You think Sarah Silverman is vulgar? Watch this grandma talk about her saggy vagina or why she loves back door penetration… and then get back to us.
Shit. Joan Rivers is pretty funny. I think people in our generation kind of forget that she’s a comedy icon. We associate her with The Academy Awards, jabbing a microphone in whatever famous face and rambling loudly about nothing only to snap her wrinkled neck backwards and bitch talk with wide-mouthed daughter Melissa. We forget that Rivers paved the way for so many female comedians, but don’t ever bring that up with her. As far as Joan is concerned, she’s still opening doors.
The documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is a mix of both hilarity and sadness. I thought the most interesting thing about this film would be her worked over face, but that’s not even close to being the most fascinating part of Joan. She’s an insanely ambitious and smart woman who is extremely complex. I’d much rather get inside the head of her shrink than the eyes of her make-up artist.
Like most comedians, Joan is so incredibly funny, but also tragic. She can still fill a 4000 seat theatre, but she also feels emptiness if her calendar isn’t completely jammed. The stage seems to be the only thing that gets her up in the morning, the one thing that drives her. Clearly, she still has the stamina, but you can’t help but wonder if this seventy-five year old woman ever needs a nap. What secret drugs does she ingest? It’s nuts.
She describes her home as Marie-Antoinette like; Joan opted for a lavish lifestyle instead of saving for retirement. Now, it seems like she needs to take gigs whenever and wherever she can (i.e winter in a Minnesota casino). She is open to represent both diaper and/or denture brands if anyone is looking.
However, the money isn’t just for her personal desires and habits, the film also alludes to the fact that she supports a rather large community on payroll that includes private school tuition for the offspring of less wealthy friends. The state or flow of her finances is not exactly clear, but one thing is certain: the woman must work!
Manic, yes, but there is also a nurturing side to Joan. Every Thanksgiving she meals-on-wheels to low income housing in NYC or bundles up in a mink and gets driven door-to-door in a limo to bulldoze into shoddy apartments announcing, “I’m JOAN RIVERS!” while thumping meat and potatoes down on the counter. Although the delivery is a little, well, off, the sincerity is for real. Joan’s empathy is also obvious in the way she treats her staff: she looks like a nice (albeit wacky) woman to work for.
No one will ever be able to convince Joan that she’s already made it and that she did so forty years ago. Hopefully she’ll pull a Betty White and have a revival when she’s 88, I think she’d like that very much.