Following the controversy surrounding Kathy Griffin’s 2017 photo, which depicted her holding a prop resembling Donald Trump’s severed head, her career faced a significant downturn. The image triggered widespread outrage and even drew a response from President Trump himself, who criticized Griffin’s actions via Twitter. Subsequently, Griffin issued an apology, acknowledging that she had crossed a line with her comedic act.
The fallout from the incident had severe consequences for Griffin. She lost endorsements, had canceled tours, and underwent an investigation by the Secret Service. Speaking at a press conference, Griffin expressed how the Trump administration’s response had a detrimental effect on her mental well-being, stating that it “broke” her. In response to this challenging period, she released a stand-up special in 2019 titled “Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story,” centered around her experiences.
However, Griffin faced further adversity when she was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer in 2021. Successfully undergoing surgery to treat the illness, Griffin later revealed in 2023 that she was cancer-free, following a recovery period.
Moreover, in a TikTok post in 2023, Griffin disclosed that the fallout from the Trump photo controversy had led to her being diagnosed with complex PTSD. She discussed her struggles with the extreme impact of the condition and its relation to her career difficulties and cancer diagnosis.
Despite these challenges, Griffin is making a comeback. In 2023, she performed shows at The Mirage Theatre in Las Vegas, signaling a revival in her career. Furthermore, in 2024, Griffin announced her return to the stage with the “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the PTSD-list” tour. Expressing her anticipation for this comeback, Griffin conveyed her eagerness to connect with her fans again, highlighting her six-year absence from touring and her excitement to share laughter amidst the challenging times everyone has faced.
Through these experiences, Griffin navigated a tumultuous period in her life, including career setbacks, health struggles, and mental health challenges, but is now poised for a resurgence in her comedic career with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for performing live once again.