We should name Joan Rivers the official spokeswoman for FOF. Now, before you start to make faces and tell me I’m nuts, go to see the documentary about her, “A Piece of Work.” If you don’t walk out wanting to be Joan’s new best friend, I’d be dumbfounded. Simone, my 28-year-old daughter, texted me after we saw the movie, “I’m obsessed with Joan Rivers. I wish she was my grandma.”
I blogged about Joan a few weeks ago, after I read an article about her in New York Magazine, but I’m loving her even more now. At 75, she’s got the stamina, the energy and the drive of women half her age. She’ll tell her manager to book her in Minneapolis in the dead of winter if that’s what it takes to work. She’s a loyal friend, profoundly dedicated mother and a great boss.
One of the most revealing scenes in the movie takes place while she’s performing in mid America. When she tells a joke about Helen Keller, a man in the audience starts berating her. “I have a deaf son,” he shouts. Instead of being contrite, she shouts back at him, “This is what comedy is about, you —. It’s about making fun of everyone and everything…” She doesn’t let up. Her diatribe lasts at least three minutes. She’s determined to give her side.
Following the show, a reporter asks for her reaction to the man’s heckling, and she says, “I understand he’s hurt. He has a deaf child. Maybe this was a catharsis for him.”
You could tell that Joan Rivers felt bad for the man, just as she felt bad for a longtime manager she was forced to fire because he no longer pulled his weight. “He was the last person in my life who I could reminisce with about the old days,” she said, tears in her eyes.