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Kathy Griffin: Comedy Boss | SXSW LIVE STUDIO

Kathy Griffin
Publicist at BWR
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SXSW 2019
March 11, 2019, Austin, United States
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Kathy Griffin: Comedy Boss | SXSW LIVE STUDIO
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Kathy Griffin
Publicist at BWR
Douglas Caballero
Content Strategy Advisor at C3 Presents

Kathleen Mary Griffin is an American comedian and actress. She has starred in several comedy specials for cable TV and has released several comedy albums. In 2007 and 2008, Griffin won Primetime Emmy Awards for her reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. She has also appeared on TV and on film numerous times, mainly in supporting roles.Born in Oak Park, Illinois, she moved to Los Angeles in 1978, where she studied drama at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and became a member of the improvisational comedy troupe The Groundlings. In the 1990s, Griffin began performing as a stand-up comedian and also appeared as a guest star on several television shows. She achieved wider recognition after her role as a supporting character in the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan (1996–2000).Her Bravo reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (2005–2010) became a ratings hit for the network and earned her two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Reality Program. Griffin has released six comedy albums, all of which received Grammy Award nominations. Her first album, For Your Consideration (2008), made her the first female comedian to debut at the top of the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart. In 2009, she released her autobiography, Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin.

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As as a content and tech executive - and TV host - Douglas has carved out a unique position at the intersection of pop culture and technology, catalyzing projects across all platforms from large social platforms to major digital TV distributors.As a host he’s able to interview people from every industry about almost limitless subjects.― For Al Gore’s cable network Current TV, he hosted and built the original music programming department from the ground up, bringing pop music superstars Adele and Calvin Harris to US television.― For SXSW’s OTT platform “SXSW On”, he helped build it from scratch, launching year-round lifestyle programming on Roku and YouTube MCN.― For The CW he produced and hosted their live national morning television show “Eye Opener”.― For the SXSW’s Live Studio, Douglas has hosted the past 4 years, interviewing countless luminaries, everyone from the President of Mexico, Esports owners, cryptocurrency founders, famous rock climbers, relationship experts, Mayor of London, award-winning and famous musicians and filmmakers, etc.― Helped launch venture backed, curated live-streaming news network Happs News in 2018 with founding Current TV executives― In technology, he was ran business development at Colaborator - the marketplace connecting companies to video professionals, leading the sales team and securing clients: Turner Studios, Verizon Media, Live Nation Entertainment, and Fullscreen, while also growing the creator supply 5X.

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About the talk

Topic: Science

Take a deep dive into SXSW with our Live Studio Interviews, where conversations go beyond the boundaries of sessions, showcases and screenings. Kathy Griffin has never backed down from a fight, and isn't shy about sharing her war stories. Today's dispatch is from her biggest opponent yet: the Trump administration.

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SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. An essential destination for global professionals, the event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2019 takes place every March in Austin, Texas.

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I'd like to welcome any winning pulls no punches. How many boss stage comedy? Great Kathy Griffin Henry Premier Inn at South by Southwest called Kathy Griffin a hell of a story which we will get to but this is your first South by Southwest hit the gas though. This is not just a I have a documentary on any of your people. If you have all kinds of events that are participating to do to Keno's and Premier a world premiere of a movie don't you also have a Guinness Book of World Records. Guinness Book of World Records for writing and producing and starring it or just having even more

televised stand-up comedy specials in any comedian male or female living or dead and I know that's like like about Justice today, but I wanted to be the one who set the record because, she is so like, you know misogynistic so I thought all right. Let's at least show some young ladies coming up and I like all right, that's so crazy broad, you know, at least a dozen cows are prolific photo scandal. I got thrown into the meanest fear and she explained how that all know how it went around the world in like 2 seconds and got manipulated all this

stuff doesn't mean I'm in the Illuminati stand up here or I did Kino for the comedy section and I did that last night cuz I didn't I didn't understand that. The festival was I knew there was a food Park is my friend Rachel Ray talks about it and loves it. And then I do the movies, but I don't even know like if any Distributors came to my screen in or what I got and how this works. I love that in the festival grown so much and had so many things to offer that you were the first timer after you know, the

special 37 years old can do it from food first. So it's literally hell it's called Kathy Griffin a hell of a story. You've been through an extraordinary experience the past few years, and I'd love for you to describe the phone for it. But before you get into the film won at make sure we step back a couple of years and in touch on a few of the really important plot points. It's because giant disinformation campaign and that's what Kara swisher and I got to cover and what I went through was historic

so like me or not or like the photo or not ever wanted was a mess with ketchup. So let me just clear that up. It was not Donald Trump's head nor was it any severed head of any kind? Although you wouldn't believe that if you saw me in the new NRA ad, okay, and I'm in the new GOP ad so they are really working that image honey. I mean, they are just pulling it out whenever Trump has a bad day, which is every day in the basement for the past few years would have the photo is NRA out of all the

