Heslam: New Year’s Eve off her calendar, but Griffin’s not done

June 1, 2017

Embattled comedian Kathy Griffin may have succeeded in making herself even more despised than the target of her vile stunt this week, but her career isn’t over.

The photo of Griffin holding the fake decapitated head of President Trump is revolting. I can’t shake the image of Trump’s 11-year-old son, Barron, seeing the photo flash across the TV screen and crying out, “Mommy, Mommy!”

The over-the-top stunt has cost Griffin her longtime New Year’s Eve gig on CNN. No matter what the political party, everyone from Anderson Cooper to Chelsea Clinton to the president himself has condemned Griffin.

She’s begged for forgiveness in a video she posted amid the intensifying backlash. She’s under investigation by the Secret Service.

But despite the universal vilification, we probably haven’t seen the last of the brassy comedian and reality TV star.

Just look at Billy Bush. Back in October, Bush was persona non grata, booted from the “Today” show after the crass video of him and Trump came to light.

Recently, a contrite Bush has emerged on a redemption tour as he seeks to resurrect his TV career. In the wake of the scandal, Bush told The Hollywood Reporter, he went on a healing retreat, took up yoga, walked on hot coals with life coach Tony Robbins and had a “spiritual awakening.”

I’m sure Griffin will follow suit.

“I do believe her career can recover,” said David Gerzof Richard, founder of Big Fish, a Boston-based public relations agency. “People love a redemption story.”

Richard had some advice for Griffin: Lie low for awhile.

“She’s already done the right thing, which is sincerely apologize,” Richard said. “Really let the headlines pile up on other news stories and this will become like the Billy Bush story. It was something in the past and now there’s something new.”

Griffin, Richard said, “should take some time, reflect on things, develop some humorous content that is more in line with her typical sense of humor, that’s not joking about killing the president, and make a restart of it.”

Last month, HBO comedian Bill Maher made an incest joke about Trump and his daughter Ivanka. Late-night funnyman Stephen Colbert made a homophobic joke about Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

And now there’s Griffin beheading the president.

Not funny at all.

“We’re using all types of shock words, shock tactics and shock memes to get attention,” said Gregory Payne, head of Emerson College’s department of communication studies.

We’re living in an era where rules don’t apply, Payne said, where civility, practicality and common courtesy is seen as a weakness.

“Unfortunately for the president, with his birther claims, etc., he has dignified the very rhetorical tactic that he’s now a part of,” Payne said. “There will be something next that will outdo what we just witnessed.”

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