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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Joan Rivers

It looks as if Joan Rivers is about to go, which is unfortunate. She was an utterly fearless comedian. She was sharp, and unafraid to be offensive, and stayed that way right up until the day she went into a coma.

The best tribute I can give her is simply to link some of her standup acts.

This is about nine minutes from a 2010 documentary about her called Piece of Work, which shows how ferocious she was. At about the four minute mark she does a wonderful job of facing down a heckler in Wisconsin, actually working in a little humor while doing so. The clip also shows her offstage, and you get a sense of how tough she is.

Here she is in Live at the Apollo, Part I and Part II. Some of what you'll see here is regular old-timey schtick, but her nerve and timing and humor are faultless.

Rivers was the anti-Robin Williams. She was iconoclastic, disrespectful, profane, scathingly sarcastic, and almost always on target.

The fact is, you can't be funny if you're not those things. (Who was the last politically correct person you met who was truly funny?)

Rivers was -- along with Kathy Griffin -- one of the two best female comedians I've ever seen.

Addendum, next day: Rivers died a few hours after I put up this post. RIP. 


Glen Filthie said...

There is no comparison at all between this woman and Robin Williams. When Williams performed it seemed to me that he was up there for himself. This slim lady seems to be there for her fans. Does that make sense?

How do you talk like that and still come off as a class act? LOL.

I love how she handled the heckler too. It is my conviction that political correctness and heckling are hobbies for stupid people. I think its a power trip for them...would you describe such people as sociopaths, I wonder?

Godspeed Joan

John Craig said...

Glen --
The great thing about Rivers is that she never let a false sense of dignity get in the way of her humor. So she was profane, etc. And she must have realized that part of what made her funny was the fact that she was a rich, 70-something woman up on stage talking about anal sex, etc.

I don't think political correctness is a trademark of sociopaths, it's just something that dumb people who can't think for themselves subscribe to. Hecklers are another matter; i'd guess that a higher percentage of them are probably sociopaths, they just want to cause trouble. However, the guy who yelled at Rivers in that clip didn't strike me as a sociopath, he was just stupid and oversensitive. I guess he figured he was sticking up for his son somehow.

Steven said...

I really liked her off stage in that first video. She cared about the heckler.

You perhaps forgot to add original to the list of things she had on Williams.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I'm not sure if she really cared about the heckler, or if she was saying that stuff offstage for the benefit of the camera which was still running, but Rivers struck me as a decent person. All you needed to prove that, really, was to see her relationship with her daughter and grandson.

And yes, you're right, she was original, too, unlike Williams.

Steven said...

She just says that she felt terribly sorry for him and she gets he was angry. I believe she was being sincere and emphatic. It seems like anyway.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Could be. On the other hand, she did call him "stupid" and an "asshole" while on stage. Either way, she was a fine person.