photos and memes of you know him like that monkey and all the stuff and being lynched and you know, people didn't make that big of a deal out of it. You know what I mean? Ted Nugent famously said he wanted to shoot Obama and what I did was not Violation of the First Amendment at all and I actually did clear the photo with my attorneys and they all said yeah, you can post it. That's not breaking the law in any way. It's not a genuine threat and is well within the bounds the

first moment. I sell t-shirts on my website. Say the First Amendment Kathy Griffin., make tens of dollars is the number one. That's right. The actual verbage of the First Amendment side, cuz we forget so part of the reason I wanted to tell the whole story is because my goal is to let people know this isn't the story about me or Hollywood Story. This is a story about the deterioration of the First Amendment. So it's not just freedom of speech is freedom of assembly etcetera. And you know, there's an attack on the press as you know, and there's attack on all kinds of Journalism and the idea

that we have this president that would pick up a citizen like myself. I'm technically a private citizen but you know. 58 year old female comedian. I mean that is antithetical to anything and everything. He believes in beliefs that's giving a little too much credit. But anyway, you know, I fly in the face of everything he thinks his Appropriate of course. So that's why I took the photos. I wanted to shame him, you know, and it's then was put into her to call the trunk wood chipper in this is an apparatus that's never been used certainly by a President. Right? So when I was a kid, I

remember watching the Watergate hearings and thinking nothing like this could ever happen in my lifetime. This is so extreme. And now that it's happening worst and you know, like Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that she doesn't want to impeach before people Dogpile on my beloved Nancy. Remember we lost the Senate vote. We lost the Senate so, you know, it doesn't matter how much she says impeach and peace. We're still behind in the Senate and you need as you know, both branch of the Congress or two of the branches have to vote, you know, and we don't have the Republicans in the

Senate. So the house of course would impeach him a heartbeat, but the said it won't so I think that's what people need to realize both matter and part of me wanted to take this film to everybody is to be clear about Things like I'm not for what I'm not an Isis that was something that many many millions of people believe they're on the world which then leads to many many death threats. And you know, like I said that photo you can be as offended as you want. You can just like me or hate me whatever you can't tell me things that you've done it

wasn't for a long time. But me and my monkey bars in the jungle gym at 58 I break a hip. So I had to laugh when people thought I was a nicer and yet they come up to me almost on a daily basis to confront me. So you tell me if I'm in it if I'm giving too much away in the film, but it's just important we are in this era of up so much information that we are overwhelmed by the people all of your story has been buried with all the new things that happened a couple of years, but after that picture you posted

it there was just a domino effect of that your comedy tour with 25. Where are leftover shower with cancel service open up in an investigation of you and I did States president use the full power of the Oval Office the so-called first family, although how quickly can we get Sasha and Malia back. I'll take either one of them is an ex-president. But anyway by right-wing media, but more importantly the Department of Justice. So you don't even the great Lenny Bruce. He was harassed by local police

departments, my friend Jane Fonda. I called her. So I want to make sure I was being a accurate when I said this is I believe historic I consulted with me first amendment attorneys that I did my research and Fonda said she was bothered by the local PD and when she was arrested her famous mugshot. And so when you have the feds coming after you that's a life ruining career ruining or in the words of Don Jr. We are just want to ruin Kathy Griffin's career. We want to decimate her. So the question is whether or not you like that photo, that's what The conversation I want you to have his you really

think the President should be deciding if you are employable if you're insurable and that's how the wood chipper comes into place. So when Harvey Levin who runs TMZ which is a horrible Block in my opinion, I think it's actually quite misogynistic and racist if you just look at it over and over and he's a gay Republican and a giant Trumper. So that's the first place it went and the photographer should have sent it to DMZ but I did not mean I don't know how pictures get outta my day there were magazines and so it went live on TMZ with the title. That was something like Kathy Griffin

joins Isis and staffers Donald Trump's head. Well, that's a game suffer. So in Hollywood in my beloved business people think that's the news, you know, and I love it because now Harvey Levin finally confessed of The Daily Beast. He talks to Trump a couple of times a week. So imagine that imagine a gossip blogger talking to the president and you know, can you imagine Barack Obama going to prison for policy advice? So that's where we are people and I'm going to blow the horn. Nothing, I do and the other thing is, you know, they never even gave me the opportunity to have even a conversation

with the Secret Service Jefferson Beauregard sessions has meant you look down and the little boy down and got off the porch and allegedly. I have no proof and knowing that this is the guy who came up with the zero tolerance policy as in brown people in cages, you know, it came straight from the doj and it's never happened and it's my opinion that it came from Trump himself and sessions himself and if it keeps getting perpetuated by the Trump family and you know, they treated me all the time and it jinsup Fox News, but the investigation was real so they just opened an open-ended

