Tag Archives: Joan Rivers

Another Side of Joan Rivers

Joan RIvers

Joan RIvers

As fans and fellow comics across the land remember the funny, fearless and frank Joan Rivers, other, warmer sides of the groundbreaking star are also emerging. Among those: Joan Rivers, inspirational figure.

This woman had come back from devastating loss; she’d spent two years in a professional dry spell after the suicide of her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, and the failure of the Fox late night show that many predicted would be a career-ender. Yet well after “retirement age”— and decades after many women in show business are forced out to pasture — she’d somehow made her way through several successful incarnations, managing to work two or three series simultaneously while keeping up a string of nightclub gigs and hawking her jewelry line on QVC.

In 2010, feeling stung by some setbacks of my own, I was in the frame of mind to ask Rivers her about what she did to be such a survivor. And she was quick to respond. “I’ve been fired a lot. I’ve had full books and I’ve had years where I’ve had empty books, and when one day you find you’re slightly older and you have an empty book, that’s really, really scary,” she admitted. “You just have to keep on moving and keep on trying and keep on pushing.”

Many who experienced Rivers’ public speaking engagements walked away having literally laughed and cried, feeling bolstered to keep moving and trying and pushing as well.

Not surprisingly with her work ethic, she was an admirer of the great American dream, something readily apparent on her “How’d You Get So Rich?” show. “All these people started out with nothing. They put in hard, hard, hard work. It shows if you’ve got a good idea and are willing to work your butt off, you can get rich,” she said admiringly.

Rivers left a great legacy of laughter, of course, and also of inspiration through her books and interviews and the unfiltered, acclaimed “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” documentary of 2010.

“I didn’t want to do a documentary and have it be one of those things you see on Biography channel where everybody says nice things. Let’s show the truth, otherwise why bother?” she said.

“There was only one thing I asked to have removed from it. I was talking about Edgar’s suicide and how angry I still am at him. You know, I’ll walk by his picture and still say $@!! you. And Melissa got very upset with that,” she said of her daughter. “She asked if you could please ask them to take that out. Everything else — the deal was that they would follow me around and I would give them free access. And that’s exactly what I wanted.

“I just love the business, it’s the only business I love,” she went on. “And if you have to work hard to do it, fine. It’s a wonderful tradeoff.”

As we mark Rivers’ passing, we can’t help but note with a smile that worked right up to the end, moving, trying and pushing — and never did let setbacks stop her.

THE 35TH ANNUAL BECK/SMITH HOLLYWOOD TACKY TASTE AWARDS

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all and a big thank you to readers of this column who submitted candidates for Beck/Smith Hollywood’s 35th Annual Tacky Taste Awards! Yes, we received votes for both President Barack Obama and former governor Mitt Romney this election year — but our tackiest Top Ten drew more. There are so many celebrity turkeys this year, we’d better get started before indigestion sets in:

 1. Clint Eastwood. “Clint Eastwood’s endless, embarrassing ad libbed monologue to a chair at the Republican convention should get your tacky prize,” wrote M.C. of San Juan Capistrano, CA. “It was like seeing somebody’s drunken uncle ruin a party,” added LesB1. Or, as Heidi D. of New York put it, “I don’t think ‘Dirty Harry’ made anybody’s day this time.”
2. Joan Rivers. Contributor Grace H. of Burbank, CA proclaimed: “It’s fall and Tackies are crawling out of the woodwork. The silly season is in full swing. Joan Rivers got an early start by making a scene in a Burbank Costco parking lot because Costco refused to carry her nasty book ‘I Hate Everyone Including Me’ which was replete with the F word.”
3. “The Tacky Taste Award should go to: the Petraeus/Broadwell/Kelley/Allen mess or, briefly, ‘Generals Gone Wild'” wrote Robert A. He was part of a late surge in voting that took off earlier this month after David Petraeus stepped down as head of the CIA and admitted his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell — which has led to more revelations involving Florida socialite Jill Kelley and General John Allen. Joked reader Danette S. of New Orleans, “David Petraeus and John Allen: top generals taking orders from their
privates! Soooooo tacky.”
4. Lance Armstrong. Julia C. of Arizona summarized the feelings of many when it comes to the doping-tainted cyclist, who was stripped of his Tour de France titles. “The guy lied and carried on the facade of innocence for years. He was able to control his own team for many of those years to carry on his innocence. He truly is the master of lying publicly and getting us to believe in him — even idolize him. He got sponsors to pay millions to represent their products. Even when the story began crumbling, he had his lies rehearsed so well that he still seemed believable and almost made you feel sorry for him. The guy went to the Arnold Schwarzenegger School of Integrity and needs to hire Tiger’s PR guy.”
5.  Donald Trump.  From John W. of St. Louis:  “The Evil egomaniac with the epoxied comb-over.  Who could be more deserving of a tacky award than Donad Trump.  Ranting that the election was a ‘sham and a travesty’ because he doesn’t like President Obama is typical behavior.”
6. Mary Kate Olson and her 16-years-older love, Olivier Sarkozy, the French banker who is also half brother of the former French president, Nicolas. Declared Grace.tra, “The pictures are revolting. She’s like a smoking Muppet on an outing with him and his (same height) daughter.” Echoed Arlene L. of Cedar Rapids, IA: “Tres tacky.”
7. Lindsay Lohan. “Substance abusing, jewelry grabbing, vehicularly impaired lowlife Lindsay Lohan playing immortal Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor? What are they thinking? Lifetime gets my vote for their tacky casting choice.” — Shawn2002 in San Francisco.
8. Kristen Stewart. Roxieund1 was among those critical of the “Twilight” leading lady: “It isn’t that she cheated on Robert Pattinson that makes her so tacky. It’s her acting, which consists of one expression: constipated.”
9. The Media. Among complaints about biased news people and maniacal gossip hounds this election year were comments regarding the media circus surrounding Whitney Houston’s death. “It was the height of ghoulishness, when even CNN was advertising a ‘stake-out camera’ at the funeral home,” griped Atlanta-based Jbstcher.
10. Ann Coulter. Pam E. of New Haven, CT, was among those who feel, “Ann Coulter is tackiest this year and every year. She will say anything to get attention. Attacking the late Princess Diana (‘just this anorexic bulimic narcissist’) and using the word ‘retard’ for the President and then refusing to apologize for the slur are two examples of her ugly modus operandi.”
And that’s it for this year! Here’s hoping all your turkeys have the best of taste.

Ryan Dunn Part of Growing Crowd of Anti-Role Model Celebrities

Ryan Dunn MTV photo

It’s sad, but it could be that the late “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn’s greatest legacy might be as an anti-role model. The daredevil, whose Porsche is said to have been traveling between 132 and 140 miles per hour when it crashed, killing Dunn and passenger Zachary Hartwell last week, had a stunning blood alcohol content of .196, according to a preliminary toxicology report. With an estimated 11 drinks in him before he got behind the wheel, he automatically becomes the poster celebrity for what can happen to you when you drink and drive.

Indeed, Roger Ebert’s notorious tweet — “Friends don’t let Jackasses drink and drive” — over a photo of the horrific remains of that car could serve as an effective public service billboard.

Recent years have, unfortunately, brought us an phalanx of
anti-role model celebrities — who teach us by example what NOT to do.

Two years after Michael Jackson’s death of acute propofol intoxication, his doctor, Conrad Murray, is due to go to trial in September on involuntary manslaughter charges. But certainly, details of Jackson’s gargantuan prescription drug usage that set the stage for the overdose have given people pause.

The same is true of Heath Ledger, who seemed destined to become one of the greatest film actors of our time, until his life was cut short by what the New York City coroner’s office determined was an accidental overdose of  painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs: oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine.

Look out, because, as the late Jeff Conaway pointed out, getting addicted to pain pills can creep up on you.

Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen are just two among the current crop of celebrities who have all but destroyed their careers with wild and sometimes violent behavior — behavior that’s landed each of them behind bars more than once. Lohan and Sheen have each demonstrated how even the most prodigious talents can be thrown away. Let us hope not their lives.

Their poster would have to say something along the lines of “Here’s what excessive partying can do to you, kids.”

Anti-role model celebrities show us so many things — how NOT to divorce (e.g. Madonna and Guy Ritchie), how NOT to parent (Britney Spears), and how NOT to utilize cosmetic surgery (Joan Rivers). The idea of actually looking up to stars sometimes seems positively quaint.