Halloween Special: The Kathy Griffin Interview

Welcome to the Gaslit Nation Halloween Special, which is not so different than a regular Gaslit Nation episode due to the 24-7 horror show we call the Trump administration! 

This week, Andrea and Sarah discuss the horrific extremist threats and violence of the past week as well as the constant encroaching repression of the administration’s extremist policies. We once again encourage everyone to get out and vote on November 6. Remember that a vote does not only help an individual candidate, but shapes the balance of power in Congress, determining what laws are passed. You are not only voting for yourself, but to help protect the rights of vulnerable Americans as well as preserve the integrity of our democracy. So vote!

This week’s guest on Gaslit Nation is comedian Kathy Griffin, who has been a target of the Trump administration ever since she posed for a photo holding up a Trump mask covered in ketchup, leading to her being labeled a terrorist by Trump and his supporters. We at Gaslit Nation do not condone this photo in any way – but neither does Kathy Griffin, who immediately apologized for the picture and who routinely condemns political violence. The administration’s treatment of Griffin, combined with its countenance of actual violent extremists, sheds light on serious threats to our national security as well as to freedom of speech. While the MAGAbomber cruised around the country threatening citizens but was ignored as a legitimate threat, Griffin was put on the Interpol list, interrogated by the FBI, and blacklisted by Hollywood. 

Speaker: I met him, 15 years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding in even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this... six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and... the blackest eyes - the Devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil.

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[Theme music]

Andrea Chalupa: You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a terrifying land of unimaginable horrors. Next stop: the Gaslit Nation Zone.

Sarah Kendzior: I am Sarah Kendzior, I’m a journalist who studies authoritarian states and the author of the book The View from Flyover Country.

Andrea Chalupa: And I’m Andrea Chalupa, a writer, filmmaker and activist, and this is the Gaslit Nation Halloween special.

Creepy music

Sarah Kendzior: Yup, and it’s sort of hard to compare with the news [laughs], which is terrifying—

Andrea Chalupa: —but we’re going to try! So happy anniversary, Sarah Kendzior.

Sarah Kendzior: Yes, happy anniversary.

Andrea Chalupa: Sarah and I met on Halloween in 2016, and I really believe that for the relationships that impact your life, the day you meet has some sort of symbolic—

Sarah Kendzior: [Laughs]

Andrea Chalupa: —meaning behind it. And ever since we met, it’s been just a nonstop house of horrors ever since.

 Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, this is true.

 Andrea Chalupa: That we’re trapped in.

Sarah Kendzior: We met, as you may recall, if you’ve listened to his podcast, the first three episodes were a recap of 2016, and we met due to the fact that on Halloween night, people were talking about the existence of a reported Trump sex tape, the famous kompromat tape, and we had both heard about that, and from our unfortunate, morbid curiosity into that incident, a beautiful friendship was born—

Andrea Chalupa: [Laughs]

Sarah Kendzior: —and a partnership. For the show, so..

Andrea Chalupa:  So, we are going to celebrate our friendship and our anniversary with what we love and know best, and that is Halloween and that it stands for. And so we have the clown from It hiding in the basement in a McDonalds in the White House—[Laughs]

Sarah Kendzior: [Laughs] Yes.

Andrea Chalupa: We have Rose Armitage in Get Out as his official advisor, that is of course Ivanka Trump.

Sarah Kendzior: Yes. We have Jared is obviously Damien from The Omen, and I don’t know I need to explain that, you can just look at 666 5th Avenue.

Andrea Chalupa: And then we have the media acting like the husband in Rosemary’s Baby, selling their unborn child for access.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, that, yeah, that or Night of the Living Dead or Dawn of the Dead where you just have a horde of algorithmic George Romero zombies.

Andrea Chalupa: Or the TV in Poltergeist.

Sarah Kendzior: Yep, we have Kavanaugh as Jack Torrance from The Shining because we all know the scariest thing about The Shining was not the haunted hotel but the abusive, alcoholic man who ruthlessly took out his anger on women.

Andrea Chalupa: And we have the MAGA zombies, who are that kid from The Ring.

Sarah Kendzior: Yes. And we have as Regan from The Exorcist, I think Sandra Huckabee Sanders, just projectile vomiting on stage on a daily basis. And then we have my favorite, and this is like why I think Stephen King is, like, you know, an underrated author, I’m a huge, huge, huge, Stephen King fan, and I feel like he saw this all coming, you know. And people kinda like they bring up The Dead Zone, you know, which you should read if you haven’t, about a lunatic very familiar type who becomes President.

Sarah Kendzior: The best Stephen King book, I think, for our time is The Stand. And that’s cause basically, like, Steve Bannon is Randall Flagg. And I’ve posted this on Twitter before, but i just want to read this, because there’s something quintessentially American about Stephen King as a horror novelist, you know, in the same way like Mark Twain is quintessentially American, where they, they capture, you know, the darkest underbelly of our political culture and turn it into fiction. So, this is unfortunately where we are this week, so about Randall Flagg, the villain of Stand: “He walked south, south on US 51, the worn heels of his sharp-toed cowboy boots clacking on the pavement; a tall man of no age in faded, pegged jeans and a denim jacket. His pockets were stuffed with fifty different kinds of conflicting literature-pamphlets for all seasons, rhetoric for all reasons. When this man handed you a tract you took it no matter what the subject: the dangers of atomic power plants, the role played by the International Jewish Cartel in the overthrow of friendly governments, the CIA-Contra-cocaine connection, the farm workers' unions, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Blacks for Militant Equality, the Kode of the Klan. He had them all, and more, too. There was a button on each breast of his denim jacket. On the right, a yellow smile-face. On the left, a pig wearing a policeman's cap. The legend was written beneath in red letters which dripped to simulate blood: HOW'S YOUR PORK? He moved on, not pausing, not slowing, but alive to the night. His eyes seemed almost frantic with the night's possibilities. There was a Boy Scout knapsack on his back, old and battered. There was a dark hilarity in his face, and perhaps in his heart, too, you would think-and you would be right. It was the face of a hatefully happy man, a face that radiated a horrible handsome warmth, a face to make water glasses shatter in the hands of tired truck-stop waitresses, to make small children crash their trikes into board fences and then run wailing to their mommies with stake-shaped splinters sticking out of their knees. It was a face guaranteed to make barroom arguments over batting averages turn bloody.” So yeah, that’s The Stand. This is a, this is like my self-care, I know that seems to be like going to the spa or getting manicures or whatever, but honestly, since the election I’ve just been losing myself in Stephen King novels because at least they’re, unlike in the press, you see sort of a questioning to morality and to the nature of evil, and not just obviously supernatural evil, but the evil that man can do. And, you know, kind of freaks me out, though, that these descriptions of these individuals are so kind of resonant with our time.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah. Without question. And, you know, since this is the Halloween issue, I want to share a nightmare that I had a couple months ago. So follow me if you will, into the catacombs of my mind. So I had this nightmare that this Death Eater was hovering over these children, my children—I don’t have children, but in the dream, these were my children—and they were in bed, and this Death Eater just kept barreling down on the kids and terrifying them. And meanwhile, this orange Humpty-Dumpty clown was bouncing around manically laughing. And so what it really symbolized was that Trump is a tool of a greater evil that is spreading around the world, and we’re seeing that now in Brazil with the President that’s out-Trumping Trump and in other parts of the world, it’s just this—we’re entering some very scary times. As I wrote in, in—I tweeted in December 2016 that, December 2016, I said, “Four years from now we’ll have a new world order.” And we’re headed there. And the people that are gonna be in charge, I—is it gonna be the Death Eaters? I don’t know. But it’s our children that are on the line, and it’s the children that are getting hardest hit right now on the border, and it’s just going to get worse. And so to those who are in free countries, like Canada, to our Canadian listeners, you are in an absolute paradise right now, just understand that every lever of power that you have in your local community, you need to work your hearts out right now to turn Canada into a progressive paradise. Pass all the laws that you can for, you know, combating climate change, fight for higher living wages, just really turn Canada into a progressive paradise. Take advantage of everything you have now, don’t take anything for granted like we did here in the US to get to this crisis point, because you have to now lead the world forward. And it’s not, we’re not going to win the war in the culture, like we have the filmmakers, we have the artists, we have all the, the fearless thinkers on our side. That’s why the intelligentsia always gets killed off first. Where the battle has always been in these big fights is law, in the legal system. So change your laws, improve your laws, reform your laws, don’t take anything for granted, make it a progressive paradise. Be the world leader that we desperately need you to be right now, and take absolutely nothing for granted. You’re seeing your American neighbors knocking on doors, making phone calls, you all need to do that now in Canada to fight for the laws that you need to pass to improve the world on our behalf. Like really take advantage of all the representatives in your government who think like you. Bang on their doors, get in their faces, sit in their offices and say, “Hey, we can be doing more for climate change, we can be far more aggressive on this, etc., etc.” Just please, fight like your lives depend on it now, and any little tremor of a Steve Bannon Death Eater darkness taking over your country, fight it as soon as it arises, and don’t be afraid of being called crazy because the alarmists were proved right.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, the same goes for all of these countries that are enduring what we’re enduring now in the US with the election a week away. You know, which is a minority, a tyranny of the minority, a government that doesn’t represent the people. And you see this everywhere, you know, there are equivalents to people like me and Andrea in Turkey, in Poland, in Hungary, in the UK, in all of these countries that, you know, are currently facing extreme right wing takeovers of their government. You’re seeing people lose their rights. You’re seeing people who had taken their rights for granted realize how fragile they are. And I think just as a, as a society in general to people who care about human rights, you know, who want a future, who are envisioning building a future for the next generation, we have to keep fighting. You know, as difficult and as heartbreaking as this time is and especially as this last week is, there’s not choice. And you know, the fight is not just about winning for the sake of winning. It’s about being able to live with yourself whether you win or lose. It’s about values and clarity of conscience that goes above just simple gains. And I think that that’s what sustains you when you’re in a situation like this.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, and Sarah and I have these conversations all the time. Even just before we started recording, we’re talking about George Orwell wrote his two greatest works, Animal Farm and 1984, when the entire world had collapsed around him, in the 1930s and 1940s with World War II, and he fought to publish Animal Farm when his wife died suddenly in routine surgery. So he was suddenly a single father, raising their adopted son, and you know, lost the love of his life and his muse, and so Orwell in his despair kept fighting, and that gave birth to his two greatest masterpieces that we continue to rely on to make sense of what’s going on in the world, so never, ever, ever, ever give up and just keep fighting and keep building. And if you’re in a country like that doesn’t have a Trump takeover yet, fight like hell to make your country a progressive paradise with some of the most aggressive laws in combating the evils impacting the world today, so you could really set the standard and lead the world forward. And if this evil can spread, then the goodness can spread too.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, absolutely. And again, to reiterate, you know the point of this is not “let’s beat down the Republicans, let’s beat down Trump.” The point is protecting people, especially protecting the most vulnerable people, and creating societies where people can be free, where they can pursue opportunity, where they can be safe from violence. You know, those are the things that we want. Everyone likes to portray this as sort of a two-sides brawl. But it’s a lot more complicated than that. And I think that if we, if we reflect on our values, of why we are fighting this, which, you know, unlike the Republican side, we’re not just fighting to, you know, make the Trump supporters feel bad, or something, which seems to be a primary motivation of some of the people committing violent or threatening actions. It’s so that we can have a better quality of life, the quality of life that we deserve. I think sometimes we forget about what we deserve. And we deserve officials who will represent us, we deserve our constitutional rights to be respected, we don’t deserve to be treated like crap, and that’s what’s been happening—before Trump, but especially under this administration. So never forget that you deserve more than what they tell you, and then fight for that, because you are entitled to that.

