By Amanda Weston

Almost two years after the photo that changed her life "irrevocably," comedian Kathy Griffin is back with her self-funded comedy concert movie, "Kathy Griffin: A Hell of A Story."

"It's actually a historic story," Griffin told Cheddar's Kristen Scholer at SXSW. "It's actually never happened in the history of this country, that a sitting United States president has targeted a private citizen, much less a 57-year-old female comedian, with no big production company behind me, or no studio or anything like that. Perfect target. And you know try to really make them unemployable and uninsurable and maybe even arrest me."

Griffin said the infamous 2017 photo, which shows her holding a bloody replica of President Trump's head, sparked investigations from the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Secret Service.

Griffin, who initially apologized for the photo, now defends it.

"The photo was very much covered by the First Amendment," Griffin said, adding that her lawyers had cleared it in advance of its publication on those constitutional grounds. "So, you can be offended. I'm not offended if you're offended. That's okay."

Amid the ensuing photo firestorm, Griffin was forced to cancel the remaining 25 cities of a tour after theaters started receiving death threats. Griffin said she later found out they were robocalls.

Even at her lowest moments ーwhile on the no-fly list and being interrogated under oath ー the comedian said she was thinking: "Find the funny."

But once Griffin had her new material based on that experience, she found herself without any support to launch a tour.

"I really had all of Hollywood just run away from me in fear," Griffin said. "Honestly, nothing like this had ever happened."

"I had to totally change my business model," she said.

Without the support of Hollywood, Griffin turned to a Washington, D.C.-based marketing firm to help target potential ticket-buyers who would be sympathetic to her side of the story.

"They said, 'we're going to treat you like a congressman who's been in a scandal, and we're going to find who his voters are,'" Griffin said. "And I was like, 'now you're talking.'"

Then Griffin went to work self-funding and self -promoting her tour, which ended up selling out major venues around the world, including the Sydney Opera House, The London Palladium and Carnegie Hall. She told Cheddar she learned how to get insurance, hire ushers, rent theaters and more.

Even after that success, HBO and Netflix both passed on streaming the special.

"I've worked for every network," Griffin said. "I've done Super Bowl ads. I have two Emmys and a Grammy. I've probably made $75 million over my career, and nobody would take my call. Nobody."

But South by Southwest took a chance.

“At SXSW, we support freedom of speech, so this felt like a worthy story,” Janet Pierson, the festival’s director of film, told Variety. “We were moved by her hypothesis that this was a cautionary tale: If this could happen to her, it could happen to anyone.”

After successfully taking control of her own business, Griffin now wants to encourage other women to do the same.

"I think a lot more women should be open about business and talk about money ー and the more we talk about money with each other, that's how I think we'll get to pay equity," she said.

"Once I started promoting my own shows, it just feels more powerful, and of course I started making more money because there's full transparency," Griffin said. "And I just also want to encourage more women, in particular, to not be afraid of that side of the business."