Kathy Griffin Suffers The Comedy Consequences For a Joke She Can’t Defend
Most standup comedians who have had tomatoes hurled at them by a displeased audience during their act, you can’t help but feel empathy for Kathy Griffin, or any comedian, who inadvertently pisses off their audience. There is a big difference however, between how a comedian bombs on a live stage and how Kathy Griffin bombed with her ill-conceived severed Trump-head photo. Bombing before a live audience solely because you’re not funny, isn’t anywhere near as disturbing as bombing before a global audience because you’re not funny and socially tone deaf, and/or crassly insensitive to a marginalized or victimized group. At the risk of stating the obvious: a comedian who doesn’t transgress by “crossing the line”, whatever and wherever that ever-shifting line may be, isn’t a very good comedian. Great comic talents not only cross the line, they move well beyond it into new terrain. Think Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Louis CK and Jerrod Carmichael, to name a handful of superb comedy provocateurs. They have all been unapologetically outspoken, despite offending many people. Also, at one time or another, they have all made even their most ardent fans squirm with jokes that were off the mark.
Offending people becomes a problem for comedians only when they can’t stand by their material. It is worth noting that Stephen Colbert did not apologize, nor should have, for his recent use of the term “cock holster” in a joke referring to what Donald Trump’s mouth is best suited for in relation to Vladimir Putin. Colbert’s language was crass, but his satiric point was spot on. Knowing that, he was able to firmly defend his comedy ground.
Bill Maher was not able to do that in the tense aftermath of 911 when he observed, “Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.” However, in his mea culpa, he admitted no error in judgement: “I offer my apologies to anyone who took what I said wrong.” In other words, “don’t blame me.” What makes Kathy Griffin’s situation substantively different is that, upon further review, she agrees with her critics that her joke was deeply offensive and without merit. That being the case, she felt compelled to post an on-camera apology, in which she admitted with much embarrassment, “I went way too far.” That doesn’t mean that Kathy Griffin is a bad person, a lousy comedian, or sick in the head; it just means that she made a made a terrible comedy decision, which is humbling, humiliating and potentially career-threatening. Just ask Michael Richards, ex-star of Seinfeld, about stepping over that comedy line with his 2006 comedy routine filled with racial slurs. He announced his standup comedy retirement the following year and has pretty much disappeared from entertainment. Griffin has already felt the heat since, as she has lost advertising endorsements and been fired from NBC.
Will Kathy Griffin Recover From This “In Bad Taste” Comedic Humor?
Susan Z’s Conclusion:
Yes. Unlike Richards whose comedy faux pax was one of social and moral indignation, Griffin went too far with a gory visual of the president who is not very well liked but still the president. It will die down and go away after a time but a hard lesson for her on the consequences of “freedom of speech”.
Three of Swords: Inverted (Upside Down) This card is of mourning a situation or melancholy. I am sure Griffin is definitely feeling this energy for the poor comedic choice of visually assaulting Trump with a gory picture. Since pulled inverted, as I mentioned above, it will lighten up for her and just become a “joke” remembered being done in bad taste.
Six of Cups: Inverted
This card is forgiveness and looking back with nostalgia. Since inverted, I feel she now wishes she never took it that far but also realizes she has made a personal enemy of Trump, which never fares well. Ask Rosie O’Donnell about that one.
Eight of Swords:
This card is fear keeping you bound from making a decision. I believe this is how Griffin feels at the moment, not knowing quite what she should do to make it right with her audience.
I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong. pic.twitter.com/LBKvqf9xFB
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 30, 2017
Susan Z Rich is an emotional addiction counselor, spiritual intuitive and holistic therapist. She counsels others to see life in a more positive way and teaches personal accountability for life choices. She is also the author of several children’s books and Soul Windows…Secrets From The Divine. (life cycles) Learn more at her website: www.szrwhitewings.com