Kathy Griffin was the first ever comedian to have four distinct televised specials in the same year. Aside from her prominent acting roles, she had the show My Life On The D-List for five years on Bravo. As can be surmised based on the title of her hit program, she never entirely made the jump to A-list status. However, her fanbase is sizable, and she’s been an advocate for LGBTQ rights for many years and is outspoken enough to be banned from a handful of talk shows.
On May 30, 2017, Kathy Griffin released a photo of herself holding a fake severed head; the head intentionally resembling Donald Trump. The backlash was swift and furious with CNN dumping her as co-host of their annual New Year’s Eve programming. Her then current, and hit, comedy tour was canceled. Squatty Potty dropped her as their spokesperson. Colleagues were quick to condemn, though some, such as Rosie O’Donnell, and Griffin’s neighbors, the Kardashians, stood behind the comic.
“…Kathy Griffin released a photo of herself holding a fake severed head; the head intentionally resembling Donald Trump. The backlash was swift…”
The picture, which is just one in a series of slightly outlandish photos, turned Kathy Griffin’s life upside and the FBI even investigated her. In her special Kathy Griffin: A Hell Of A Story the energetic redhead lays out the impetus of the photo, the fallout, and how she’s coped since that infamous moment where she caught the ire of the president.
A Hell Of A Story details all the facts above, along with some background information for context. Throughout the hour and a half stand-up routine, she reads death threats that she received, discusses the painstaking process of being interrogated, and the most important thing of all—she did nothing wrong. The head in the photo is a mask covered in ketchup, though the picture was intended to make a statement. She did not imagine it would ever get this out of control.
“…the energetic redhead lays out the impetus of the photo, the fallout, and how she’s coped since that infamous moment…”
Filtered through her energetic, brazen comedy style A Hell Of A Story is nonstop hilarity; which is very important. Griffin is under no delusions and unsure of her next job, but thanks to her considerable storytelling skills, under the eyes of director Troy Miller, the movie is never a pity party. Griffin is now more involved in politics and first amendment rights than she ever has been and it’s inspiring to see her take on the role. Even if how she got there is because a sitting president pulled his weight to open an investigation solely because he did not like what she had to say or how she said it. How this is legal is anyone’s guess.
Kathy Griffin: A Hell Of A Story details a tale that seems too absurd to be real, but it did happen, and it ruined a talented artist’s life. Griffin gets her points about the first amendment across in a hysterical way while ensuring that the audience understands how serious this was for her.
Kathy Griffin: A Hell Of A Story (2019) Directed by Troy Miller. Written by Kathy Griffin. Starring Kathy Griffin.
10 out of 10 Gummi Bears