investigation the Secret Service and the US attorney's office and in the film, I actually wrongly say a USA and my lawyer is like no you don't play it. It was the US attorney's office and they were considering first. I was on the no-fly list for 2 months like a terrorist and that was on purpose cuz I travel for a living cuz I was touring the time and I went through an interrogation Underoath. It wasn't just a call with the Secret Service to say 11, can die do outrageous things. I'm the only person that they treated this way out of all the guys who allegedly made a threat now. You know,

they all really did get off with either nothing or a call from the Secret Service to that's helping them knowing that they were considering me with wait for it conspiracy to assassinate the president of the United States which holds a lifetime sentence. Wow of the no-fly list in the you know, unbelievable amount of death threats which still come to me on one hand the FBI. We're being fabulous Heroes and maybe keeping me alive frankly and then we're bringing the house and I actually had a no-knock the

day I shot the film ironically. Trump is so anti FBI because I've actually I'm living what it's like to have their protection. I mean, they're not with me 24 hours a day or anything like that, but they've been very diligent about letting me know what they deem to be credible threats. So there's a you know, if they call my lawyer it's a certain level threat if they called me personally, it's a threat that they want me to make sure that I know about so on October 29th the day I shot

the film the counterpart of the film they came over no-knock, which means it's an imminent threat. They don't have time to call to eight agents came over one of them red what's called A letter Call of Duty to warn and you know, I am so you said to come to my house then I'm like come on in fellows and they don't laugh when you say that and I heard there are a few other people that people know about it now that that's right. And I'm not I am not Michael Cohen or Paul manafort. I have not committed even in this to meter much less a felony or treason some I say so it's just been a very bizarre

journey and I just decided to make a learning experience. Cuz what else are you going to do? All this craziness? I lost about 75% of my friends. I lost all my Representatives, you know, it was hard losing people that I had been giving 10% of my income to and the reason I talk about money so much now is as I said it 50 year old woman. I say it loud and proud because they're really very few Comics over 50 that are women so you can even name right? Like there's just not that many of us or and during the case when I would be talking to my incredible First Amendment

attorney Alan isaacman, you know, I would say, okay, you got to find a case where this has happened and the comedian prevailed and I'll never forget him saying there's just a few of you, you know, cuz I did feel like it had a misogynistic change because of orange dumbass is it is what it called, but Robert Mueller. I've been assigned a few days previously. So I realized oh, I'm in the little gift basket. It's like me Kaepernick Madonna Like. I'm just one of the little shiny objects to go. Look this way.

Look this way don't look at the real investigation. So this film just for viewers. This isn't a follow you around documentary. This is a stand-up special that explains what it happens to you. And you know, what's interesting is that you mentioned Jim Carrey's me a piece of advice. I can give you it at you know, when you do your special I think that you have an advantage that others do not when they're trying to tell their side of a polarizing story and you are funny. Cool. Thank you. That way to do it. And so, you know, I think this is pretty common for most Comics but usually when

something bad happens to us, we'd certainly automatically try to think like, how come you spend this? How can I you know, make it funny and some way but this was like a different animal for me. Like I'm really proud of the last tour it was actually able to do a world tour or so the photo that almost killed me also made me world famous. Everybody knows the crazy redhead for the picture and so I was able to work overseas at first once I got off the no fly list, it was exonerated and I knew that the state's like weren't ready for me and stuff. So I had to change my whole business model and

I hired a marketing firm in DC because Ellie in New York, they kept trying to Market me like, you know a regular, if they can play Anywhere. Yeah, I was fantastic and then I had to learn how to really really geo-target the bands that I did have and come to the realization that the fans I lost are probably not going to come back, but I got a lot of new fan. I'm sort of the resistor movement and people are paying attention to stuff. And absolutely I want to tell the story but I do want it to be funny first. So I never want to be

the type of comedian that is like more preachy so I tried to make it funny and also like things like during the whole Trump saying and how it was unfolding living next door to Kim and Kanye is just a gift from the comedy guys. I mean that is that it just there are other like other things like that and I do bring up my sister's passing because my sister got death threats at her hospital until the day she died. So I want people to know this is how serious these folks are. You know, what Trump has a dog whistle and he now has a worldwide Army and I've had to learn who all the Nazis

are. I know them all by name. I didn't even know there were like not to YouTube channels. I didn't know really about the far-right. I didn't know about the Daily Caller whatever this a daily Stormer they'd be able to do a lot of daily things and you know, so I had to kind of learn that whole world because I definitely Was remember the first celebrity to get like the flooding of bots and now I can put up a picture of my puppies and still it was just like maybe I'll be like an hour of all your puppies are cute and then boom all about Saint Rose. I called them the 12 year olds in

