today show host Bush sent her a letter, presumably to offer advice and support as someone whose own Trump-related firestorm cost him his job. (Bush was fired last October after a leaked 2005 tape depicted the then-Access Hollywood host laughing while Trump made lewd and graphic comments about Nancy O’Dell and Arianne Zucker.)
“Would you like to hear my consolation note from none other than Billy f—ing Bush?” she asked.
” ‘Dear Kathy, I will skip my analysis of the moment and go to what matters,’ ” she said, adding, “like he did on that bus. I watched that tape again yesterday. Trump’s all, ‘Grab ’em by the p—y,’ and Billy goes, ‘Whatever you want.’ ”
“And then he [writes], ‘What’s happening here is that there’s no time for debate. Action goes straight into consequence,’ and then he goes in parentheses, ‘Even an off-the-cuff conversation 12 years ago…’ ” she continued. “Billy Bush is trying to be nice; I get it. I don’t want to be in your club.”
RELATED VIDEO: Harvey Weinstein Forced Out of Own Company After Sexual Harassment Allegations
Griffin then took aim at Weinstein, who was recently removed from his powerhouse film studio amid allegations of decades of sexual misconduct. (Weinstein responded to the accusations with a statement announcing he’s working with a therapist to address his issues head-on: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it,” he said. “Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”)
Weinstein’s then-attorney, Lisa Bloom, said in a statement last week that “he denies many of the accusations as patently false.”
“The Weinstein thing is just f—ing unbelievable, but I’m not afraid to say anything because I don’t appear in movies ever and no one will ever put me in one,” Griffin said. “That guy seems to be what’s called a rapist. I’m using it as a broad term. There’s a lot of them, and they are everywhere. So it’s time we started to f—ing look out for each other because this s— has been going on for way too long.”
Griffin ended her set with an anecdote involving her former CNN colleague Cooper, reading a vicious and profanity-filled letter a man sent them both, slamming him for “not supporting” Griffin throughout the controversy. (Griffin has since revealed she ended her nearly two decade-long friendship with Cooper after he publicly condemned her for the beheading photo.)
“I know people have the cellphones out, and this is going to be on Breitbart and the Daily Caller,” she said. “I don’t care, because I f—ing love you guys. What we all f—ing need is to f—ing talk to each other and laugh.”
In an in-depth interview with New York magazine’s The Cut in August, Griffin said she’s tired of apologizing for the severed-head photo.
“Why are people still expecting me to apologize and grovel to a man that tweets like this?” she said. “I’m a comedian; he’s our f—ing president.”
“President Trump just pardoned Joe Arpaio, who was essentially running a concentration camp in the Arizona desert,” she added. “He said there are some good Nazis, and he’s kicking out young adults who were brought here as kids by their parents, and I’m the one who has to continue to apologize?”