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No joke — Kathy Griffin plans comeback with gigs in New York and D.C.

No joke — Kathy Griffin plans comeback with gigs in New York and D.C.
Comedian Kathy Griffin photographed in her Burbank home in 2015. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Kathy Griffin is plotting her move back to the spotlight.

The red-haired comedian, who has been in a self-imposed exile since last May after provoking a furor with a photo in which she held up a bloody-looking mask disguised as the severed head of President Trump, has booked a pair of major comedy gigs.

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"I'm going to do a show at Carnegie Hall in New York," she announced on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday. "And I'm going to go right into Trump's backyard and do a show at the Kennedy Center."

Griffin's website also announces smaller shows in San Francisco, Seattle and Boston through June.

Of her return, Griffin told Maher: "I'm not decimated."

Then she raised her arms and gave the finger to the air above her — to appreciative applause from the audience. (The interview is available on "Real Time's" YouTube account. It is laced with comedic profanities.)

Griffin became persona non grata in Hollywood following the appearance of what she labeled as a satirical photo. Trump described the image as "Sick!" Many others — both pro- and anti-Trump — were also critical, including Chelsea Clinton, who condemned the photo on Twitter as "vile and wrong."

The image, taken by celebrity photographer Tyler Shields, also drew the attention of authorities, including the Secret Service, who interviewed Griffin at length.

Several venues where Griffin had been scheduled to perform pulled her from their schedules, and CNN ousted her from its annual New Year's Eve broadcast that for 10 years had teamed her with Anderson Cooper. Cooper also tweeted his disapproval of the image, describing it as "disgusting and completely inappropriate."

Though Griffin announced in July that she had been "completely exonerated" in the Secret Service investigation, some media outlets surmised that she would remain "unemployable."

Griffin sought to apologize for the incident (as she did in a YouTube video, after the photo first hit the web), but she soon became more defiant — insisting that it was a parody inspired by Trump's own sexist remarks. And in recent months, the comedian has focused her professional energies on touring internationally, where the whole incident is part of her act.

In a recent cover story in the Hollywood Reporter, Griffin told reporter Seth Abramovitch: "I didn't commit a crime. I didn't rape anybody. I didn't assault anybody. I didn't get a DUI. I mean, my God, there are celebrities that [expletive] kill people."

A shorn Kathy Griffin, with J.J. Abrams and Mark Hamill at the Oscar Wilde Awards in Santa Monica last week.
A shorn Kathy Griffin, with J.J. Abrams and Mark Hamill at the Oscar Wilde Awards in Santa Monica last week. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)

On Maher's show, she expressed gratitude for his support.

"I really want to thank you for being one of the first and only people to publicly support me, " she said. "I got texts from celebrities who were like, 'Don't tell anyone I sent you this text, but I support you all the way!'"

She told Maher that the incident had landed her on Interpol watch lists.

"I did an overseas tour, and I was detained at every single airport," she said. "There's like whispering, and they put me in a detention room and you don't know how long it's going to take.

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"There were times they took my devices," she added. "They can do that. … It happened at LAX. It happened at London Heathrow."

Despite her planned live dates, she said most television networks and streaming services are still keeping her at arm's length.

But "the minute I do something that makes money," she tells the Hollywood Reporter, "they will all love me again."

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