Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (Rhoades)

Joan Rivers Is a “Piece of Work”
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

“Age is the one mountain you can’t overcome,” says 77-year-old Joan Rivers in the new documentary about a year in the comedienne’s life, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.”

But the doyenne of plastic surgery seems to be attacking age like a mountain climber scaling the north face of the Eiger. Face iced over with makeup, filled out with Botox, nipped and tucked, she could pass for 60.

Born Joan Alexandra Molinsky, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, she always knew she was funny.

Performing in numerous Greenwich Village clubs in the early ’60s, she eventually landed a guest appearance on The Tonight Show at the recommendation of Bill Cosby. “You might as well use Joan, she can’t be any worse than the guy you had on last night!” Coz said.

Doing regular stints on the show, she became known for her “brash manner, her loud, raspy voice with a heavy New York accent.” Her trademarked catchphrase “Can we talk?” gained popularity with the viewing public.

After 20 years on The Tonight Show, she was asked by Fox Television to host her own late-night talk show. But the price was high. Feeling betrayed by his protégé, Johnny Carson never spoke with her again. “Truly,” she groans of NBC, “I haven’t been allowed back on late night since I did a show opposite Carson. Naughty, naughty, naughty.”

And later when Fox fired both Joan and her producer husband Edgar Rosenberg, her hubby committed suicide, leaving her and daughter Melissa all but destitute.
Joan River’s show biz career has had more ups and downs than a roller coaster ride. Now she’s doing a reality TV show called “How’d You Get So Rich?” And recently proved her savvy by winning on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”

“I don’t wanna retire; I don’t wanna go sit in the sun; I don’t wanna garden,” she speaks of her still-hectic schedule of daily stand-up comedy appearances.

“There will be nail marks on that red carpet before she's through,” says her former manager Billy Sammeth.

"All stand-ups are innately insecure ... damaged,” says daughter Melissa, her frequent co-host in interviewing celebs on the Academy Awards’ red carpet.

“The only time when I’m truly, truly happy is when I’m on the stage,” Joan admits.

Directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg (“The Devil Came on Horseback”), “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” is an incisive portrait of the raunchy comedy icon. It’s currently making audiences laugh at the Tropic Cinema.

What did Joan Rivers learn about herself from the film? “That I look fat. That I need a little lift under my chin. There’s a big scene in a taxi where I’m hearing the review of my show and I’m looking at my chin the whole time. That’s how I watch the movie. I think, Oh god, do I need to fix my chin.”
Just a little nip tuck does the trick.
[from Solares Hill]

1 comment:

nightly said...

I thought this was a very moving film. As funny as it was ( and it was funny ) it remained focused enough to be a very touching and inspiring movie. Joan’s work ethic is nothing short of incredible