Andrea Chalupa: Absolutely. And to our American listeners, as Hillary Clinton tweeted, this is our last chance to defend our democracy, November 06, the midterms, please get involved now, we have been telling our listeners about crushthemidterms.org, and telling everyone to go there. We’re going to now introduce a new site, for everyone to go to in addition to crushthemidterms.org. We believe that this site is incredibly effective as well in linking up with people and canvassing, going door to door, the most effective way to get out the vote and win voters. And that is moveon.org, we love MoveOn, we have great friends there, and that site is act.moveon.org, act.moveon.org. Go there, link up with an event near you, and go help flip some districts, cause we desperately to at least, at the very least, take over the House. because canvassing is so critical, we have a special contest going, so we have two contests that we’re going for Get Out the Vote for these last chance midterms. And the first contest is if you go to crushthemidterms.org and make your plan in a matter of seconds on how you’re going to create the blue wave on November 06 and you tweet it to us, you will be entered automatically into a contest to win a signed copy of Sarah’s book, The View from Flyover Country, thats the first contest. The second one is, if you are knocking on doors, and you tweet a photo at us, @GaslitNation, on Twitter, and, and let us know you’re knocking on doors, then we’re going to select three winners from the photos we get, and those winners will be invited to come on Gaslit Nation and share your dreams for our country. Cause we are in it for the long haul. We really, you know, the house is on fire, and we need to not only put out the fire, but then rebuild it. And rebuild it stronger and more progressive than ever before. So, alright. So we’re going to announce now the winner of the Crush the Midterms challenge. It’s always something festive and exciting here. And that winner is… OK, so tell me when to stop, Sarah.

Sarah Kendzior: Stop.

Andrea Chalupa: Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, OK, OK, so the winner of the Crush the Midterms Challenge, you get a signed copy of the book, is… David Ha. Congratulations, @hazeotrope on Twitter. We love you, David Ha! And you’ll get your signed copy of Sarah’s book as soon as she—

Sarah Kendzior: DM your address.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, DM your address, and we’ll show up on your doorstep.

Sarah Kendzior: [Laughs]

Andrea Chalupa: For a group hug. OK, and so we have an exciting Halloween extravaganza celebration. Sarah and I met up with THE Kathy Griffin for an interview. We cover a lot of the recent horrendous events of the resurgence of Nazism in America, with Kathy. And we talk about how, you know, winter isn’t coming, winter is here. Everyone’s talking about how authoritarianism is coming to America—no, it’s here.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah.

Andrea Chalupa: It’s a—it’s authoritarianism lite, but it’s here. And there’s no greater proof of that than the massive abuse of power that our taxpayer’s money is funding to go after Trump’s enemies and his vindictive enemies list. And Kathy, you know, we, Sarah and I absolutely do not condone the infamous photo where Kathy Griffin held up a mask of Trump’s head. We do not condone that, we think, especially in this climate, we have to be so sensitive, and it’s a powder keg now in America. And the only way we’re going to move forward together, as a movement, is through peace. Peace is the way. And that’s how the civil rights movement was done. I mean, the Southern states turned that, in the civil rights movement, into a war-zone. People put their lives on the line. But the reaction of—the way to confront that, the way things move forward was through peace. It was through peace. It was the peace that overcame.

Sarah Kendzior: Peace and law. Peace and, you know, making laws that protect people so that they’re able to live peaceful lives and not be attacked by mob violence, and discrimination, and other systemic problems. But yes, at heart, I agree with you, that, you know, you have to be careful about the impression you want to give, and just to be very clear, we do not want anyone to assassinate Trump—

Andrea Chalupa: Or anybody!

Sarah Kendzior: Or anybody.

Andrea Chalupa: Or anyone.

Sarah Kendzior: This is an anti-assassination show. So… [Laughs]

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah. Violence is self-destructive. Conflict is self-destructive. If you are an activist working to save your country, save democracy in America, you are first and foremost and peacemaker. You are a peace-worker. We’re all peace-workers now. And that was what was shown to us through the example of Martin Luther King and many others. And, and that’s the only way out of this.

Sarah Kendzior: Although I have to show one thing in this concerning the interview, is that anger and violence are not the same thing. And I’m pro-anger, I’m pro-rage.

Andrea Chalupa: Yes, this is very enraging.

Sarah Kendzior: Because, you know, rage is often an expression of compassion for people who are being hurt. And there are many thing that we should be angry about. It’s a normal human reaction to pain and to horror and to violence. So we’re not saying, like, chill out, it’s cool, just smile and put on a happy face, and all will work out well. That’s not what’s going to happen. You know, you’re going to have to fight. We’re basically just saying, you know, don’t go out and you know, shoot people, which is apparently a common reaction to our political problems these days. That kind of violence is horrifying, you know, we condemn it, and we condemn these little, you know, memes and things that make light of the situation and that encourage people of unstable mind to actually go out and commit these actions in reality, which is why, you know, Kathy’s story is particularly interesting. This week, of course, was the week of the MAGA bomber, a guy who for years drove a van around the United States with pictures of Democrats who he had viewed as targets and had designated as targets on his van. He had tweeted threats to them, he had tweeted threats of murder to numerous people, and then, of course, and he went and made good on those threats. He sent actual bombs to many of the individuals in question. And so, this guy apparently who did have a criminal record, he had a record in domestic violence, I think he had a record of, you know, trying to bomb people in the past. You’d think he would have been on the radar of the FBI, the police, you know, the Secret Service even. But no. He was doing this out in the open, and meanwhile, Kathy Griffin is on the Interpol list. And Kathy Griffin is, you know, in—unable to take commercial planes, and going through all this. So there really is a dichotomy here where we’re not taking threats from actual militant individuals who intend to carry out acts of physical violence seriously enough, and we’re focusing on celebrities and people who make offhand comments, and people who make mild criticism or confront Republicans in restaurants, and trying to treat that as if it’s somehow equivalent or as big a threat as the actual people making threats—just, it’s simply not. We have to stop this “both sides” nonsense. It’s destructive, it detracts from the actual threat, and it turns people, it plays into this rhetoric of Trump about enemies of the state, and about people, you know, murder being justified, and—I mean, it’s just a horrible environment, and I think we all realize that after last week’s event, I’m not sure I need to spell this out anymore clearly, but you’ll hear of it in the interview.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah. And Kathy Griffin, she apologized for what she did. Trump continues to fan the flames of hatred, and white supremacist terrorist groups continue to be the number one terrorists in America. Trump’s base is terrified of terrorists crossing the border. They’re already here! His base is the biggest threat to America.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah.

Andrea Chalupa: And I wanted to say: if you were outraged by the Kathy Griffin photo, you should be also outraged by what she has been put through by the US government. Our tax dollars paid for Kathy Griffin to be relentlessly harassed. The DO—the Department of Justice had a file on her. The Feds interrogated her. For, for—there was a very long negotiation with, between her lawyer and the US government. And they wanted to create a perp walk, where she was all handcuffed. They wanted to humiliate her and absolutely crush her, because that’s what authoritarian regimes do. They destroy anybody they see as an opponent . They try to crush your spirit and silence you and destroy you. She apologized, and her career suffered terribly. She lost dear friendship, and it really put her through absolute hell. And that’s happening to a lot of people who are sticking their necks out right now. And that’s not normal. None of this is normal. And so what we really want to draw attention to is the other side of that infamous Kathy Griffin photo, the side that very few people realize just how disturbing this is and what it means about where we are right now in America. So, again, and everybody online, you know, people who are liberals, who are progressive, who, you know, called out Kathy Griffin for that photo, you should also be calling the Trump regime for how, the hell that they put her through. And I just want to say, you know, obviously the Secret Service, obviously the United States Government, they have a composite of the type of person that would assassinate a President. They know what that type is like. They know what threats are most likely credible. Kathy Griffin is a provocateur. She has a long history of, of crazy scandalous stunts. She did the Ice Bucket Challenge completely naked, and, like, spread-eagle, OK? [Laughs] This is Kathy Griffin. She is not someone that is, is some underground hate group that is all loaded with ammo and playing, like, militia. She is a provocateur, very clearly. And the fact that they treated like a terrorist, as, as, you know, a top threat—she was put on the No Fly List, along with other terrorists—that’s not normal. None of that is normal. So, again, if you’re outraged over the photo, you should be absolutely incensed over this and what she was put through and what our tax dollars were wasted on. So with that, let’s go to our Kathy Griffin interview.

