By Vic Gerami
They say that when someone gives you lemons, make lemonade. Kathy Griffin has done just that, and it tastes very sweet. The iconic comedian turned her almost two year ordeal in the wake of the infamous severed-Trump-head photo into a triumphant film, Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story.
The hilarious docu-comedy had its Outfest premiere last night at the Ford Theater in Hollywood ahead of the special one-night-only showing on July 31. Fathom Events and Brainstorm Media have partnered with Kathy Griffin to screen the film in 700 theaters for a one-night premiere event.
On May 30, 2017 an image of Griffin holding a mask that resembled the severed head of President Trump was released – the image went global and everything she had worked for in her life, vanished overnight. It turns out that the image was made by a rubber mask and some ketchup. The film chronicles the unprecedented and historic story of a comedian overcoming a political and media takedown following the release of the controversial photo.
This was an entirely self-funded project that Griffin and her director Troy Miller put together to tell the larger story of the fallout from Griffin’s famously unapologetic point of view. The story covers all angles of the drama as it unfolded with crystal clarity. Kathy takes the opportunity to address the broader issues surrounding free speech, first amendment rights and presidential abuse of power. The docu-comedy is beautifully raw, blunt like Cher and a lot more powerful than a ‘Presidential’ tweet.
Kathy was just as blunt during a Q&A that followed the screening, moderated by Louis Virtel. The crowd at the sold-out premiere applauded, laughed and cheered as she discussed her life in the last two years. I interviewed Kathy last year for my column, ‘10 Questions with Vic‘, when she was honored with the ‘Comedian of the Year’ award by the Palm Springs International Comedy Festival.
One of the most poignant moments was on the red carpet, between Kathy and bi civil rights attorney and activist, Peter Perkowski. The exchange between the two high-profile public figures connected by no other than President Trump was priceless. Kathy who was victimized by Trump, his family and media cronies and Peter, who is suing the Trump Administration, had a beautiful moment in front of the press.
Currently, Peter Perkowski is one of the lead attorneys in four civil rights lawsuits against the Trump Administration. Along with partners Lambda Legal and the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP, Modern Military Association of America (formerly OutServe-SLDN and American Military Partners Association) is facing off against the Trump Administration in federal court challenging the constitutionality of Trump’s ban on military service by transgender people, and seeking to change policies negatively affecting service-members living with HIV.
Along with ‘Circus of Books’ and ‘The Garden Left behind’, ‘Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story’ is one of the best films of Outfest 2019. Please visit Fathom Events for listings of the July 31st screening near you.
ABOUT KATHY GRIFFIN
Two-time Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian Kathy Griffin is a towering figure on television, on tour and in publishing. She breaks through the entertainment clutter with her universally recognized brand of pull-no-punches comedy.
Kathy has performed for hundreds of thousands of fans around the globe. Buoyed by her dedicated and engaged fans, Kathy’s live standup performances are legendary and in a class of their own. The fiery redhead has sold out to audiences with rave reviews throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia at such iconic venues as the Sydney Opera House, the Mark Taper Forum, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Kathy has also performed for active military servicemen and women in such war zones as Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Uzbekistan. In 2013, Kathy was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for writing and starring in an unprecedented 20 televised stand-up specials – more than any comedian in history. In 2014, Kathy made history with her 6th consecutive Grammy nomination and first win for Best Comedy Album (Kathy Griffin: Calm Down Gurrl), joining Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin as the only other female comedians to ever win Grammy awards for Best Comedy Album.
Kathy’s unrivaled style of humor and prolific comedy pedigree makes her one of television’s go-to hosts for premier live events. Kathy drew huge worldwide audiences to CNN’s New Year’s Eve special, which she co-produced and co-hosted with Anderson Cooper for 10 years. Kathy co-hosted The Billboard Music Awards LIVE three years in a row, the 41st annual Daytime Emmy Awards LIVE and AARP’s Movies for Grownups Gala. Griffin’s sure-fire hosting success led to her own LIVE late night talk show, Kathy. Griffin won two Primetime Emmy Awards for her hit reality series, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, which aired for six years on Bravo. It was nominated every single year of its run. The show also won the GLAAD Media Award for Best Reality Program. Kathy was a cast member on NBC’s Suddenly Susan and guest starred on Seinfeld and Law & Order: SVU. She lent her unique voice to animated characters in Shrek Forever After and the award-winning television shows The Simpsons, American Dad, and Dilbert.
Kathy’s influence can also be found in publishing. Her boisterous and revealing memoir, Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Griffin’s much-anticipated second book, Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index, was also a New York Times Best Seller. Kathy has been prominently featured on the covers of The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek, and The Advocate, as well as in-depth profiles in New York Magazine and Forbes.
In addition to performing, writing and producing, Kathy is a renowned speaker and has taken her empowering messages of equality through activism and humor all over the country. Kathy’s passionate advocacy for women, the LGBT community, and other disenfranchised groups have been displayed through numerous candid and intimate conversations with award-winning journalists and moderators from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, the Hudson Union Society, 92Y, as well as tech giants Google and AOL.
Griffin’s other awards and honors include: The Human Rights Campaign’s Ally for Equality, GLAAD’s Vanguard award, The Trevor Life Award from the Trevor Project, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s Leadership in Entertainment honor, the Harvard College Distinguished Service Partner Award, Veterans Tickets Foundation Distinguished Donor Award, the Lambda Legal Liberty Award, a two-time Ladies’ Home Journal “Funny Ladies We Love” Recipient, and a Gracie Award for Outstanding Female Lead.
Founded by UCLA students in 1982, Outfest is the world’s leading organization that promotes equality by creating, sharing and protecting LGBT stories on the screen. Outfest builds community by connecting diverse populations to discover, discuss and celebrate stories of LGBT lives. Over the past three decades, Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers, and protected more than 40,000 LGBT films and videos. Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
For more information about The Garden Left Behind and Outfest, including tickets, please visit Outfest.org