Kathy Griffin details fight with Ellen DeGeneres, talks fallout from Trump photo during comedy tour

The comedienne who was told she would never work again just played a sold-out show at the Dolby Theatre.

Kathy Griffin, who was dropped by her representation, fired by CNN and Squatty Potty alike, and put under a media blackout after she took part in a photo shoot that saw her holding a Donald Trump mask dripping in ketchup, implying the president had been beheaded, has been on a Laugh Your Head Off world tour to prove that just “because they tried to put [her] out to pasture” doesn’t mean she would moo, she said at her Los Angeles stop Thursday.

“It’s not all jokes tonight,” she said. “I’m also spilling piping hot tea.”

Self-proclaimed to be known for being a “starf—er” who tells “dick jokes,” her three-hour set — performed in the now-infamous dress from that Tyler Shields photo shoot — didn’t skimp on the usual brand of raucous, frank storytelling that helped her earn an Grammy for best comedy album (in 2014) and hit the bestseller list twice. (She also has two Emmys for her former Bravo reality show “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.”)

Despite the fact that it was an LA crowd and “you all probably know her,” Griffin revealed she got into a fight with Ellen DeGeneres after Joan Rivers died.

“One of the things that really hurt Joan, and we talked about it at our last meal together, was that Ellen always shunned her and Ellen thought she was vulgar and not funny,” Griffin said, noting that DeGeneres thinks she’s also too vulgar. But when Rivers died, Griffin wanted to reach out.

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Joan Rivers through the years
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Joan Rivers through the years
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 11: Joan Rivers performs on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW. Image dated December 11, 1966. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1965: Comedian Joan Rivers poses for a portrait circa 1965 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
American commedienne and entertainer Joan Rivers jumps into the air, her purse over an outstretched arm and a wig in her other hand, as she tries to hail a taxi from the side of the road, New York, New York, March 1966. (Photo by Truman Moore/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Headshot portrait of American comedian Joan Rivers leaning her face against her fist, 1960s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Overhead view of American commedienne and entertainer Joan Rivers as she lies in a bathtub and talks on the telephone, New York, New York, March 1966. Rivers is wearing a black dress with mesh sleeves and high heels. (Photo by Truman Moore/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 17 -- Pictured: Joan Rivers during the 'Old Age Home' skit on April 9, 1983 -- Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Joan Rivers, host Johnny Carson on Ocotber 5, 1976 -- (Photo by: Ron Tom/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Joan Rivers during Opening Night Performance of 'Marilyn' - February 20, 1985 at Area Nightclub in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 1970: Comedienne Joan Rivers performs live in November 1970 in New York City, New York. (Photo by I.C. Rapoport/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1985: Comedian Joan Rivers poses for a portrait in 1985 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
Francesco Scavullo, Joan Rivers, and Melissa Rivers (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
American comedian Joan Rivers, circa 1985. Photographed in California by Harry Langdon. (Photo by Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Joan Rivers and Husband Edgar Rosenberg during 'The Bounty' Westwood Screening at Coronet Theater in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LONDON -: Singer Boy George and actress Joan Rivers at the Park Lane Hotel in 1984, London. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Betty White, guest host Joan Rivers on September 28, 1983 -- (Photo by: Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Joan Rivers (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 01: Joan Rivers 4/1/1987 (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 1970: Comedienne Joan Rivers with daughter Melissa at home in November 1970 in New York City, New York. (Photo by I.C. Rapoport/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 09: Joan Rivers (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1987: Comedian Joan Rivers poses for a portrait in 1987 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 09: Joan Rivers (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 09: Joan Rivers (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 09: Joan Rivers (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Joan Rivers (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Joan Rivers during Birthday Party for Joan Rivers 'Sally Marr and Her Escorts' Cast Party - June 8, 1994 at Helen Hayes Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Joan Rivers during Birthday Party for Joan Rivers 'Sally Marr and Her Escorts' Cast Party - June 8, 1994 at Helen Hayes Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Joan Rivers (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers during 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Chris Weeks/FilmMagic)
Joan Rivers during The 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals at The Shrine Theater in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 16: TV Guide Channel Host Joan Rivers arrives to the 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel January 16, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
RIDGEWOOD, NJ - JULY 01: Joan Rivers promotes 'Diary of a Mad Diva' at Bookends Bookstore on July 1, 2014 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic)
RIDGEWOOD, NJ - JULY 01: Joan Rivers promotes 'Diary of a Mad Diva' at Bookends Bookstore on July 1, 2014 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30: Media personality/comedian Joan Rivers speaks to fans during her visit at Barnes & Noble Union Square to sign copies of her Book 'Diary Of A Mad Diva' on June 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: (L-R) Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers attend the 2014 NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Upfronts at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on May 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers during The 77th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals at Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)
Joan Rivers during The 57th Annual Emmy Awards - Arrivals at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Joan Rivers during Gala Opening of The JCPenney Experience on Broadway at One Times Square in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/WireImage)
Joan Rivers Attends The 2007 British Academy Television Awards Sponsored By Pioneer At The Palladium In London. . (Photo by Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images)
Joan Rivers during Opening Night Party for the Off-Broadway Musical 'Altar Boyz' at Dodger Stages then Crobar in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
Joan Rivers at the Central Park in New York City, New York (Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, FL - MARCH 02: Comedian Joan Rivers performs at the Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on March 2, 2008 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images)
Comedian Joan Rivers appearing in the Superstar Theater at Resorts Atlantic City on Friday October 20, 2006 (Photo by Tom Briglia/FilmMagic)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Joan Rivers -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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“I just called her and I just said, ‘Look, woman to woman, comic to comic, I think you need to let go of your hatred for Joan Rivers. She’s passed away, just do a f—ing tribute, be cool,'” Griffin said.