Theme Music

Andrea Chalupa: So, we are here with Kathy Griffin—hello—the queen of Gaslit Nation—


Kathy Griffin: I love it! You know, I used to be a mere D-list celebrity, you know. I was really perfectly happy, until I became a high-ranking member of ISIS, which is what the far-right wing will have you think. So, you know, while that situation almost did really, truly ruin my life, and it’s an ongoing situation for me, because it’s such a bizarre thing, that even I, through all my years of doing stand-up and all the crazy, sort of show business situations I’ve been in, never could have imagined that the sitting President would make history in a very bad way by, you know, just targeting an American citizen and trying to decimate her. And that—those are the words of Don Jr.—as I call him, Eddie Munster. And, sure enough, ever since they have tried to ruin me, and make me unemployable and uninsurable, and now all this stuff is coming out about how they were clearly in bed with everything from TMZ, a show business, like, guilty pleasure blog, and then you find out there’s a blogger, Harvey Levin, a gay man, who’s a full MAGAt, which I can’t understand at all—

Andrea Chalupa: And you’re a major advocate for gay rights—

Kathy Griffin: Of course. I don’t know what he thinks this party, this President would ever hold for him, but he’s very proud of the friendship, and admitted that he speaks to the President—

Andrea Chalupa: There are gay Nazis. There are gays Nazis.

Kathy Griffin: Yes. That’s right. So, unfortunately, you know, I didn’t think Roseanne Barr would turn out to be a Nazi, so I don’t know what’s going on, but, in any event, you know, one of the reasons I like doing the Laugh Your Head Off Tour, is obviously by the title I’m leaning into the photo, I’m not not talking about the elephant in the room. But also, like you ladies, I’m frustrated by how people are normalizing this behavior, and as someone who is living under the specter daily, and, like I said, like it or not, my story is historic. And when the Department of Justice stepped in, the the day after the photo, and put me under an open investigation and were considering me and treating me like they could charge me—and, and they could’ve if they wanted to, and a lot of people don’t know this is what they did—I did an interrogation under oath with the Feds. Two federal agencies: the Secret Service and the A-USA. So the AUSA was ready to prosecute if they found any evidence, and the charge was conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States, which holds a life sentence. So that’s never happened. I mean, gotta love Lenny Bruce, he’s one of heroes, but, you know, the cops would arrest him and then let him go. Like my good friend Stormy Daniels, what happened in Columbus, that whole BS thing. But never before has it happened, and of course I think there’s no coincidence it happened to a 57-year-old female comedian.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah—

Kathy Griffin: —sorry, I think there’s quite a bit of ageism and misogyny thrown in with this crowd.

Andrea Chalupa: I want to say very quickly—so, two things here. So first of all, the—Trump himself has threatened the life of Hillary Clinton multiple times, multiple times—

Kathy Griffin: —yes.

Andrea Chalupa: Multiple times.

Kathy Griffin: With impunity.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah. And so what you did, the famous photograph, you holding up a severed head of Trump. It’s like that guillotine image, the French Revolution image. It’s on par with the Charlie Hebdo cover—

Kathy Griffin: Right.

Andrea Chalupa: From France.

Kathy Griffin: And trust, me, I, I had crazy thoughts or ideas that the photographer, Tyler Shields—I had no idea he would give it to TMZ, and he wouldn’t give me the copyright, and he has a series on Netflix now. But—

Andrea Chalupa: —did you feel set up by him?

Kathy Griffin: Um… I felt set up after the photo. I mean, first of all, it really was a mask with ketchup, so, I actually a bit about it in my show, but I even have to tell people, like, it wasn’t an actual head—

Andrea Chalupa: —right.

Kathy Griffin: Like if I’ve at least convinced you it wasn’t Trump head—

Andrea Chalupa: —right.

Kathy Griffin: —because, you know, I’m not a surgeon, but I don’t think he would survive that. You know, getting past all the notions that I would even be in ISIS to begin with—but, things get so crazy that, I, I thought the picture was so over the top. And, you know, I’ve been in sort of Hollywood fake controversies before, but I—what I didn’t realize at the time—and, by the way, the photo was released days about Mueller was positioned—and—

Andrea Chalupa: —which means days after Comey was fired.

Kathy Griffin: Yes.

Andrea Chalupa: Which was a purge.

Kathy Griffin: Which was a perfect time to find a target like me. And I think, that, you know, I’ve known Trump since the 90s, I met him when he had three lines on Suddenly Susan, a sitcom I was on with Brooke Shields, he’s hired me twice to roast him, I know the grown kids, I don’t know the little kid, but I know the wife—you know, all of them. And so, I’ve had many many run-ins with him, I’ve sat next to him for four hours at a Larry King roast one night, you know—just would run into him at NBC Universal events all the time during The Apprentice, etc. etc. So, once again, the idea that he kind of acted like this was so shocking—and, by the way, I love that you went to Charlie Hebdo and Der Spiegel places, cause of course I had a dream of, like, doing something artsy, or you could call it a joke, or you could just call it offensive. But Hillary Rodham Clinton actually mentioned in her audiobook that she was surprised by the outcry because it was clearly a send-up of Perseus and Medusa, which I am too stupid to know.


Kathy Griffin: I thought that I was actually ironically sticking out for that pain in the ass Megyn Kelly, who I have no love for, but as you know, what he’s famously said was, “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of wherever”—

Andrea Chalupa: —a red wave.

Kathy Griffin: That’s right. I thought, well, OK, let’s get a mask and see how he likes it when there’s blood coming out of his wherever, seven people will see this picture, a couple people comment on my Twitter, “You go, girl,” and that’s usually how my life goes.

Andrea: Yeah—and, yeah, it is debatable whether you would have the same outcry in France. They would have probably just not paid that much attention.

Kathy Griffin: No, that’s why I was able to tour successfully overseas. And after I was taken off the No Fly List, which I was on for two months—that’s also unprecedented—I was then detained at every single airport, and I went to 15 countries in 23 cities. So the shows went really well, and you’re right, everywhere overseas, all they do the minute they hear an American accent is they say, “What the hell are you guys doing over there?” And you have to try and explain gerrymandering—

Andrea Chalupa: —it’s worse than you think! I always tell them it’s worse than you—

Kathy Griffin: Yeah, yeah.

Andrea Chalupa: And the Electoral College and the—

Kathy Griffin: Right. And it kind of started with the Civil Rights Act, and they’ve been chipping away from the bottom up, and our team seems to think from the top down, and I remember one woman at a café, like, broke my heart. She said, “You know, oh all the Americans say they didn’t vote for Trump.” And I’m such a bitch. I took my phone out, and I showed her the picture. And she’s like, “Oh, you’re her.”

Andrea Chalupa: [Laughs]

Kathy Griffin: “Oh, you’re her. You really didn’t vote for him.” So, you know, it did serve a purpose in one café in Antwerp.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, yeah. So I wanted to say—so Sarah and I had this conversation, especially in the light of the news today, yet another Nazi shooting. So you were targeted for that photo.

Kathy Griffin: Yes. I was targeted by the MAGA bomber.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, by the MAGA bomber.

Kathy Griffin: Yes.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, so we’ll get into that. But I just want to say, you apologized—

Kathy Griffin: —yes.

Andrea Chalupa: You suffered, you suffered, you, you cooperated with the Feds—

Kathy Griffin: —yes.

Andrea Chalupa: You went through the wringer, with our—it was some authoritarian targeting of you. It’s not just you cooperating with the Feds, the Feds are really coming after you and making an example of you—

Kathy Griffin: —the President—

Andrea Chalupa: —and punishing you.

Kathy Griffin: Right, and I, I did not break the law in any way. I did not violate the First Amendment in any way. And, as I like to joke, I know the First Amendment back and forth, honey. I may not know the other ones, but I know that first one back and forth because it’s my commodity, and there’s a reason it’s the first.

Andrea Chalupa: And so the point Sarah and I were making earlier today was Kathy came out and owned that—

Kathy Griffin: [Laughs]

Andrea Chalupa: —and she suffered for it. Her career suffered for it, her—

Kathy Griffin: —friendships.

Andrea Chalupa: Her mental health suffered for it, because you were put—

Kathy Griffin: —yes.

Andrea Chalupa: —through hell.

Kathy Griffin: Well I’m still blacklisted in Hollywood. I still can’t anyone to do a television special, you know, I have the Guinness Book of records—the record, I’m actually the record holder for having done more televised stand-up comedy specials than any comedian, male or female, living or dead. Cause I always wanted to debunk that theory that chicks aren’t funny.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, yeah.

Kathy Griffin: So I thought, alright, I’ll be in the Guinness freaking Book of World Records, and  still, I’m considered scary and toxic in Hollywood, by the actual check signers.

Andrea Chalupa: Still?

Kathy Griffin: Yeah.

Andrea Chalupa: Well, well, they’re not that important, we will get to them later.

Kathy Griffin: [Laughs]

Andrea Chalupa: But I do want to say, you’ve owned that, you’ve apologized, you haven’t put out a series of more severed head photos.

Kathy Griffin: No.

Andrea Chalupa: Meanwhile, Trump, Trump when a synagogue gets shot up—

Kathy Griffin: Yeah.

Andrea Chalupa: —when a baby is having, you know—when a family is having one of the most important, most special personal moments in the history of that line of their family. A neo-Nazi—like a crazy—just comes in and shoots the place up. And Trump is not owning anything.

Kathy Griffin: He’s not apologizing.

Andrea Chalupa: He’s absolutely shameless.

