'I just won't go down': Kathy Griffin on making her comeback after Trump scandal

The comedian spoke to ABC News' "Nightline" co-anchor Dan Harris about the photo of her holding a fake bloody severed head of President Donald Trump and the toll it took on her career.
9:42 | 07/04/18

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Transcript for 'I just won't go down': Kathy Griffin on making her comeback after Trump scandal
Reporter: This is a moment Kathy griff says she thought uld never hap again. Hold! I know you've done this before but still, this is something to behold There'sothing like it. I'm not a religious on. I call it thechurch. Reporter: Performing for a sold-out crowdtnegie hall. This cathedral of classical muse pick to host a comedy back. Just a yea ago -- Outragem all sides after that video of comedia Kathy griffin -- That image -- Nobody wants to see this, it wasn't funny, didn't work -- Reporter: Griffis career on the edge of . Did you thinour career was over? Yeah, I thought there was a good chance my career W over. Reporter: This pic of Kathy gri holding ak severeead of president Donald P sti a national scandal. The comedian called araitor, even a terrorist.what were you thinking? Really? Just -- ok do you have a different quen than I've been asked a year and a half? You're ABC, act like it, gmn it. That's the exact quen you get every time? What were U thinking? I wanted to shame him, it, as iefer T trump, it. I ted to shame it. I T believe it'sman. Believe it or no I'm not a Megyn Kelly fan, but I do remember him saying as you do, there was blood coming of heres, blood coming out of her wherever. And I was doing a wacky photo shoot and I thought, right, let's get a Halloween trump match, ketchup on it,ee if he S it when there's blood coming out of his wherever. A storm of controversy -- I T it's disgusting and reprehensible -- Is her ceer unioned? What happens ne Reporter: Within hours of the picte going public a torrent of backlash. Left, right, and furned on me, everyone turd on me. Reporter: Donald Trump Jr. Tweeting, disgusting but not surpsing, this is left today. And the pdent saying, Kathy griffin should be ashamed of H herself, my children, especially my11-year-d son Barron, are ha a hard time with this, si Chelsea Clinton tweeting, this is vile and wrong, it is never funny to joke about killing a president. You didn't think THAs going to cause any consternation when you did ? No, of course not. Really? I wasolding a Halloween maskh ketchup on it. S it not an indication of violence It's a photo. Have you seen the cover of"der Spiegel"? Have you seen a of the famous iconic covers of magazines? N take any one of them and Cuse them of inciting violence. Also, I'm K griffin, the comedian. Not an elected. It's me. Doeshat mean there are lines foryou? There's no lines for me. Orter: Others saw different believing THA griffin had crosse a line. She lost sponsorship deals, her spire tour was canceled, and CNN terminated contract to host new year's eve. Her cohost and nd, Anderson cooper, tweeting, for the rico I'm appalle by the pho shoot Kathy gri took part . It'slearly disgusting and completely inapriate. I don't have a punch line for at punch line was hurt. The punch lineas"ouch." Eporter: She said she received bruta detailed death threats and wasut UND federal investigation. I was on the no-fly list. I was on the interpol list. I had T go overseas to make a Ving. I wasained at every single aiort. They take your passport. They take your Devis. They leave you Alo in room and you don't know what's going happen and you can't ask. You had friends who told you, just go away for years? Y it was great. Sharon stone, who I love, goes, leave theountry for eight years. I go, you leave the cou for eighyears, I have to me a living, I've got billso pay. Reporter: Sheld I this apology video T twitte I sincerely apologize. I'st now seeing thection of these images. I'm a comic, I cssed the LI I move the L then I CSS it. I wentay too far inter months later, griff would retract the apology, calling fallout F age. I read is the age and the pearl-clutchineally was . I Ku're no fan of his son, don Jr. Raised point, what if sobody had done this to ama? Do you think that comedian would ve received the sameind of ire? Did Y do any research? Are you goi to really a like you did S the eight years of all THA crap on Facebook with everybody's racist uncle sending