Macedonia. And this every comment is like Isis lady be bad. And you know, I actually haven't packed in my career because I don't know if an agent is reading these comments and going. Oh Kathy Griffin is dangerous and toxic but I am quite literally blacklisted in Hollywood at the moment and try to dig my way out of it and the movie hopefully at the beginning and there's also extra footage still believe it or not. We shot a 3-hour special part of the Hindu a 3-hour show

and I do have a lot of documentary footage from the road and stuff. So this cat can be skinned in many ways. I mean, it could be purchased by HBO and do 3 hour specials with Cliffhangers. It could be on Netflix as a docu-series with sit-down interviews. I'm really inspired by the Leah Remini show and how she's exposed Scientology, which was you know off limits for so long. I've been on their list. I told me several times. Where is Shelly miscavige? And so, you know, I've been a troublemaker for a long time. I love that. I was going to ask you what's next, but you just turn this into a

Hollywood pitch border right now. So anyone in Hollywood Is a fuck Trump mug. I want to make sure we get this cuz it's on your T-shirt and I think it is mostly lost on most of us in America. How much can you make in Labor's the how much comedians have done to Break Free Speech speak barriers and defend the First Amendment rights for the rest of us and for you who are some of the comedic guardians of free speech and Sanity today or from the past records, right? So I grew up on like I said Richard Pryor George Carlin Joan Rivers, etcetera.

This isn't an actual story but get this. So one time. All right, this is off topic, but it's so anyway, she introduces me to Prince Charles and I don't know I think I called His Highness or some like that. All the good ones are taken her princess. And so I so I was like that's my kind of guy anyways, so she's like and I was so cool. Prince Charles told me and then he goes if it weren't for journalists and comedians who we keep us honest. I thought what can you can you tell more Americans that we had a ministration an entire

cabinet but is trying to truly. I mean, they're they're Shameless about it, you know, they're trying to get to take away the entire Constitution and I'm First Amendment Advocate because it's the one I know wall to wall and it's the commodity that I trade in is a comic but I've actually got to know more journalists in the last year and 10 months then celebrities are comedians because we're kind of on this together and the assault does affect every American and also my situation I want to make it really difficult to anybody. I mean, I've been a waitress. I've been a bank teller. I've been a

busboy. I've had all kinds of jobs. And I think everyone knows that feeling of you know, if you get you know me to do something that people are offended by it can carry on through the length of your employment. Is that restaurant of that bank? And you know, we all kind of need a minute during a break to go to the alley and crack a bunch of jokes and it just makes the day a better situation going to get me my next job, which I don't have a single damn paperwork out of me for the rest of my life which scares the shit out of me. My inner Joan Rivers is going Ono Ono hustle hustle. And so

I'm happy to be here and it's what I want to do. But I also feel like I really want people to hear the message. I want people to know I was detained at every airport and that they can't take your phone in your sim card because they took mine and I don't know what was on my passport. I have filed three four years and I haven't got one back yet. It was like the first thing you enter when you go into a house. Add a woman versus being a man and I'm wondering if you could sum up in one sentence to you know, any young Cop come back out, or anything out there,

especially women. Is there something you would like to have one in part upon that question because I really believe in being honest about it. I mean, I'm going to be honest when I was younger and especially when Joan Rivers took over The Tonight Show and then got her own show on Fox. I honestly thought so from now on 50% of the late night talk shows will be headed up by women and people forget. It hasn't been since shown that a woman has had the opportunity to have a nightly Network late night talk her so we're still there. I do radio shows all the time. If I'm on the road. I'm talking to

iPhone PP and Coco in the morning. There aren't enough women, Deanna call your local, Club as a ratio is going to be 10 to 1 but no, no you tell me the advice I give is I'm honest I say, you know, you're going to have to work ten times higher. Jump 10 times higher and try to be unique and don't try to copy the guys do your own thing and my material is like 90% personal meaning like the last tour was all about my personal experiences with Trump. I have many stories of my own run-ins with Trump that we just

didn't have time for this particular format. But even those are funny because honestly, I never bothered putting Trump am I acting cuz nobody cared people want to hear about the Real Housewives. So now I can pull them out of my pocket and people go. Oh my gosh, our current president did that I'm like, yeah. She's been a fool for ever. So I like to make it personal and I always tell younger people also don't be afraid to work for free, you know, if you can do a funny YouTube video or something like that. You never know where your break is going to come from, but just keep working and

working and working just no sliding. There's no shortcuts and also don't do it unless you can love it. You have to really have what I called burning desire to her. But if you love it, it's the greatest job in the world. Reach out to her she need a job. Tribute it I guess that's how it works. I have a job for you. Will you please co-host the rest of the day with me? That's okay I fantastic. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for watching. Please come back. If you're out there viewing on to our live stream at 3 p.m. When Amanda Palmer will

be here. You're watching South by Southwest. Com.

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