Kathy Griffin: First of all, I don’t believe religious houses of worship should have armed guards, just as I don’t believe a school should. And if anyone knew any statistics, especially if you’re a woman, I think it’s something crazy, like you’re 95 percent more likely to have your own gun turned on you by a male that you know. So there’s a statistic that women—you know, they really suppress that in NRA with Danielle Loesch, or whatever her name is, who sells by the way sells beet powder on the side. I don’t know if you know this.

Andrea Chalupa: What powder?

Kathy Griffin: Beet. I’m not kidding. Like protein powder.

Andrea Chalupa: Oh.

Kathy Griffin: Yeah. So she’s—

Andrea Chalupa: —what is up with, like, Alex Jones and, like, the far-right—

Sarah Kendzior: —Kathy supplements the whole, money on the side thing—


Kathy Griffin: I mean, is it right? Is it lame guns or supplements, Dana? And you know, as you know, she’s been famously quoted on tape as saying, oh these mass shootings are great for our NRA moms, and she’s an attractive woman, and so, their whole game is becoming more clear. But I feel like I’m just in a position where I kind of have no choice to tell at least my reality, so I make a promise to the audience, and I say, “Look. I do a very long show.” And first of all, I do apologize for that to the audience. Because I say, “I—you’re allowed to take as many bathroom breaks as you’d like,” but my show has now ballooned to three hours—

Andrea Chalupa: —wow.

Kathy Griffin: —because things keep unfolding, you know—I mean there’s a lot of funny that is still unfolding, and I can make fun of Sarah Fuckabee Sanders all day, just for fun. But, on the other hand, you know, the fact that, you know, I’m looking at a tweet from the MAGA bomber, from June, meaning, you know, here’s this crazy guy, Nazi, you know, running around—although he doesn’t—he’s Filipino. Like he doesn’t know he’s brown. He’s a brown person.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kathy Griffin: So I, you know, and that’s his biggest fear, is that we’re going to be overtaken by various levels of brown people. [Laughs] I say, can’t come fast enough.


Kathy Griffin: ‘Cause let’s start becoming the minority. I need Whitey to be the minority, and I also have asked every male that I know to just let women run everything for two years. This is my political platform. It’s the two-year plan, and then we’ll slowly give it back to the guys, and a lot of gay men are on board, already—

Andrea Chalupa: —of course they are.

Kathy Griffin: Of course! Of course, leading the way every time. So anyway, I do tell the audience stuff like, the MAGA bomber tweet thing. And of course, it’s a comedy show, and I work on weaving in a way that isn’t horrifying to them, I so make maybe a joke about myself after, but I do think it’s important that they know, because sometimes people really—they really gasp.

Sarah Kendzior: Right.

Kathy Griffin: And also it’s now, it’s now anyone. Anyone can be subject of these guys’ ire. I mean, like you said, folks just going to the house of worship or school, and yet they—they ramp up the rhetoric each time.

Sarah Kendzior: And I feel like there’s this weird situation where people like Trump or the alt-right get these endless second chances, and all of their rhetoric is normalized, even though it’s leading to results like this, it’s leading to synagogues getting shot up. It’s leading to, you know, the lunatic in the van driving around, like, you know, all the mysterious—

Kathy Griffin: —can I stop with one thing, and I’m going to get in trouble for this. I’m sorry, I gotta call BS. Like where was Miami PD and Miami FBI? I’m sorry. And look, I’m a big fan of all of it. I believe in government, even with everything I’ve been through, with having a lifetime prison sentence over my head. I thank God for the FBI, they saved my life. I’m working with them again with this incident, but I just, I’ve played this out many, many times, I will tell you, when I have seen vans with even close to that, maybe even one Confederate flag sticker, I’m scared like hell, and I’m thinking, you know, if I’m on my way to a show, I’m thinking, alright, I can’t stay in town, and like fight this battle. But where—I’m sorry—where are all the police officers and FBI and former FBI, and frankly security guards—where were all those people, you know that saw that van on a daily basis, and I watched the interview with the lesbian general manager of the pizza parlor place that he was the delivery guy for, and you know, God love her, she says, “I’m a proud lesbian, and you know, he would tell me if he could, he would burn me, you know, well I mean we did have political views, but I couldn’t fire him for that.” And I’m watching Kate Baldwin, and you can tell she’s thinking, “Uh, Ma’am, know your rights. You may think you can’t  fire someone for political reasons, but if your subordinate has threatened to burn you because you’re gay, you’re allowed to fire him.” And then—and I know this is—I’m going to get in trouble for this too, but welcome to America—her response is like, “Well he was on time, and there was no theft,” and I’m like, OK, really? Is that what we’ve come to? So, that’s one of the things I’m struggling with, is I find it hard to believe there aren’t hundreds of people who saw that van, and kinda gave it a secret thumbs up.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, I mean, that’s what’s mystifying. You know, we’ve talked to you, you had a photo, it was a parody, a political statement—

Kathy Griffin: —and it’s still at every Trump rally.

Sarah Kendzior: —you have no track record, you have no criminal record, you never threatened to decapitate anyone—

Kathy Griffin: Never.

Sarah Kendzior: —you’ve never been arrested, you’ve never threatened to assassinate anyone. This dude has a criminal record, he had threatened to bomb people, he’s driving around the country with literal, like, targets put on politicians heads, and then sends them actual bombs—like, like, I’m with you.

Kathy Griffin: Yeah.

Sarah Kendzior: I don’t understand why you were taken seriously as a threat.

Kathy Griffin: Yes.

Sarah Kendzior: Like at Interpol level threat. And this guy is just cruising around—

Kathy Griffin: —absolutely.

Sarah Kendzior: —in some obvious, you know, serious problem, and then it did become one.

Kathy Griffin: It’s ‘cause he’s white. I mean, if, let’s cut the shit, if he was black he would have been dead a long time ago. He would have been dead the first arrest.

Andrea Chalupa: Oh, absolutely.

Kathy Griffin: And he sure as hell would be dead now. So, you know, once again, it’s, it’s hard to have to watch the people of color community have to once again watch the police—I don’t want to say, you know, gingerly take him out, they shot him and everything—but it’s a reality. What game are we playing? It’s always the same type of white guy.

Andrea Chalupa: Right, right.

Kathy Griffin: So let’s cut the shit. You know, it’s not going to be a woman, and all the left wingers with their crazy, like trying to spin it for a Bernie fan and all this stuff, and then, you know, I’m sure you’ve seen the interviews at rallies—which, by the way, at what point do we stop interviewing the same 8,000 people that keep going to the same rallies.

Sarah Kendzior: Yes!

Kathy Griffin: In the same towns. Because, you know, as you know, the MAGA bomber also attended, I believe, three rallies. So it’s not like Trump is building his base. But let’s stop giving these idiots, you know, the air time. Cause it’s not the other America or the real America.

Andrea Chalupa: Right. What I don’t think they’re covering enough—or barely at all—and what our international audience needs to try to understand is that American right now is being held hostage—

Kathy Griffin: —mmhmm.

Andrea Chalupa: —by a minority.

Kathy Griffin: Yep.

Andrea Chalupa: We’re being terrorized by the minority. And so I don’t understand—why do you think that the New York Times especially, writes all these Nazi fetish pieces, when they should be digging into the roots of the issue, which is of course, the Electoral College, you know, the—how Wyoming has as much voting power in Congress as in, as California, the population differences. So Americans, in terms of what our preferences are politically, are far more liberal—there’s more of us than there are of them—

Kathy Griffin: —absolutely.

Andrea Chalupa: But so we are in hostage situation, so could you speak about that, why the Nazi pieces, and why not the root of the issue?

Kathy Griffin: Well, I mean, first of all, the publisher of the Times is a male, and the editor at large is a male, and I think—you guys, I’m sure you know about that—it was Glenn Thrush that was finally kind of turfed out, kinda of half-ass, and I would think that there may be some women reporters there that are, as my friend Gloria Steinem would say, colonized, because after the election, you know, I went to Steinem, and I said, “How, how, how did this happen? And how the fuck did 53 percent of white women vote for this guy? How?” And she said, “These have to be women that have been colonized. It doesn’t matter if they’re upscale or if they went to an Ivy League school, they can be colonized just like a woman in a trailer park who thinks she has not options.” And I am so disheartened as a lifelong feminist to realize that’s where we are. But I think the Times has to be a lot more blatant in their reporting because it is reporting. Use the word “Nazi.” That’s what it is. And also, you know, even the word “nationalist” is being kinda normalized, because anyone who isn’t politically engaged at all might think, “Well, I love this nation. I must be a nationalist.”

Sarah Kendzior: Right.

Kathy Griffin: And you know, Trump is counting on that, and his entire Cabinet. I’m reading—I’m about halfway through the Bob Woodward book, and it is unbelievable. I mean, it’s, it’s—I can’t put it down, ‘cause it’s like a crazy novella from an insane asylum. And somehow the heroes are Rob Porter and Gary Cohn, so that’s not a good sign.

Andrea Chalupa: That’s when you know you’re off a cliff.

Kathy Griffin: That’s right, that’s right. But what I’m not sure of is, and I’ve thought about this a lot, is the people that are really enjoying being off the cliff. You know, like I said, people that go out of their, you know, to come at me, and I guarantee you, in my personal case, I’ve, I’ve been in their homes, on their television sets, for decades. I mean I’m no new person to the scene. You know, it’s not like that my kind of comedy has changed, it’s always been in your face, and, you know, I’ve been doing stand-up for so long, through so many administration, I can attest years and years being able to stand on stage and make fun of every single President regardless of their party. I mean, they’ve all got to be included in the act somehow. And yet, ever since, you know, Trump started even talking about campaigning, and you, Sarah, have been so good about reporting how many decades back his willingness to actually be the President, to seriously want to be the President, goes. And in his bumbling, moronic way of kind of fishing, trying to figure out how to get there, he found enough equally twisted people to get him there.

