In her bubble, Kathy Griffin thought nothing was out of bounds in mocking Trump

This Times Square Rolex knockoff of Joan Rivers knew the photograph of her holding the decapitated and bloody head of the president of the United States was edgy and provocative.

That’s why she was excited to pose for it. That’s why she sent it to TMZ. That’s why she initially defended the picture to the journalist Yashar Ali by claiming it was “art.”

But in her heart of hearts, Kathy Griffin is no more a provocateur than Tickle-Me Elmo. Her professional life has been about making fun of people who try and fail to achieve genuinely deserved American celebrity. That’s very nearly the opposite of risky. Making fun of a Kardashian is about as daring as smoking a clove cigarette.

And that’s why it only took her two hours to realize she had done something disastrously self-destructive — and to try to salvage her career by disowning what she had done.