But according to Griffin, DeGeneres wasn’t having it and responded that “there’s a difference between mean and funny” and Rivers was mean.

“That f—ing set me off,” Griffin admitted. “So we had a fight in which I used inflammatory words like, ‘Look you f—ing untalented hack.’ … You know when you’re fighting with someone and you can kind of laugh at a point? Yeah, not that day.”

A couple of days later, Griffin said she texted DeGeneres to say she couldn’t stop thinking about the fight they had. “It was so ‘Dynasty’ that I demand to be Alexis as long as you’re Krystle,” she recalled writing. “I think we should do a scene in the pool, I think there should be big hats [and] that bitch didn’t even respond! But that was a good idea!”

Griffin told tales of being neighbors with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, including that he keeps the mannequins from his “Famous” music video in his house and that the night he was placed on his 5150 hold he had been blasting Enya and screaming in his backyard. “I’m such an artiste, I moved in next to my act!” she said.

She shared an experience of meeting Chrissie Hynde, who upon realizing Griffin was the one in the Trump photo called her “punk rock”; she deadpanned that she was “so surprised” by Roseanne Barr’s racist tweets; she revealed that a pre-scandal Matt Lauer contacted her boyfriend and tried to have a “bro” moment with him so he could get an exclusive with her after the Trump photo; she played an audio recording of KB Home CEO and her other neighbor Jeffrey T. Mezger screaming at her over his fence; and she half-joked that if the FBI was wiretapping her phone all they would hear is her explaining “RuPaul’s Drag Race” to her mother.

Griffin also talked about the first time she met Trump, “so long ago he was still with Marla,” when he “had three lines on ‘Suddenly Susan’ and introduced himself by saying, ‘Call me the Donald.'” Over the years, Griffin said, Trump hired her twice to roast him, and when she appeared on “The Apprentice” to help her “beloved, dear departed Joan Rivers” fundraise, he would often call her over to “hang” with him and his daughter between takes.

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Kathy Griffin through the years
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Kathy Griffin through the years
SANTA MONICA, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Comedian Kathy Griffin attends Fox's Cause For Paws: All Star Dog Spectacular at Barker Hangar on November 22, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Comedian Kathy Griffin attends Fox's Cause For Paws: All Star Dog Spectacular at Barker Hangar on November 22, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Comedian Kathy Griffin arrives at FOX's Cause For Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular at The Barker Hanger on November 22, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
SANTA MONICA, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Actress Kathy Griffin attends Fox's Cause For Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular at Barker Hangar on November 22, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Emcee Kathy Griffin speaks onstage at Goldie Hawn's inaugural 'Love In For Kids' benefiting the Hawn Foundation's MindUp program transforming children's lives for greater success at Ron Burkle’s Green Acres Estate on November 21, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for The Hawn Foundation)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Emcee Kathy Griffin speaks at Goldie Hawn's inaugural 'Love In For Kids' benefiting the Hawn Foundation's MindUp program transforming children's lives for greater success at Ron Burkle’s Green Acres Estate on November 21, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for The Hawn Foundation)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19: Kathy Griffin attends the 2014 CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute at American Museum of Natural History on November 18, 2014 in New York City. 25214_001_1185.JPG (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for CNN)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: Kathy Griffin attends the 2014 CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute at the American Museum of Natural History on November 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: Kathy Griffin speaks onstage during the 2014 CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute at American Museum of Natural History on November 18, 2014 in New York City. 25214_002_1366.JPG (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for CNN)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Comedian Kathy Griffin speaks at An Evening With Kathy Griffin at The GRAMMY Museum on November 5, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Host Kathy Griffin speaks onstage during The Equality Now's 'Make Equality Reality' Event at Montage Beverly Hills on November 3, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Equality Now)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 14: Teri Hatcher and Kathy Griffin arrive at the 20th Annual Fulfillment Fund Stars Benefit Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 14, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 14: Kathy Griffin arrives at the 20th Annual Fulfillment Fund Stars Benefit Gala held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 14, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 14: Actress Kathy Griffin attends the 20th Annual Fulfillment Fund Stars Benefit Gala held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 14, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 11: Kathy Griffin arrives at the 2014 Carousel Of Hope Ball Presented By Mercedes-Benz at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
TV personality Kathy Griffin arrives on the red carpet before the 2014 Best in Drag Show at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on October 5, 2014. The show which sees contestants from all over the US raises money for the Aid for AIDS and Alliance for Housing and Healing charities. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
TIBURON, CA - AUGUST 23: Kathy Griffin emcees the 3rd Annual Hotbed Benefit hosted by the Drever Family Foundation on August 23, 2014 in Tiburon, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images)
TIBURON, CA - AUGUST 23: Kathy Griffin emcees the 3rd Annual Hotbed Benefit hosted by the Drever Family Foundation on August 23, 2014 in Tiburon, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images)
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Griffin didn’t want to acknowledge most of the Trump family by their names and instead called his three eldest kids “Feckless, Eddie Munster, and ‘Date Rape.'”