Andrea Chalupa: Exactly. It was just a coalition of corruption, and yeah, we always talk about how the GOP is such a good target for all of that—the Russians, all of it. So, on the media. We did an entire segment looking at the economic decline of the media, just how many jobs have been lost, just in the last ten years alone, and who’s left standing.

Kathy Griffin: Right.

Andrea Chalupa: And so newsroom across the board, whether mainstream, outlets, or the literary journals, it’s all white men.

Kathy Griffin: Yes.

Andrea Chalupa: And some white women. And it’s very few people of color. So we’re getting our information through a very privileged white lens.

Kathy Griffin: Mhmm.

Andrea Chalupa: And that’s—and so, is it the same in Hollywood, the people that turned against you? Are you up against that same dynamic?

Kathy Griffin: Oh, it’s horrible. I mean, it’s, you know, I make a joke in my act, that, you know, about these women that complain about 80 cents on the dollar—where do I sign? When you’re a stand-up comic, it’s a nickel on the dollar. I mean, when I, you know, was so gloriously fired by CNN as if I was a CNN employee—

Andrea: Oh, we miss you, we miss you on New Year’s Eve! That is such a—

Kathy Griffin: Of course you do.


Kathy Griffin: But you know, I, I, I’m open about it, I’m honest about it, because, you know, I’m used to being in a male-dominated field for so long, it didn’t even occur to me to ask CNN to pay me the first years I did it.

Andrea Chalupa: Wow.

Kathy Griffin: And so the eighth year, when Jeff Zucker had taken the show from 90 minutes—well he wasn’t there when I started, but he’s there now—and ballooned it to four and half hours, the eighth year of doing the show, I really enjoyed doing it. And, you know, to be honest, the last two years Anderson just showed up day of. And four and a half hours is a lot of live television. And I loved doing it, but it was, you know, a lot of work. And so the eighth year, I called Jeff, who had been my boss at NBC, and he treated me like a dog there too, and I said, “You know, I think it’s time for a raise. Come on. I mean, we got four and a half instead of 90 minutes. You know.” And because I had the audacity to personally call him, and he kept saying, “You’re personally calling me? Personally?” As in, like, where’s the male intermediary?

Sarah Kendzior: Oh, my.

Kathy Griffin: Like Ari Emanuel, which I did not think would fight for me. And so what happened was, he gave me a 30 percent pay dock.

Andrea Chalupa: [gasps]

Kathy Griffin: So he docked me 30 percent for my last two seasons—years, the last two years of doing New Year’s Eve because I had the audacity. So I don’t mean to be rude, but fuck Sheryl Sandberg and that fucking book Lean In. I’m gonna throw it out. Because she needs to lean back out, and my new topic is the social media companies. Cause I’m like now almost afraid of them more than anything.

Andrea Chalupa: Oh yeah.

Kathy Griffin: But in any event, so now anything could be propagated. But in my experience in Hollywood and in the entertainment industry, it actually is important, because like us or not, we are the storytellers and have historically been, and people, you know, on the right that want to ban either myself or a different artist or whatever. It’s such bullshit. It’s like all those white guys that claim they’re going to ban the NFL because of Kaepernick. Yeah right. You know they’re still watching the same games and the same teams. They’re just popping off on Facebook. Unfortunately, in Hollywood, you know, like when TMZ is really an aggressive, aggressively misogynistic and racist and sexist website, and they’ve been coming for me, and unfortunately people in Hollywood think TMZ is like a newspaper. And I’m actually glad that David Pecker flipping was revealed, because, you know, believe it or not, when the Globe and the Enquirer and US Weekly do pieces about someone like me saying that I’m, I have lupus or that I’m bald, it might sound silly and funny, but it actually makes me to a lot of these stupid check signers in Hollywood, and it’s about six old white dinosaur men that are signing all the checks. You should know, there’s not one single woman who has the authority to has the authority to sign a check in Hollywood. So I love Shonda Rhimes, I love all the powerful women, but Shonda Rhimes has to go to Bob Iger, and I don’t play golf with Bob Iger, so that’s why I’m not on Good Morning America. And that’s how it works. It’s the old boys’ club, and there’s the star chamber, and the whisper campaign to bring it all back, and of course to stifle voices like mine. You know, I’m a little different category than obviously the #MeToo and #TimesUp. But believe me, there’s a real effort to protect, you know, the memory of Leslie Moonves. And I wrote Julie Chen a vicious DM, you know. I just wrote, “You fucking bitch. How could you fucking do this? How can you fucking—how desperate are you?” And you know, I guess I won’t be on The Talk for a while. But, you know what? I’m a feminist first. And I, I, and I can’t stand Leslie. And he treated me like shit, and he—I spoke out about him one time, and he issued a statement against me. All these guys are so big on issuing statements. And, I’m so glad he’s out of there. I’m actually going to the Colbert Show for the first time in December, and I really think it’s going to be ‘cause Leslie’s finally gone.

Andrea Chalupa: Oh, wow.

Kathy Griffin: Cause in Hollywood, when you’re a woman, and the boys have it out for you, like I said, it’s a whisper campaign, you know. There’s a guy named Jay Sures, who’s the head of an agency called UTA, and they declined to represent me, and he got some press for declining to represent Megyn Kelly, who’s also a very famous and beautiful racist.

Sarah Kendzior: [Laughs]

Kathy Griffin: A very attractive, very attractive racist. You know, so I just tweeted, you know, “Oh, Jay Sures. Sounds familiar. You passed on me, even though, you know, I’m a very steadily working client, and I’ve won two Emmys, and a Grammy,” and of course, you know, he immediately started calling around. You know, he didn’t call me. He doesn’t have any balls. He didn’t call me and say, “Well hold on, let’s talk about this. I haven’t talked to you for a while.” It was just calling the other bros to be like, “Oh that bitch Kathy Griffin is talking again.” And I am.

Andrea Chalupa: How is that—I mean I can’t wrap my head around that. Because we, we read you, we read you directly, we don’t have any sort of middleman or lens, we go directly to your voice on Twitter, and, and, and we are so impressed by how you are tracking this horrific history in the making. Like, you’re calling it for what it is—

Kathy Griffin: It’s so obvious that I don’t know why everyone else isn’t.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, I mean that’s something that’s interesting to me is the journalists.  Because I’m seeing journalists stumble over this and not call a lie a lie, and not call a racist a racist. And, you know, it’s been comedians, in certain places—

Kathy Griffin: Yes!

Sarah Kendzior: —and certainly female comedians that have come to the fore. Like we have Michelle Wolf—

Andrea Chalupa: —Michelle Wolf.

Kathy Griffin: Yes! And you know, I, I have a story in my current show. I was there. I was invited to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner—

Andrea Chalupa: —and she was a hilarious, that was one of the best—

Kathy Griffin: —she was hilarious. There was no mass exodus by the Republicans. That was all the Lady Schlapp, Matt Schlapp and his beard wife starting their crap, and, you know, it was—that’s what they do. They start these whisper campaigns, and when you’re a female, like Michelle, and I went to the mat for her, because I’m on a mission it never happens to anybody, because I was the test case. And the idea that, you know, they would try to get Samantha Bee fired, and then, you know, Sarah Fuckabee brings it up over and over, and they threw in my name into that argument as well, and, you know, the, this idea of trying conflate, you know, Roseanne being a Nazi with Samantha Bee, who is a—now a political comedian, with a show that’s very open about what it is, and as another female comedian, I’m so happy she has a television show. That the last thing we need is for the stupid President, who doesn’t know what she’s talking about, to get her fired, or in my case, banned for life. Banned for life!

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, I mean that’s interesting to me, because you have such a large following, you’ve got this huge Twitter following, you’re selling out all your shows. You know, one thing I’ve noticed about this whole situation, the bottom line—people usually just want financial win. You know, you would seem like a financial win.

Kathy Griffin: Yeah.

Sarah Kendzior: And Michelle Wolf would seem like a financial win.

Kathy Griffin: Yeah.

Sarah Kendzior: And all these women, and all these people speaking out against Trump—there’s a massive audience for that.

Kathy Griffin: Yes!

Sarah Kendzior: Yet you have on CNN, like a bunch of Trump lackeys filling in as, you know, alleged journalists, you have a lack of kind of outright criticism within Hollywood.

Kathy Griffin: Yeah.

Sarah Kendzior: I mean, there’s some. But you know, something will happen, like Taylor Swift will make some fairly mild criticism, but it’s so effective it might turn Tennessee blue.

Kathy Griffin: Yes!

Sarah Kendzior, I mean, the logic here baffles me. Cause I’m thinking, they’re not thinking about money, they’re not thinking about morality, like what the hell are they thinking about? Like what is the endgame for these people, to blacklist people into—I don’t know, work against their own interest, in a way.

Kathy Griffin: That’s a part of—

Sarah Kendzior: —that leads to censorship, in the end.

Kathy Griffin: Yes, and, and they also don’t think ahead. And you know, it’s like, to my remaining Republican friends, and I have very few at this point, obviously. But I always pose the question, “How do you think Flint water can’t happen to you? How do you think that money can get you out of Flint water?” You know, and even, even a, a climate denier might not even deny the water in Flint. But that’s the part that I don’t understand. So, I’ve already been through the whole generation of like, “Kathy you’re vulgar, it’s about the children. Don’t say—it’s all about the children.” And now to these people, I’m like, “What are you talking about?” You know, it’s a dark joke—

Sarah Kendzior: —we have like a pussy grabber in chief, how it can be about the children?

Kathy Griffin: Yes! That’s right! That’s right. And people think the EPA is bad, and they don’t understand the regulations are for their own protection, much less their children. And you’re right, there’s not enough reporting on the remnants of Hurricane Michael. I mean, I saw one, Brian Williams did a “last thing before we go” minute about it. And it’s the only thing I even saw on MSNBC, and—

Andrea Chalupa: —Brian Williams who made shit up.


Kathy Griffin: Yes, that’s right.

Andrea Chalupa: For years, and got rewarded for it.

Kathy Griffin: Of course! Of course!

