Ronn Torossian On Kathy Griffin’s Comeback Attempt


Kathy Griffin has always been a provocative comic, and that made her an acquired taste for many, especially those who didn’t quite align with her political views. Still, many on the left of the political spectrum loved her, as did those who appreciated the self-described “hardworking, obnoxious, red-haired comedy girl.” 

Ronn Torossian On Kathy Griffin’s Comeback AttemptThen came the infamous image: Griffin holding a rendering of the severed head of President Donald Trump. The country erupted. Even many who dislike Trump and like Griffin denounced her, saying she crossed way too far over the line. The backlash against the photo was so strong, many wondered if Griffin had just killed her career. 

Time went by, though, and the fervor died down. Griffin walked her position back, a bit, and now she is about to embark on yet another North American tour, this time telling anyone who will listen that the lambasting she got, which she calls an attack on free speech “can happen to you.” 

Griffin acknowledges the photo with Trump’s head was not in the best taste or in the best interest of her career, but she also insists she’s the same provocative but lovable comic millions of fans came to appreciate. “I’m just trying to make you laugh,” Griffin told the Associated Press. But people are not laughing, at least not yet. 

After the photo incident, Griffin lost gigs, lost sponsors and gained death threats. She was investigated by the federal government; a process Griffin says was out of line: “It shouldn’t happen to an American citizen… If there’s one amendment I’m familiar with it’s the First Amendment. I know it back and forth and it’s how I make my living. Am I shocking sometimes? For sure. Do I go too far? I hope so. That’s my job.” 

Griffin insists she was exercising protected speech, and should not have been put in a position where she feared going out in public due to the threats. Griffin also argued that her entire career has been pushing buttons, so why now: “I really never thought that photo would take off at all. Like I’ve been doing ‘shocking’ things my whole career.” 

Griffin does acknowledge the Public Relations process after the picture surfaced could have been handled better. Her apology came off as rushed and fell flat. Then, there was the press conference afterward that even Griffin described as “disastrous.” Since then, Griffin has tried to regain control of the narrative around her name. 

So, as she prepares to hit the road, where is Griffin’s brand, and where is her career? She’s received some support on social media, but will that translate to ticket sales? Only one way to find out.



Ronn Torossian On Kathy Griffin’s Comeback AttemptAbout the Author: Ronn Torossian is the Founder & CEO of 5W Public Relations, a top 10 independent public relations firm in the U.S.


  1. Daryn on at 7:18 AM

    Well she just sold out Carnegie Hall and added a date for the same week at Radio City Musical Hall — so, in terms of determining the status of her career based on ticket sales, she’ll be just fine. You might even be able to argue that in the long term this will be transformative to her career. It was successful to begin with, but thanks to the ‘incident,’ she’s now a viable performer overseas – that in itself is amazing because most US-based comedians don’t translate well on the international market.

    The real question is whether Kathy will be able to land a TV spot. She’s got 2 Emmy’s & a Grammy, but her current profile as a comedian was built for over 6 years on Bravo. The network isn’t what it used to be — Kathy’s series made that network popular. I hope she receives some interest from other parties. Her current tour, which is called “Laugh Your Head Off,” is the best material she’s ever done. HBO, Showtime, Netflix, or Amazon should pick-up a date to broadcast on air.

    • Rachel bloom on at 9:12 PM

      Ever hear of ticket brokers? They buy as many tickets as possible and sell them for a profit,,, you can buy front row to her sold out Carnegie Hall tomorrow or in a month for a lot less….duhhh

  2. Sammy D on at 11:53 PM

    Griffin’s feeble attempts at a comeback are laughable. The best she has been able to do so far was on The President Show, an appearance which reminded much of America why she is so widely detested. This has been skank should crawl back under her rock and stay there, so as not to subject anyone else to her toxic brand of humor. When CNN drops you its pretty clear that the end of your career is at hand.

  3. Rick Sewell on at 9:14 AM

    she never was or will ever be funny, she should get a job as a waitress.

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