By Crystal Harrell

Two-time Emmy and Grammy Award winning comedian, television star, best-selling author, and advocate Kathy Griffin is bringing her new standup tour, My Life On The PTSD List, to The McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts on April 4.

Kathy is returning to the stage for the first time in over 6 years with her new standup tour. The name of the tour is not only a play on her Emmy-winning TV series, but a reference to the many daunting challenges Kathy has faced over the past several years, including lung cancer that resulted in the removal of half of her lung and a permanent change in the sound of her voice, a divorce, an addiction to pills that led to a suicide attempt, the loss of her beloved mother, and being investigated by the U.S. Government as a terrorist for her infamous Trump picture which left her on the no-fly list and unable to work and navigating several lawsuits.

Now cancer free, able to fly, and funnier than ever, Kathy is on the road with a brand-new comedy show celebrating resilience, humor, and the power of laughter to heal. The legendary two-time Emmy and Grammy Award winning comedian, television host, best-selling author and outspoken advocate, known for her biting satire and fearless comedy, talked with Coachella Valley Weekly about her comedy comeback and the challenges she has overcome to get where she is today:


CV Weekly: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Kathy. How do you feel being able to perform at the McCallum Theatre?

Kathy: It is such a beautiful theater. I love everything about it. I love that the gay community is going to show up. I love that the retirees are going to come. I love that the young folks are going to come just because everybody wants to be in Palm desert these days. It’s the place to be. I love the mid-century furniture stores and I always try to get a date shake when I’m there. I’ve just been going there for so long and love everything about it.

CV Weekly: We’re so happy that you’re joining us here too. And you are going to be performing as part of your tour, My Life On the PTSD List. What can people who purchase tickets expect to hear at your show?

Kathy: They’re going to have the f***ing night of their lives. I talk a lot about PTSD because I actually have been diagnosed with complex PTSD. Six and a half years ago, I was investigated by the Department of Justice and the former administration, including the former attorney general. I was put under a legitimate investigation for the crime of conspiracy to assassinate the president of the United States. I was interrogated by two agencies, the Secret Service and the US attorney’s office. They were very serious about wanting to charge me because I filed a FOIA— a Freedom of Information Act. It took lots of lawyering. I was able to be interrogated in a private office, but out of all the celebrities that got “canceled”, none of them, and I mean not one, was put under investigation like I was. And I was put on the no-fly list in the middle of a 50-city tour. I have been out of work for six years because of that. My friends all turned on me. My industry turned on me because I’m toxic. And then I get addicted to prescription pills. So then I decide I should take my life. I overdosed. Then I got out, and now I’m in recovery. So I’m three and a half years sober from prescription pills. But the funny thing is, I never had a drink in my life. So I get sober from pills for a year, and then guess what? I never even smoke, but I get lung cancer, so they take out half of my left lung. And then I get injured during my surgery, so I have a permanently paralyzed left vocal cord, and my voice is a little bit higher than it used to be. But I wear this special headset when I’m on stage, and the amplification is better, and the audiences have been incredibly forgiving. But then, get this: 85 days ago, I filed for divorce, and I’m 63. So you got to know this guy was pretty bad for me to have to file for divorce when I’m 63 years of age. Now I think ABC should hire me to be the Golden Bachelorette.

CV Weekly: Wow. You certainly have experienced so much.

Kathy: I’ve been through some s**t. You should see the stuff I’m trying to do to get better. I talk about this in the show because I find that people relate to addiction stuff and they relate to cancer stuff. At first, I was afraid to talk about it because it’s all kind of scary. I make fun of all my treatments.

CV Weekly: You’ve been through so many things that most people can’t even dream of experiencing, but you always come back to humor and comedy. How has that been helpful to you, coping with all of the things that you’ve been going through recently?