Andrea Chalupa: With his own show.

Kathy Griffin: Of course. Got his job back, got his job back. There’s a lot of that going around, you’ll see. You’re going to see all these male comics come back.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah. I mean, that’s what it looks like.

Kathy Griffin: I think, I think Hardwick already—I think Hardwick has two shows on NBC.

Andrea Chalupa: Wow.

Kathy Griffin: Now I don’t know Chloe Dykstra, but I read that Medium essay, and it sounded extremely specific.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah.

Kathy Griffin: And being a woman who puts herself out here, and you ladies know this to be true, you don’t do that shit unless you have your ducks in a row.

Andrea Chalupa: Right.

Kathy Griffin: Unless you know the time is right, and unless you feel it could help women, and that is her only motivation. So she basically got Anita Hill-ed by Hollywood. And yet, I’m, you know the same with Aziz Ansari. So, you know, comics wanna debate with me, of all people, about what’s the gray area? And I go, you’re talking to a female comic, OK. I’ve never—guess what, I’ve never, you know, had a spotter, which is what all the guys have. They have a friend who spots out hot girls in the audience that the male comics can fuck after the show. And I had, I had a very famous comedian ask me three years ago if I had a spotter. And I went, “What—first of all, I’m a chick, OK, so first of all we don’t do that.” I go, “Second of all, my boyfriend is my tour manager, we live together, in sin”—

Andrea Chalupa: —he’s so cute, by the way.

Kathy Griffin: [Laughs] Nineteen years younger, ladies. Yeahhh.

[High fives]

Kathy Griffin: But also, I just was like, you know, the guy, the guy who said it to me was like, almost my age. And I’m like, “Spotter—I haven’t heard that one for a while.” So I just want to say in the world of comedy, it’s really, really backwards. It’s really bad. And there’s, you know, the, the interesting about the Hardwick story, and you’d have to look it up, but the syndrome that she described, which was like these nerdy guys becoming famous for their sense of humor, which, you know, if you’re a woman it doesn’t quite work that way, you have to be about ten times better than the guys, and a lot of it is focused on your looks, and, you know, the guys can look like, you know, Kevin James, and women can’t, and all this other stuff. But she wrote an interesting—made a connection about a lot of guys, and I would actually apply this to Trumpers, frankly, if they felt for some reason that they were too nerdy, or something, and then somehow they got into a position—like with Chris Hardwick, he became a celebrity, so all of a sudden he had hair and makeup, and they cleaned him up, and he was dating, you know, a Hearst, and so now he’s untouchable. And a lot of other dudes look up to that, and they’re sitting home on the couch, going, “Man, I, I don’t ever—I don’t even look at female comedians, but there’s a dude I’d like to be like.” And I think that syndrome also encourages the Louis C.K. type of behavior. And I’m sure Louis would, you know, admit, like, “Oh, I’d never thought I’d be famous and able to have sex this much,” and, you know, if I have one more guy—I mean, Alec Baldwin called me and said, the day after that, “Have you called Louis and checked in on him?” I said, “No. First of all, I don’t have his number. Second of all, I’m sorry, but, you know, I may be offensive and vulgar, but, you know, Louis pulled his dick and ruined the dreams of women that were starting careers in comedy. And that crap happened to me, my whole career. Constantly.” So, anyway, the false equivalency happens in Hollywood as well in, you know, what we consider the newspapers of note, as well.

Andrea Chalupa: Oh yeah, absolutely. And it’s always—we survive by other women coming to our defense. Like, other women calling this bad behavior out. We did an entire report looking at newsrooms, and, and strong female reporters were being targeted by BS hit pieces. It was other female reporters at other outlets saying, “No, this is, this is nonsense.”

Kathy Griffin: Yeah.

Andrea Chalupa: And so, thank you so much for Michelle Wolf, for what you said about her, cause that—I watched—

Kathy Griffin: —and Samantha Bee. Cause I started an online campaign—

Andrea Chalupa: And Ariel, also.

Kathy Griffin: Yeah.

Andrea Chalupa: Is Arielle Dumas? Is it—a writer for Colbert, whom I’ve met and whose absolutely lovely, loveliest person—

Kathy Griffin: And the writer who Lorne fired from SNL. The other thing is you should know is Lorne Michaels, and that boys’ club, you know, those guys are not going quietly into the deep night. I mean, I actually published a letter I got from a CBS board member, that was so shocking that there was actually a women’s comedy troupe that reenacted it. And it was after the photo. And he was a hundred person serious. And he was saying that I should write Trump, and I should go into the office on my hands and knees begging for an apology.

Sarah Kendzior: Oh, you posted that on Twitter, right?

Kathy Griffin: I posted it because I went, wait a minute, I haven’t worked at CBS for a while, this guy’s on the board of directors. I hate to say it, that’s real power. So when you’re talking about, even, you know, who they pick as the nightly anchor, that’s who’s deciding. Les Moonves, who just got fired for sexual improprieties, and this guy, Arnie Kopelson, who wrote me that insane letter, and yet he also defended Leslie after Leslie was accused of all this stuff. So I’m sorry to say, nothing’s changed since I started. And one thing that I, I tell people, which is just an indisputable fact, is people forget that it wasn’t, it hasn’t been since my dear departed friend Joan Rivers that any network check signer has allowed a female, no matter how accomplished, to have a nightly late-night talker. Wanda Sykes had a weekly show on Fox for a little while. You know, Chelsea was on cable, and that’s great. Samantha Bee is once a week on cable. But—just people thinking of nothing, that there hasn’t been a female since Joan! And when she took over the Tonight Show, I was a little kid in Illinois, thinking, oh, it’s going to be 50-50. Half the nighttime shows will be really funny women, and half will be really funny men, and everybody wins! And you’re right, they don’t get the concept, everybody would have won. But they’re so dug in on this “white guys only” then men of color are next, and let me honest, ladies, we are still the bottom of the barrel. We are still the last call, and that’s the way it still really is in entertainment.

Andrea Chalupa: Right, and then they say that women aren’t funny.

Sarah Kendzior: [Laughs]

Kathy Griffin: Right, right. And I always go, “Really? I have three words for you: I Love Lucy.” Cause I love when these TV show-runners, always white guys, say, “Well you know, the problem is that female-driven comedies don’t make as much money as male-driven comedies. And then that’s when I always go, “Yeah, I Love Lucy didn’t make a penny”—

Sarah Kendzior: —or they have these—

Kathy Griffin: —that’s why it’s still running seventeen times a day, in every city in the world.

Sarah Kendzior: Right. Or like when Bridesmaids came out, and everybody was shocked that it made money. It’s like, maybe if you just, you know, give the opportunity every once in while—

Andrea Chalupa: Girls Trip!

Sarah Kendzior: —and it’s consistent, they always do well, in the end, and that’s what blows my mind, that desire for patriarchal control. It’ll trump money. Like, you really—

Kathy Griffin: Yes!

Sarah Kendzior: —gotta want that if you’re gonna trump money, because I think—

Kathy Griffin: Yes! And that’s one of the reasons I always say to young women, no matter what their business is, “hold on to your money, and talk about it.” So I talk about it a lot of more frequently, and I brag about it—I don’t care if I sound like an asshole, but let me tell you something, I have probably made about $75 million over my career, and think about these agents—

Andrea Chalupa: —we have a Patreon!

Kathy Griffin: [Laughs]

Sarah Kendzior: That’s right! Hi!

Kathy Griffin: I said, so I’m thinking about this guy Jay Sures, and thinking, well, you didn’t want 10 percent of $75 million, because you just didn’t want to deal with Kathy Griffin, and you had one of her—preconceived notion—OK, dude, I’ll happily keep it. Because I freaking save it. And let me tell you, I bought my house cash. And it was $10.5 million. And I say it proudly because I can’t a Netflix special or an HBO special, and all these guys are getting $40 million, and I just go, you know what, I bought my house cash, and thank God. Because I don’t know if after this tour—I don’t have one single day of paid work ahead of me after November 04. And my inner Joan Rivers of course is dying, because I have that old school—

Sarah Kendzior: Right, of course, I was just thinking—

Kathy Griffin: —because I love to work!

Sarah Kendzior: —of her documentary, the one where she said—

Kathy Griffin: —and she opens—

Sarah Kendzior: —that the worst thing in the world is to have the empty datebook, and she—

Kathy Griffin: —that’s right, that’s right.

Sarah Kendzior: So you’re the same way?

Kathy Griffin: Absolutely. We used to talk about this incessantly, and we—you know, I just love to make people laugh. I don’t care if it’s a commercial or a live show or a special or a sitcom, and yet knowing that like I said, my entire future is at the hand of about six white guys who just don’t care for me. They think I have the audacity to want to be successful, to want to be well-known, to want to make people to laugh, to want to have a little authority in the business that I’ve worked 40 years in. You know, I’ve got the hardware. You know, when I—I have two Emmys and eight nominations, and when I meet with production companies, and I say, “Hey, no offense, but I’d like to only meet with production companies that also have an Emmy.” And that always turns into a “No.” They’re like, “Who do you think you are?” And I go, “I’m the one with two, motherfucker. I’m the one with the hardware. What do you have?” [takes on dumb voice] “I did a pilot, for, you know, TLC.” OK, well that’s great. I did a gazillion student films for free, you know, and so I’m still just at least to win the argument, like, like any dude, I worked my way up the ladder the hard way. You know, I mean I probably didn’t even get paid the first ten years I worked. You know, I was volunteering, and teaching and doing improv, and I think I was in—the Groundlings was an improv company where you had to paid dues to be—to perform. So I was a, a—what we called a temp back in the day, a Kelly Girl, Monday to Friday. And, you know, I think that women need to talk about that, too. I—if you want to do this, it’s going to be a struggle. Like I never lie to women about comedy. Like, yeah, you probably—if you do one good 15-minute set, you’ll get a big show. That’s not honest. And that’s what also striking me about, like you said, the way that even my beloved New York Times is covering all this. I don’t want to say they’re being dishonest, but, I mean it’s a little bit by—dishonesty by omission.

