When Charlie Rose interviews someone, I watch and listen. I guess that makes me a Charlie Rose groupie (I rely on Tivo to get my fill). So, when he interviews Joan Rivers about the documentary, “A Piece of Work,” I go see it. The film, by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, spans the 40 year career of Ms. Rivers. At 77 (she’s actually 75 in the film), we see a tough broad who is not afraid to bare all. In fact, she thrives on it, needs it, like an addict.
Watch this great trailer:
I’m not exactly sure when I stopped liking Joan Rivers, but I’m guessing it was back in the late 80s with everyone else. Falling from grace due to a series of professional and personal blows such as being blacklisted by Johnny Carson/NBC, and the 1987 suicide of her husband/manager, she struggled to find work in her beloved show biz.
Circumstances and age seemed to have turned Ms. Rivers into a comic whose jokes seemed more like cruel jabs aimed to hurt the likes of Liz Taylor and her battle with weight. I find it very ironic for Joan to be hassling Liz when she was perpetually under the knife of her plastic surgeon re-figuring her face, and who knows what else. I know it’s none of my business how many face lifts this Grande Dame of comedy endures but frankly, I think her face lifts turned me off when she started to look like a caricature of herself standing in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.
Now, here’s the big BUT – after seeing this film, and her journey back to glitz and glamour, I actually like Joan Rivers again! She’s one smart woman who climbed her way back to legendary status selling her jewelry on QVC, and her red carpet attacks (with her daughter) on celebrity T.V. And don’t forget her latest gig on Donald Trump’s reality show “The Celebrity Apprentice.” No, I didn’t watch it but I was not surprised to learn that Ms. Rivers won the competition, which by the way, meant she had to beat out her own daughter, also on the show. Needless to say, the mother and daughter relationship is strained. Nothing new here abut mothers and daughters.
In spite of her obsession to be a star and stay on top of her game, I couldn’t help but admire Joan Rivers. Like I said before, she is one tough broad, and she’s not afraid to fight tooth and nail to keep her dream alive. Aging gracefully? Not her. Aging any way she can is more like it.