somebody a picture O Obama B lynched We didn'te a prominent comedian hold up mock seved head O president. If the had been I think it's a fair question to what would the respoe have been? First of all, Barack Obama never gave one a reason to ld up a photo like that. Remember the "Ss Hollywood" S. Barack Obama was clean as a whistle, people just didn'tike that he S black. Should there be any limits on what you can say as a comedian? There laws, youan't ll "Fire" in a theater. I want Y, I want you do know I didn't break the law, I didn'to anything wrong. That photo is very much ced by the first amendment. Reporter: Throughout her career griffin has turned her rsonal turmoil into serious edge. Gainin notoriety for her off-co jokesn stage, perpetual insider Figg her way into the predominantly male world of comedians, Kathy griffin became a household ne in her show "My life on the D LI." You know ho you get to Carnegie hall? You , ? What today? You're announcing revenue cities today. Good. S a good R of shows. Reporter: A year after the photohoot scandal, griffin is proving once aga thathe will Noto down without a fight. Mhole point of myhy griffin laugh your head off tourisobviously, I'm very leg into the O. I'm N acting like T elephant in the roon't there roaring. Because it is. But also it's a hell of story. Reporter: After testing the ters overseas last fall, performing in 15countriehe is on her way on this morning T "The view" to promote the U.S. Portion of hercomedy tour. Youl be two segments. He said may not two. Re you ready for a check? One, two, three, fou -- S caused up madeome powerfulenemies. Please welcome back theabulous Kathy griffin. I'm here! I'm alive. I'm just glad T bealive. I can't believe it's been a ar since this. I know. A year thith that that picture wasreleased. Right. And we already -- What a year it' been. Yeah, yeah I take thology back. . It's just me, everybody. Kathy griffin,iving legend. M just a person. No one C. Orter: And outsi radio city music hall, neitherend nor foe was safe. All GHT, let's see how long till someone notices. Get it? It's . Ke a picture, don't be . Me on. Get in it.ye fantastic, hello. Oh my god, we're selfie Why not? Reporter: Cck this exchange with able whoppear to be trump supporters. Hi. Ohdon't believe you, really? You love trump? Let's talk about it. How much do you love trump? Why do you want to come me and talk about trump? What do you love about hi his policies? You think he's going to giveou a tax cut, ? You're a woman, let me guess, U held your nose because he abs And that's okay with you? Hey, relax. Look at this guy start with me. She walk busy, LE trump." I'll kic his butt. Thank you, sir, you'ran angel from heaven. Can we G a photo? Let's do it. I think most people agree one of the biggest problems we're facing is a coarsening our discourse. We have trouble agreeing on a basic set of facts. Do you have any compunction about or do you that you are a part of that problem? No. I don't -- are you ?I'm the solution, baby I deal infact this is a whole new world, honey. You guys got to realize, it's differ now. And I understand what you're Ying about discourse and we should be able to reach acss the aisle. The other team doesn't do that. The Michelle Obama strategy of, they go low, W go high? You thinkunrealistic? I think it's great for most of world. But as I say in my act, I love Michel Obama. And I think it's great that she goes high. And I think most people should go high. It personay am very comfortable down in the mud. You know what? Get the Door, Jesus Christ, last time I checked I was girl. Sorry, but we've been tng ab-- The switcheroo, right? We'ven talking about the decline in civilitnd that was an example. That's GHT, you were uncivil. Reportehe same incivility that made her famous, about to light up new York City's Carnegie hall to a soldut crowd. Do you get nervous? N I getexcited. So I would imagine you had moments -- Imagine if you had talent, then you could do something like this someday Uh-huh. This interview'sot going well. K dreaming. I have T emmys and a gr. I'mn T guinness book of worl records. I kick the but I want some file comic or person color or gay perso today, THA 57-year-old BIR didn't let him take her . Iust won't go wn. Reporter: For "Nightline," this is Dan harrisn New York

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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