Sarah Kendzior: Well it is, it is. And it feels—they’re a sense that they’re controlled, somehow, by somebody else. And I don’t mean like they’re getting direct orders from the Trump administration. But it’s kind of a low-level fear, and I don’t know if it’s fear of losing access, I don’t know whether it’s fear of threat, I don’t know whether there is, you know, the same sort of blackmail and bullying tactics that Trump and his crew have used for the last four decades. Like, why would they—

Kathy Griffin: —they would probably be on a subversive, level. They probably wouldn’t be as overt that.

Sarah Kendzior: Right.

Kathy Griffin: But I’m wondering how they deal with the statistic about how they covered Hillary Clinton’s emails so much more than Harry Reid coming out and saying, “There are Russians interfering, conspiring.”

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah.

Kathy Griffin: “Let’s stop collusion and meddling, alright.” Interfering, our adversary. And, you know, that alarm bell didn’t hit, even with the New York Times. Like, I, I almost feel like that should have been a moment where—you know, when I was a kid, I mean I remember, if it was Jimmy Carter, or, I don’t know, even Nixon or Reagan or something. You know, literally taking to the primetime air waves when something like that was happening.

Andrea Chalupa: Right.

Kathy Griffin: And breaking into, I don’t know, whatever show I was showing, whatever primetime—The Brady Bunch or something. And saying, like, “There’s something our nation needs to know.” And there’s something now, there’s a virus going on,  everywhere, where no one seems to have the balls to say that. Like I have this fantasy that all the living former Presidents will, like, buy an hour of primetime and just look at the world and let the world see it and have all of them explain exactly what is really, really happening. And, you know, I don’t know what to tell you.

Sarah Kendzior: Cause without that, I think people have the impression that it’s not as bad as it seem, and now, finally, two years later, they’ve figured out the obvious. And it was all laid out in front of us.

Kathy Griffin: Yes!

Sarah Kendzior: Harry Reid warned us. Trump warned us.

Kathy Griffin: Yep.

Sarah Kendzior: Trump would just confess everything he was going to do—

Kathy Griffin: —right—

Sarah Kendzior: —everything he had done, every illegal acting that he did, and there are no repercussions. And I think that left people with this impression that it wasn’t serious. And that’s why we have show called Gaslit Nation, because we have a whole country that feels completely confused by the dichotomy here.

Kathy Griffin: Why do you think that Americans were so easy? Why do you think we were so easily taken by it? Like, why was it—like I know Clint Watts said, which I, I didn’t know until I read his book, that Putin has done, been doing this, he’s been practicing on his own people, with all the–they have their own version of Facebook, which I didn’t know, and the disinformation, even memes, and, like, all of kinds of crazy ways to experiment. But I gotta say, as a 58-year-old woman, it is discouraging that we got taken so quickly and easily.

Andrea Chalupa: I agree. I mean, we talked about this on the show. It’s because Americans—the American voter didn’t care about Ukraine, didn’t care about Russians. Like, what do gay rights in Russia have to do with the election in 2016? They just couldn’t make the connection. And so, as someone, somebody that’s been following Ukraine very closely for several years, writing about it, I was screaming to everybody, like, I’m like, they’re going to do this here, it’s going to spread.

Kathy Griffin: Of course.

Andrea Chalupa: It’s like the moats of our oceans can’t—

Kathy Griffin: —yeah—

Andrea Chalupa: —protect us anymore. It’s a—it’s all a, it’s all a cyber world. And, I remember journalist friends saying, “Andrea, voters don’t care about Ukraine.” Well. Look. I put out—

Kathy Griffin: Now they do, but—look, I have, I have performed—

Andrea Chalupa: —now Twitter sounds like me.


Kathy Griffin: No, but I—look, I’ve performed—one of the things that hurt on me, was the military turned one me after the photo, and that hurt, because I was working with two military groups, IAVA, and VetDogs.com, and also Vet Tix. And I would give out tickets to veteran, because I performed, you know, in war-zones, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Afghanistan off-camera with the USO, in Iraq—

Andrea Chalupa: —and this was so gratifying.

Kathy Griffin: It’s incredibly gratifying. And also, you know, you know, my dad was veteran, and etc., but what you learn by going—when you actually go to those zones, it’s just a completely different landscape, so the idea that we have a President who hasn’t even been into Iraq or Afghanistan, and says things like he’s the most militaristic person, to many military families who voted for him—and I’m wondering where the disconnect is, where they don’t go, “Gosh, my son was killed, or I have another son there, and because he couldn’t get work here, he joined the armed forces, and yet the President can’t be bothered to go to Kabul.” I went. [Laughs]

Andrea Chalupa: Right.

Kathy Griffin: You know, I stood there, and I can’t tell you how many incidents there were. There were times when we were doing a show, and they had to turn off every single light on the entire base for a certain amount of time. Because there was enemy flyovers, and things like that. Maybe, you know, I mean—first of all, Trump is hopeless. But I’m curious why more of the citizenry doesn’t say, “Hey, you know, I, I like Trump, I also like the military. Hmm, maybe I should start asking my other Trump friends about, like, we should encourage him to go, or ask why doesn’t go.” And I, I don’t know the psychological makeup of the—I mean, I read—I forgot who wrote the piece about the psychological makeup where, you know, if you voted for him, you feel like an attack on him is an attack on you. But like I said, I’m not the one with kids over, I’m not Mrs. La David Johnson.

Andrea Chalupa: Right.

Kathy Griffin: You know, I don’t know how she gets through the day. And I don’t know how Frederica Wilson, you know, recovers, when you know, not enough people had her back, and I don’t know why John Kelly gets to get by with that, because he’s a gold-star father, because so is, you know, Mr. Khan etc. I’m just not sure, well, why those simple connections aren’t being made. But it’s a strong force that seems to be working against just regular Americans making these very simple connections.

Sarah Kendzior: Right. And, and I feel like it’s in part because it is played down so much. I mean, you hear it directly from veterans. You heard from it McCain. You heard it from Khan. You heard it from the wives of these deceased veterans who Trump slandered and who Trump abandoned. But yeah, there’s a disconnect, and I do feel like it’s because of the presentation of it. Cause it’s not sort of presented with the kind of, the urgency of it being a national security crisis, but also just the moral urgency, that this is wrong, that is hurtful. And I guess one thing I’m curious about, cause, you know, you might have perspective on this, is, you know, Trump’s not just a political creation. He’s been, you know, as we mentioned running for President for 30 years. But he was part of the media industry, he was part of—

Kathy Griffin: —sure—

Sarah Kendzior: —the entertainment industry, he was part of the business world. So I would guess that from that, he’s amassed an enormously large number of contacts and inside tracks into all of these different industries. How much influence do you think the administration is having over how, you know, media or entertainment or other, you know, venues of communication portray these issues to the public?

Kathy Griffin: You know, I think about that a lot because I remember the last time I had a conversation with Zucker, and we were screaming at each other, was when—remember when Trump had that secret meeting, off the record, with every press outlet? And you saw everyone from Diane Sawyer, to Zucker, to Andy Lack, I think—you know, Stephanopoulos, I mean on-air people, behind the scenes check signers—and I said to Zucker, as he was, you know, docking me 30 percent, I said, “Alright, I’ll go back and do the show for 30 percent less, as long as someday you tell me what the fuck did Trump say to scare the fuck out of you in that meeting.” And I will also tell you that—and Jeff won’t like this either—is the last time I did New Years’, he called me, at home, so I guess we had half-ass made up, and he said, “I’m gonna give you one Trump joke per hour for four and a half hours.”

Andrea Chalupa: What!

Kathy Griffin: And I said, “What are you talking about?” And he goes—and I go, “Jeff, you’re the head of a global news agency, and Trump is more part of the lexicon, certainly comedically, really than anything I’ve ever seen, than any comedian has ever seen. I go, “My God, you know, Anderson, you could say this to Anderson all you want, but he’s an anchor person, that’s fine.” I said, “But I’m not gonna call him the c-word or something, but there’s so many quiet, frankly, harmless jokes I could make about him.” And he said, “You know, he’s been so tough on me, I don’t want this to happen to you. So this is for your own good.”

Andrea Chalupa: Wow, so manipulative.

Kathy Griffin: I know, I know. And by the way, that was before my infamous Trump mask photo. And so, you know, I can only imagine that the tough Jeff Zucker is not so tough. And I don’t mean to be Team Trump, because Trump is a false tough person, he is—you know, the last time I saw him in person, cause he’s—he hired me twice to roast him, like I said, so it’s not like he doesn’t know my schtick. And like every bully, when you confront him, the last time I saw him he made the cross sign with his fingers, and was going, “Uh oh, here she comes, red head! Uh oh, don’t be too tough on me, tonight, come on, don’t make fun of the hair too much, uh oh.” And he would do that with me like almost every time I would see him. And I would—I just remember thinking to Jeff, like, wait, you’re not—like, you’re not like scared of this guy? This guy’s like an accidental President, bro. Like he’s—he could melt down any moment, you know that. And so, I don’t know. But I often think about that meeting. I think about that, and how that, in my opinion went unchecked by, frankly, other journalists. Like at what point do those journalists say, “I understand, and throughout the history of journalism, off the record must mean off the record.” What about when the entire nation’s safety is at stake? At what point do you say, you know, “Typically we wouldn’t do this, but we do need to reveal the things he said in that meeting, because now they’re coming to bear, and they’re actually getting killed.” So that I remember. I also remember something crazy, like a week after he was inaugurated, he was personally meeting and vetting circuit court judges. Now, you know he doesn’t know a judge from his ass or a hole in the ground except for his sister, when he talked about making her part of SCOTUS. So I thought, where was the media? That should have been a giant story.

Andrea Chalupa: Right.

Kathy Griffin: Like, I don’t want this guy sitting down, cause you know he got a loyalty pledge from every one of them.

