by Maria Schulz
Yes, it’s true: another entertainment legend has gone off to that big stage in the sky: Joan Rivers passed away early this afternoon.
Joan Rivers was as politically incorrect as they come. She was also crass, unpredictable, and hilarious. No one was off limits and she used her considerable intelligence and wit like a light saber to cut through anyone she felt deserved it.
I can’t quote all of the things she said because this is a family blog, but I will paraphrase a couple of the more outrageous things that cracked me up. They usually began with, “Can we talk?” And then the fun really started….
When asked why she thought Kristin Stewart looked so unhappy at the Oscars:
“Who has time to look happy? She’s probably on the hunt for a vampire, or a married English director she can sleep with.”
When asked about some advice she once gave to Michael Jackson:
“I told him to date twenty-eight year olds. Who knew he would find twenty of them?”
About Russel Brand:
“Russel Brand announced that he plans to write a series of children’s books. First up: Horton Hears a Heroin Dealer.”
Thoughts about Bo Derek:
“Bo Derek turned down the role of Helen Keller because she couldn’t remember the lines.”
On Vanna White:
“On the Vanna White Diet, you only get to eat what you can spell.”
On Boy George:
“Boy George is just what England needs—another queen who can’t dress.”
“Grandchildren can be so [bleeping] annoying…’the cow went moo.’ ‘the pig went oink.’ It’s like talking to a supermodel.
And on herself:
“I’ve had so much plastic surgery that when I die, they’ll donate my body to Tupperware.”
On thoughts about her own funeral:
“I don’t want some rabbi rambling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents. I don’t want a eulogy; I want Bobby Vinton to pick up my head and sing “Mr. Lonely.” I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyoncé’s.”
I took Ms. Rivers’ latest book, Diary of a Mad Diva, with me on vacation this year, and my family was ready to kill me. Why? Because when they were all asleep, I was sitting in the corner, laughing.
As a result, my daughters both knew who Joan Rivers was when they turned on the TV and saw her storm off the CNN set after Frederika What-ever-her-name-is refused to recognize that Rivers’ books were, in fact, comedies.
Later that week, my older daughter also made sure to point out Joan’s joke about the Obamas and the surprising “fact” about their marriage.
Still, I think Joan’s most outrageous line was the one about Heidi Klum at the Oscars.
When I heard it, I couldn’t believe that even Joan Rivers would say it. But in this day of the almost automatic press conference apology, I respect her adamant refusal to offer one. Rivers explained that many of her husband’s family members died in the Holocaust, and she always used humor to remind people about it.
Whether you loved her or you hated her, you have to admit: Joan Rivers was an amazing woman. She became a stand-up legend even after her parents both discouraged her from pursuing a career in show business. She worked tirelessly and rubbed shoulders with some of the greatest comedic icons of her day: Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Johnny Carson, and Richard Pryor.
It was Joan Rivers who was Johnny Carson’s first full-time guest host; when she was offered her own show on the brand new Fox network, Carson never spoke to her again.
That show tanked and her husband and producer, Edgar, killed himself shortly thereafter. She went through a dark time in which she was estranged from her daughter, Melissa, and even contemplated suicide herself.
But you know what? That wasn’t the end of the story for Joan Rivers. She picked herself up and went on to host her own Emmy-award winning daytime show. Then she went on to do Fashion Police, Red Carpet runway shows, and even won Celebrity Apprentice. As Donald Trump said, she had “incredible stamina.” A documentary crew followed her around for 14 months to create “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.” She even became a grandmother to Cooper, Melissa’s son.
She never stopped working because she said, “why stop? I love what I do. It keeps me going.” It’s sad that her life came to such an abrupt end, but from what I’ve read about her, that’s the way she would’ve wanted it. The night before her throat surgery, she was doing stand-up and she told the audience:
“The thing about being my age is that you could go at anytime. In fact, I could just keel over right now, and all of you would be able to say, I WAS THERE!”
I will miss her sense of humor, her mischievousness, and her unapologetic wit. Of course she could be vulgar and offensive…but she was never boring.
Thanks, Joan Rivers, for all the laughs. I hope you’re on the other side now, with Edgar, putting on a show for all of your fans. I bet my mom is enjoying the show!
In honor of Joan Rivers’ years on the red carpet, I chose this selection of glamorous bites that are reminiscent of days gone by. You know…the ones where people were politically incorrect and ate/drank/smoked on the red carpet.
If Joan were here right now, I’d thank her for giving me a topic for this post…and then I’d refuse to apologize.
I think she’d understand.
So, Hungry Lifers: are you getting the feeling that this is NOT THE YEAR of the healthy celebrity? Do you have a favorite Joan Rivers quote? Do you love decadent cocktail parties and red carpet fun? Please weigh in with a comment. Thanks!