Here’s to the late, great, fearless Joan Rivers and the beautiful idea of working, striving and turning it on until you drop. And if working really hard means you leave the earth a little sooner, fine! Quality, not quantity. “What a fighter she is…God!,” I wrote on 4.18.10 after seeing Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg‘s Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. “Frank and blunt, nothing off the table, takes no guff, lets hecklers have it in the neck, never stops performing, tough as nails.
“I’m a late convert to Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, having missed it at Sundance and only just seen it a couple of days ago. I had relegated Rivers in recent years to an ‘uh-huh, whatever’ status, partly because of her irksome red-carpet chatter and partly because of her 21st Century facial work, which suggests she may have been hurt in a terrible car crash (worse than Montgomery Clift) but was lucky enough to find a gifted plastic surgeon who was able to make her look as normal as possible.
“But Stern and Sundberg’s doc has wiped that image away. It shows us what a trooper Rivers is — 76 and combat-ready and slowing down for nothing. I now think of her as a highly admirable paragon of toughness and tenacity. Plus the doc deepens and saddens our understanding of who Rivers is, was and continues to be. Plus it has some excellent jokes (including one about anal sex that I laughed out loud at, and I’m basically a heh-heh type).”