Sarah Kendzior: Exactly. That’s what I was going to say.

Kathy Griffin: I mean, obviously—

Sarah Kendzior: —it was a loyalty oath, that’s the root of all those things.

Kathy Griffin: And they did. So if you’re a good journalist, my God, there’s a scoop. Get one of these circuit court judge to admit. Put them under the spotlight, like I’ve been under. And let’s see if any of them could withstand what I’ve been under for the year and a half.

Andrea Chalupa: And sorry, if all of these guys from Jeff Zucker to MAGA bomber went through what you were put through, I feel like these problems would go away.

Kathy Griffin: Unfortunately, I’m not, I’m not put in the same category, but having Zucker come at me, and the MAGA bomber, and my own, like, former co-workers—

Sarah Kendzior: —and the President!

Kathy Griffin: —is a struggle.

Sarah Kendzior: [Laughs]

Kathy Griffin: And the President. And then Don Jr. loves to come at me, and it’s always amusing—

Andrea Chalupa: —he’s such a waste of space. Like, how is he—

Kathy Griffin: —he thinks he’s hilarious.

Andrea Chalupa: Oh, my God.

Kathy Griffin: And so he tweeted a couple weeks ago, “The reason you don’t have a special isn’t because you’re a woman, it’s cause you’re not funny.” And I just wrote back, “FYI, they don’t have Netflix in prison.” Because I like to remind my younger friends that I do remember every minute of the Watergate hearings and—I was a weird kid, I’m not going to lie—but I, I just was—

Andrea Chalupa: —it prepared you.

Kathy Griffin: Oh my God, I was glued to them. You know, and I believe, you can correct me if I’m wrong, I believe 24 folks actually served time in the Watergate scandal. So when people think, you know, it’s going to go away, I say, you know, keep hope, keep hope. It’s possible. We don’t know what we’re going to see with all these indictments coming. I—you know, it’s possible these guys could actually go en mass. Cause I certainly don’t think the answer is level-headed President Pence.

Andrea Chalupa: Yep. And so, Jeff Zucker. I was talking to a CNN host about, you know, I was asking at an event, I was like, “Why do you keep having Stephen F. Cohen, this infamous..”—

Kathy Griffin: —Russia apologist. Putin apologist.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah. There’s like tons of headlines calling him a Putin apologist when he’s on CNN. It’s like he’s a mouthpiece for the Kremlin.

Kathy Griffin: Yeah.

Andrea Chalupa: He’s even said that Ukraine is not a country, which is what Putin has said. And so I asked—

Kathy Griffin: —wow.

Andrea Chalupa: —I asked this CNN anchor, I said, “Why do you have this guy on there? He’s been discredited.” And he said, “Because the last time I had him on, I got an email from Jeff Zucker that said, ‘Good TV!’”

Kathy Griffin: Yeah. I mean, I—look, I’m not anti-CNN, I’m not anti-news organization, I’m not—but I will say, yeah. I do know that about Jeff. Jeff likes a fight, and he likes low-grade television. He’s not very bright, I don’t know why he’s running a news anch—new channel. I mean, I—this is the guy that brought us the sitcom Emeril. So, I mean, he just fails up as long as I’ve known him. So, you know, I—he, he is not someone who’s going to—like Trump, he’s not going to do a deep dive into the history of these yokels that they’re on there. You know, I feel bad, when you have, like, an actual, you know, ambassador—I mean, obviously, you know, you can talk about McFaul, Mike McFaul, or someone like that, and then you have them having to duel, and they like shouting matches, and, as you know, the game of the right wing is they talk so much that you can never get a word in edgewise. That’s the whole Fox News sort of mandate. And I’m not sure why, why they go there. Because, you know, in my day, there was a man called William F. Buckley, and I disagreed with him, but at least people did think he was an intellectual. So, you know, I guess they just can’t find anybody with half a brain to show “the other side.” And what we need to come to the reckoning of is there isn’t another side. There isn’t. It’s just—

Andrea Chalupa: —destruction.

Kathy Griffin: It’s just destruction. Yeah, that’s it. So the “both sides,” you know, I’m not—I’m not making W. a hero, I’m still anti-W., and I can’t believe he supported Kavanaugh, but there is still a world of difference between the W. administration, which is did not care for, and this outright craziness. They’re not two sides to anything. Not the MAGA bomber, not the propaganda machine that is, you know—the President getting news from Fox and Friends, and people on Facebook, and something called Gab, which I didn’t even know about. So that’s something that I think media outlets just aren’t used to dealing with. They’re so used to being so focused on both sides, that we’ve never been been in a situation where you actually need to focus on the both sides within the side that at least is following the law, and then the other side is—it’s criminal activity. So go ahead and cover it, I mean, like you would a RICO case, cause that’s what it is. Cover it the way you cover, you know, Berlusconi, and I agree, I think this family’s kleptocratic more than autocrat. But you know, I could go either way, based on the day. So cover it for what it is. Call it. Say, “America’s now become an attempt at a kleptocracy.” And the citizens now have to decide if they want to even understand what that is and do something about it.

Andrea Chalupa: How does Jeff Zucker still have a job?


Sarah Kendzior: Jeff Zucker still has a job?

Andrea Chalupa: I just—

Kathy Griffin: —well, they all do. It’s like, when you’re a white guy, in that, like, lap dance club and cigar club, and golf club, like those bros, you know it’s bros before hoes, and they all cover for each other, and they all, you know—what’s funny is they’re like chicks. Like they call each other at night, and bitch about this person, and they’re all competitive, and—I mean Jeff Zucker probably doesn’t even know that there was a time when the news industry didn’t make a profit and wasn’t supposed to. So that’s what you’re dealing with now. And it’s—like I said, it’s the same white dinosaurs, most of them are over 60, and they’re in a very tightly knit group, and they are scared as shit right now. And, you know, my joke is I’m new the chairwoman of the Times Not Up Yet campaign. Cause I wanna think the time’s up, but it’s not yet, ladies. I’m sorry to tell you. It’s going to take work on our part. Time’s not up yet.

Andrea Chalupa: We’ll all be old ladies in the gulag, reporting together, that’s the plans.


Sarah Kendzior: Yes.

Andrea Chalupa: Final question: who do we—who should we like? Who are the allies who have your back, who are inspired by your courage?

Kathy Griffin: This is tricky, because part of me, is, is—actually afraid to stick up for certain—to say, because I don’t want to put them in the crosshairs… You know what, honestly, I’d rather not say. Because, seriously, there have been really few. I’ve not had one significant public ally since the day of the photo. Not one. And people make fun of Michael Avenatti, but I would killed to have a Michael Avenatti, or just someone just going on television three times a week, going, “Hey, you don’t want your 13-year-old like the one Kathy Griffin did and be under a—hundreds of thousands of dollars investigation and be investigated by two federal agencies and put on the No Fly list and then the Interpol list.” You know I couldn’t—no one was willing to go on television and get that message out. And still haven’t. So that’s what I’m struggling with, is a bucket of bitterness.

Andrea Chalupa: [Laughs]

Kathy Griffin: Because I don’t know why there aren’t, like I said, significant public allies of mine just to warn folks, because I really believe, if it happened to me, it can happen to you, and then it freaking happened to John Brennan, so, you know, in many ways I really was the test case. So, people are still scared to stick up for me, but I don’t care. I still keep sticking up for the ones that are out there, putting their necks out there. And independent journalists are leading the way. It’s true. And local journalists.

Andrea Chalupa: Final piece of advice, and then we’ll let you go, stop interrogating you like the Feds. But so, what advice do you have for people right now who are scared and they’re paying attention closely to what’s going on, and they might not want to put themselves out there because of the climate?

Kathy Griffin: I think it’s time to put yourselves out there. And like I said, I’m thinking again about the woman who hired the MAGA bomber, knew he had that van, how many Floridians would pass that van day in and day out, or even talk to this guy and hear him spouting off and just think, like, “Oh I just don’t want to get involved,” or “well, that group will come after me if I talk about it on Facebook.” And I think I’m afraid now it’s actually time to have those dealings with the people in your own life. And I’m sorry to say, but you know, look, as someone who’s been cut off by so many relatives and family members because of my photo, as has my boyfriend, which is ridiculous, that’s not how it should be. And so at some point, you know, people joke about, like, “Oh, going home for the holidays, and how am I going to talk to my Trump relatives?” I’m afraid to say, this might be the year that you have to suck it up and you have to confront them. And, you know, just—I don’t know—I don’t know what to do, and we can talk about voting, and, you know, it’s—we’re living in a world of low information voters and most Trumpers haven’t voted at all or haven’t been engaged and so they think they know a lot about politics because they’ve been listening to one crazy dude for two years. But I think now it’s time for our allies to come out of the shadows and actually at least say to the people in their actual lives that are Trumpers, “I gotta be clear. I’m not with you on this.” You know, it’s kind of like, you know, I admit, when I was growing up, I lived in a house where I had certain old relatives that would say the n-word, until my father finally turned to them and said, “You can’t say that word anymore.”

Theme Music

Kathy Griffin: “Not in this house.” And it’s possible. You know, my father didn’t get punched in the face by, you know, his uncle or whatever. It’s possible.


Andrea Chalupa: Gaslit Nation would like to thank our supporters and feature them at the Producer level, and Marshall and Ari LaGuardia, Ethan Mann, Janet Cox, Jennifer Slavic, Peter Case, Rhonda White, Timothy Michael Wilson—we could not make this show without you. Thank you so much for your support. Some of our original music includes work by David Whitehead, Martin Visenberg, Nick Farr, and Demian Arriaga. We love to give a big hearty Gaslit Nation thanks to Hamish Smith of Order for designing our beautiful logos. We are so grateful, Hamish. And we wanna thank our tenacious editor for this episode, Carlin Dagel, for being so awesome. Thank you, Carlin.

Sarah Kendzior: Thanks for listening!

Andrea Chalupa