Oh, Grow Up!

JoanThe world could not afford to have lost two talented, funny people like we just did in recent weeks. Fanatical religious factions, power hungry world leaders and a seemingly uncontrollable breakout of Ebola just seem to have made the world a much sadder and frightening place.

Just a few weeks ago we lost the genius of Robin Williams and now Joan Rivers, leaving us in a much darker place with less to smile about. Like Williams, Joan Rivers was brilliantly fast with the comeback. She was an equal opportunity offender who targeted herself just as much as she did the rest of the world. Insensitive at times? Shocking? Offensive? Rivers would reply, “Oh, grow up!”

Joan CarsonaA pioneer in the world of stand up. She made it acceptable for women not to do just kind soft cookie humor. She once called Nancy Reagan’s hair bulletproof saying “if they ever combed it, they’d find Jimmy Hoffa.”

No one was sacred enough to be off limits to her acidic humor. World leaders, movie stars, the famous and the infamous were all targets. Her catch phrase, “Can we talk…” was an opening volley for a barrage of caustic wit that would sometimes leave you with your mouth hanging open.

She was 81 years old but you would find it hard to believe watching her perform. I saw her live at Ruth Eckerd Hall about two or three years ago and she roamed the stage like a cobra pacing back and forth. Some folks walked out, others laughed hysterically.

The truth about Joan Rivers is she said what we all think but do not have the guts to say. Fat jokes, ugly jokes, plastic surgery jokes, jokes about people wearing ugly clothes and jokes about herself. Desperate to get a man, she once received an obscene phone call and told the caller to “hold on a minute, let me get a cigarette.” Was she cruel? If the truth can be cruel, then maybe she was sometimes cruel. But like many of the best stand-up artists, what she really did was kept us honest and down to earth.


Rivers was the author of more than five books including her latest Diary of a Diva which she was currently traveling around the country promoting. A must see is the 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.

Click on the link below for a nice tribute to Rivers from The New York Times.



8 comments on “Oh, Grow Up!

  1. Tony Williams says:

    Allegedly after Rivers signed a contract to host a late-night talk show, she never told Carson she planned on competing with him in 1986 although she was the permanent substitute host for Carson from 1983-86.

    Rivers’ show was a flop. How she thought she could beat Carson when Les Crane, Joey Bishop, Dick Cavett, Chevy Chase, Merv Griffin, Arsenio Hall, Alan Thicke and others all failed is a mystery. On a nightly, late-night talk show, her demeanor and voice just did not wear well night after night although I will say Chevy Chase’s show was worse.

    Reportedly, Carson and Rivers never spoke again.



    • John Greco says:

      Rivers has stated that Carson would not speak to her after that. One has to remember many entertainers have big egos that get bruised easily. Carson was one of the greats and, I think many would say, the best at that kind of late night talk show. In truth, they were both great stand-up comics but with different styles. Thanks for your thoughts.


  2. doriantb says:

    John, the late Joan Rivers might not have been to all comedic tastes, but our family liked her and her brand of comedy and chutzpah! Also, if I recall correctly, Rivers also write and directed the comedy RABBIT TEST, starring Billy Crystal as the first man to have a baby! And before that, Rivers, she wrote a tongue-in-cheek book about her pregnancy, HAVING A BABY CAN BE A SCREAM, about her own daughter, Melissa. The lady had range! Love her or love her or loathe her, Rivers was one of a kind, bless her; she’ll be missed!


    • John Greco says:

      Dorian, you are right on RABBIT TEST. Admit I have not seen it. Hopefully, it will pop up somewhere (TCM, HBO, DVD etc.) YOur right though. Not to everyone’s taste but she was funny. And yes she will be missed. Thanks


  3. Sam Juliano says:

    John, you have treated the online community to an utterly fabulous and passionate tribute to yet another entertainment icon lost to the world these past weeks. Joan was a true original, and as you note knew no boundaries, spewing her insults in all directions, yet appealing to the vast majority with her earthy humor. Yes she was 81, and yes she did live a rich and rewarding life, but it is always hard to say goodbye to someone you have grown to admire. I did see that documentary and really liked it! Just a wonderful post here John!


    • John Greco says:

      Sam, she was an acquired taste for some. In the conservation world we live many found her shocking but as a comedienne, her job was to shake u the establishment, which thesed days needs a little shaking. Of course, for women comics she was who they looked up too proving you could mix it up with the boys.


  4. I’m actually mildly stunned by the reverence shown here…an ‘icon’…’no boundaries’…’lost to the world’. It’s a little weird. I understand Robin Williams; he was a genius in several ways, but this MLK-level reverence for Rivers borders on bizarre…in spite of the very nice write-up. 🙂


    • John Greco says:

      Clayton, I think the admiration for Rivers depends on where you are looking from. As I mentioned above for female comics she was revolutionary proving women can be just as outrageous as the boys. Rivers was not beloved by everyone like Williams because he wanted to be loved. I think he craved it, while Rivers did not. Williams was a comic genius, one of a kind. Rivers was not in his league but nobody was. She had a mind that was sharp and quick with a great gutsy delivery. Her willingness to not hold back was refreshing, or then again, for some it was just too much. Thanks!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s