The Misunderstood Mensch


Once Joan Rivers left the red carpet after too many publicist debacle’s, the universe gave us Star Jones followed by Ryan Seacrest, an insulting lubed up puppet show which could only be obstructed by the hands of Sasha Baron Cohn, who dressed as “The Dictator,” spilled ashes on Ryan Seacrest’s well-manicured physique during his 2012 Academy Award red carpet appearance.  Presumably Cohn meant no harm and it was just a prank, but it lent itself so wonderfully to what had been missing all of these years, ridicule in a time of supposed adulation.  According to the way many celebrities, their fans and particularly the red carpet muncher T.V. hosts carried themselves, you would think these starlets had just freed the Jews from the Holocaust; Joan reminded them they did nothing of the sort.

Joan would grow tired of celebrity suck up:

“Who are you wearing . . . have you got a lucky charm . . . who the fuck are you!!?”
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)

As Michael Schulman so eloquently wrote in his New Yorker piece on Joan, “Everyone who called her the Queen of Mean was missing the point: life is what’s mean, and she was here to let us know how funny that is.” If you take yourself too seriously life has a lot of troubling things in store for you, better to face the Queen than the masses with manure in hand.

Let’s face it Lena Dunham’s tits really do look like “Michael J. Fox drew them and Stevie Wonder filled in the lines.” If you think this isn’t funny or somehow insulting, in the words of Joan Rivers GO FUCK YOURSELF! You’re missing the point.  As a young or aspiring anything coming into ‘the business,’ Joan is reminding you that ‘sell by date’ is just around the corner.  If you can’t handle her tell your landlord in North Hollywood you decided to go back to teaching performance art in Sedona.

“Miss Rivers wrote this diary as a comedic tone, not unlike Saving Private Ryan or The Bell Jar…Anyone who takes anything seriously in this book is an idiot.”
Diary of a Mad Deva (2014)

At one point Kristin Steward wanted to sue Joan over statements she had made about her love life in Mad Deva:

“I didn’t know who she was. She should have a sense of humor. It’s a shame as I wanted her in court and made to touch a doll in the parts where the director touched her. . . I love when they say I’ve crossed a line. On the scale of 1 to Osama bin Laden, I didn’t blow up buildings.”
Interview for The Daily Beast (2014)

Joan knew the shelf life of a celebrity and spent the majority of her career at the top of that shelf.  When she found herself close to the floor Joan recognized the power of humility, “I’ll do anything, I’ll even wear a diaper.”  After her husband Edgar committed suicide in 1987, Joan’s Vegas contracts were cancelled and no venues would touch her.  She went back to the Village where her career began, where “sometimes the hat wouldn’t come back,” and she somehow managed to make suicide funny.  A T.V. movie with her daughter and a daytime talk show later . . . Edgar who?

The career would continue to go up and down, but Joan always remained relevant with a drive surpassed by no one—QVC, noted TV appearances ranging from The Apprentice to Louis, Red Carpet shows, The Fashion Police, Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?, In Bed With Joan all while consistently touring around the country and averaging a book every three years.  I could go on but I won’t.

Joan’s temperament and comedy would change after the death of her husband and as she recently told Howard Stern, Joan nearly attempted suicide after her husband killed himself. But when her Yorkie dog “Spike” climbed onto her lap and sat on the gun, Joan reconsidered.  The kids in the Village circa 1988 would not accept a former talk show host and with nothing to lose, no contracts beholden to, Joan raunched it up.

This is when I stated to become a super fan and when I saw her live in 2010, I remember Joan making a joke along the lines of sending her grandson Copper to the Neverland ranch in order cheat Michael Jackson out of money.  The dryness of her vagina and anal sex were also discussed.

Typically my mother and I don’t exchange texts about celebrities on life support, a grief counselor by way of experience; mom knew there were other things to get upset about frankly.  But Joan always had a special place in our hearts.  Prior to Joan mom was the only raunchy women I knew, and when I couldn’t wipe my own ass mom made up a tune, “oh how it excites me when you say wipe me.”

Joan was a maniac on stage as she was in life, whipping back and forth as she showed off her sparkling outfit, “excuse me Angie’s (Joline) kids.” Joan was never going to get old in the traditional sense, with saliva dribbling down her chin and as disgusting as this sounds, only an anesthesiologist could stop her.  Sure she said messed up shit about Palestinians (she meant to say Hamas) we didn’t like her because she was lovable; we liked her because she was the truth, which as this summer can attest, is pretty fucked up!

Joan’s Highlights

The Girl Most Likely to . . . (1972)
Starring Stockard Channing
Written By Joan Rivers

Rabbit Test (1978)

A Piece of Work (2010)

Comedy Central Roast 

Last Interview on Howard Stern


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