Kathy: It’s everything. I know it’s a cliche, humor is the best medicine, but I’m living it… Even though I’m 63, I keep getting into fights with the most powerful men in all businesses, including the former president, because I can’t help but to call out BS when I see it and try to make it funny. And even though it seems like everything’s been trying to knock me down, it just makes me want to do more standup. I’m ecstatic to be doing this 40-city tour. For six years, I just sat around and lost my mind. Now I’m as happy as I can be. This is the thing that helps me feel well and normal and happy, is getting out there at the McCallum again. I think I first played the McCallum 25 years ago. I’m so thrilled they’re having me back. And the audience, the way they show up, it’s different than a comedy club, where they’re serving drinks and people are around tables, so half of them have their backs to you. At the McCallum, they have real theatrical performances, and it’s just me. I give it all I can, and every show is different. I will be making fun of Palm Desert right to your face, so get ready for the jokes I’m going to do just for you guys.

CV Weekly: Your career spans decades and females in the entertainment industry are working for that representation. What advice do you have for female performers, either in comedy or any other entertainment career, on how to overcome those hurdles that come with the job?

Kathy: I would tell them to leave their fear at the door. I would tell them to be fearless. I would say to a woman, get out there and do what you think is funny. Don’t look around and go, oh, this is the trendy thing to do right now, or this is what I see on TikTok. Do what comes from inside your gut. I have what’s called a burning desire. What’s been so hard for me, being out of work for six years, is when something happens in my life that’s funny, I can’t wait to hit the mic. I want to hit that microphone so fast, because I want to share with the audience. I want to play with them. I want to see what they think is funny. My style is very improvisational, but it doesn’t matter if you’re somebody who improvs like me, or if you’re somebody who sits at a computer and writes down your act and practices it with your girlfriends. Follow what you think is funny from the inside.

CV Weekly:  Is there anything else that you’ve been really missing about being on stage?

Kathy: I’ve missed everything about being on stage, but what I missed the most is the relationship. And the reason I’m so excited about playing the McCallum is I know the minute my feet hit the stage, I start this relationship with the audience. Some of the jokes don’t land because I’m trying new stuff all the time, but they’re on this ride with me. What I find that’s so amazing about that venue is the audience really listens. And when the audience really listens, they don’t just get the main joke, they get the little side remark too. And then I’ll say something that’s shocking just to make sure they’re paying attention. We’re on this ride together, and they’re laughing and they’re groaning and they’re giggling, and they let me know what they’re into. And I love listening to them just like they’re listening to me.

CV Weekly: When it comes to your comedy and your material, are there any boundaries or barriers that you don’t like to cross, or is everything up for grabs?

Kathy: I don’t punch down, and I never have. I went to Paris Hilton’s birthday party two nights ago, and I still talk about Paris in my act, but it’s not in a mean way. And Paris Hilton is a billionaire. She doesn’t care about my jokes. When she was 19, she’d be mad at me, and she’d think I was mean. But over the years, she came into her own. So when I make fun of a celebrity, I’m making fun of somebody that’s on top of the world. Or if you make fun of somebody at the Oscars, you’re making fun of somebody who’s in a $200,000 dress. They have a stylist, they have a studio behind them. They showed up in a limousine. That’s punching up. But making fun of transpeople? That’s punching down. But I make fun of myself the most. I try to punch up, but I probably would give advice to younger comics to maybe not get into so many fights with the most powerful men in the world as I intended to.

CV: Your career speaks for itself, but with all the growth that you’ve been going through these past few years, what is the one thing that you’re most proud of? With all these years of hardship and overcoming medical issues and social stigmas, what is the biggest takeaway you got from all of this?

Kathy: I think the biggest takeaway is to be brave and ballsy, even when it’s hard, and to have a sense of humor about it. People fired me and abandoned me and told me I was a terrorist and told me my career is over. I just kept plugging away. Whether it’s cancer or divorce or losing half a lung, I just was always writing. It’s simple, but keep going and try to find the humor in the darkest of moments, because that’s where it is. If you can’t laugh at somebody else, you can always at least laugh at yourself. And honestly, that gives you a lot of strength. A good chuckle has gotten me out of a lot of dark places.

To purchase tickets to the My Life On The PTSD List show on April 4, visit