Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Queen of Comedy: Joan Rivers - A Piece of Work

This shot is for you, Shane.

Wow, saw Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work last night and she was there for a Q&A. Fabulous! She's the Rock Star of comedy. It's Joan's Truth or Dare. There are many parallels between Rivers and Madonna for fans to encounter in this film. I've been a long time fan of Rivers and when she walked out for the questions, I was so thrilled. That drive, ambition and constant need to work really reminded me of Madonna (Ciccone just put a hit out on Mr. Pud Whacker!). In our youth obsessed culture, these women forge on unscathed. They will only stop working when the dirt hits their grave.

I love Joan - that bejeweled and bedazzled homunculus figure. She's a fighter and fantastic. It's the year of the documentary - couple this with the brilliant mind fuck Exit Through The Gift Shop. Because she was a comedic genius, she was never taken seriously in her first love which is that of the dramatic actress. As determined and driven as Streisand and Madonna, she never quite graduated to the A-list, even within her less respected field. Where her male-counterparts like Don Rickles and George Burns were thrown accolades, Joan was relegated to being brash and clownish. It was not appropriate for a woman to behave in such a manner and this is reiterated throughout the film. In the same way that Madonna's early sexual references in her work are today considered relatively tame, Joan's references to abortion and botched nights of passion were similarly shocking in their time. They show early b/w footage of her on Ed Sullivan and Johnny Carson and you feel her power. This is a woman who never stopped and never will. She's raw and real.

There is a vulgar quality about Joan but it's intelligent, endearing and funny not repellent, screechy and self-anointed like Kathy Griffin. Like said about Madonna, Joan is happiest on stage. I really must say, seeing her in person was such a delight. We were 2nd row and say what you will about Miss Joan but that bytch looks glamorous and fantastic at 77!!! All 5'2 foot of her. She's teeny tiny, like a little mouse. It's a brilliant insightful film about a brilliant, intelligent and talented woman. There will never be another Joan Rivers. See it immediately, I would definitely see it again.

Joan interviewing Madonna on the red carpet at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards


  1. So well said!!! THANK YOU for the picture and this terrific post!

    This is why I like you so much - you "get" Joan and see the parallels between her and Madonna!

    They're both two talented, no-nonsense broads who are true originals! There'll never be another Madonna or Joan and how lucky are we to have them both present in the same lifetime!

    THANK YOU Nick!! The picture is awesome and I can't wait to see the film next week in Chicago!


  2. shane - my pleasure - hope you like the pic!!! she was wonderful - everything you expect and MORE. the film was fantastic. yes, we are lucky to have both. courageous ground breakers. xo

  3. hey pud - i heard about that q&a premiere on kcrw hours before.. but was already on the other side of town so i missed it. soooo jealous!!!

  4. Saw the doc this past weekend---really terrific film.

  5. What surprised me most about Joan’s new movie is that it was incredibly honest. They didn’t paint her as a perfect person, but they definitely showed her as a real person, not just a name or a celebrity

  6. brian - that sucks!!! have you seen it yet?

    cristian - wasnt it great?

    hiatt - i agree. it went deep.

  7. @PudWhacker: it really was. It gave me a whole new respect for the lady, and was a terrific statement on the cut-throat entertainment business.

    Maybe one day Madge will allow herself be shown as raw and honest as this. We got kinda close to that with Truth or Dare.

  8. OMG, you and I were sitting on the same row. I was to your left about 7 or 8 seats. Loved seeing the docu over the weekend, and it was even better with Joan there.
    BTW, do you know she is performing at Catalina Jazz Club on Sunset for 3 nights in July?

  9. really corner? no, i didnt - lets go!!!! xo

  10. Can We Talk? After watching Joan Rivers’ new doc, I was quite impressed with how sensitive, smart, and funny she is. It was really touching and smart. Check it out or your missing out.

  11. I'm sure Joan turned around and cut her up.