After the year she has had, which also included being under federal investigation by two government agencies, placed on the no-fly list, and having people truly believe she is now a member of ISIS, the primary focus of her show was the backlash after the photo came out.

“I actually was so naive because I thought, ‘Oh big deal, it’s on TMZ,'” Griffin said of the photo breaking as news. “I actually went back to bed. Then an hour later I get a call from Rosie O’Donnell. Now let me tell you something, when it comes to anything related to Donald Trump, the one call you f—ing take is Rosie O’Donnell — the preeminent expert on being trolled by Donald Trump. He’s been after her for 12 years!”

It was O’Donnell, Griffin said, who told her she had to make an apology video. “I said, ‘Ro, we don’t apologize for jokes,'” Griffin responded. But O’Donnell pointed out it was all over the right-wing websites and people truly believed she was in ISIS. “And then she famously said, ‘What if Daniel Pearl’s mother saw the picture?’ And that’s when I said, ‘OK I get it.’ So for her, I made the apology,” Griffin continued. “But I said to Ro, ‘I look like s—. I have no make up on.’ And she goes, ‘That’s better. That’s more real.'”

Combining prepared commentary with stream-of-conscious asides, some of the most memorable parts of that portion of the evening include her breaking down Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ recent call for her to apologize for comments she made on “The View,” as well as her unique take on her interrogation.

“I just like the logistics of how these Trump people think I actually took a picture with the Donald’s severed head,” she said. “Let’s walk that through. I’m a very accomplished surgeon … Somehow I snuck into the White House, chopped off Donald Trump’s head, took it back to Bel Air, where I live, took a picture of it in my stairway, which is where I took the picture, flew back to DC, and then sewed it back on like an episode of ‘Skin Tight.'”

The story of her interrogation started seriously enough but of course came with Griffin’s unique stamp of somewhat twisted humor, specifically when she relayed the moment she remembered she did actually have a weapon in her house after being previously asked more than once if she did and answering in the negative. Excitedly proclaiming she had a “big sword,” she then prompted to tell the agents about how it was procured when she hosted the Gay AVN Awards, all about the film that “swept” those awards that year, and how the sword’s “distinctive markings” included an engraving that said “You’re on the F-list now.”

She also seamlessly rolled with the more vocal fans, who weren’t heckling but still yelled things out occasionally, including one call for her to run for president.

“My platform as president would not be very popular,” she adlibbed. “It’s not personal, but I have to say, men for two years, just let women run everything. Two years, two years — not forever. Two years. And preferably a lesbian — there’s nothing those gals can’t do, can you imagine?”

The most visually emotional Griffin became during the show was when relaying the phone call she got from Al Franken after the Trump photo went viral. “Why would you do that? I can’t be associated with you,” she recalled him saying, which stung because although she admitted he made some bad decisions, she had respected him as a senator.

But she also recalled some positives that came from the experience. “Do you know how many people contact me today and say ‘Put it up again?'” she said of the photo. “Do you believe those kids at the border? Put it up again!”

Early support also came from Jim Carrey, who pointed out that she was “the most famous comedian in the world” and after she picked herself up from the emotional turmoil, she would have a “unique and historical” story to tell.

And if her Laugh Your Head Off tour is any indication, that story is only getting started.

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