MCKNOTES ON JOAN RIVERS IN CONCERT
Friday night I sat in the audience at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia for Joan Rivers in Concert. Don’t stop reading if you don’t like Joan Rivers. I admit that she often goes over the top with her humor. We’ll get to that later.
Ms. Rivers had a warm-up comedian. Frankly, he would have had trouble melting snow in Honolulu. His style was, for me, humorless. I don’t really remember laughing once during his routine. Four musicians entered the stage prior to the warm-up comedian, but they did little playing and served only as fodder for Joan’s insults later on.
The most impressive part of the program was the energy with which the legendary comedienne performed for over an hour. She was on her feet, atop the grand piano and flat on the floor at various points in her presentation. Her vivacious trek from one side of the proscenium to the other was an impressive feat for anyone, but especially remarkable given her 79 years, which she used as a basis for a number of her jokes. Her self-deprecating style goes a long way toward neutralizing her brutal attack of any group of people one can imagine. She leveled her jokes at men, women, children, ethnic minorities, gays, lesbians, young and old. She made herself the object of much of her humor.
Ms. Rivers has been around for a long time and made great strides for women who choose to seek a career as comediennes. She used material from her latest book, “I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me.”
Joan, nee Joan Alexandra Molinsky, was married twice, Her first marriage to James Sanger was annulled after six weeks of wedded bliss. In 1965, she married Edgar Rosenberg, a marriage that lasted 22 years until his suicide. That marriage yielded a daughter, now known as Melissa Rivers, who serves as a “straight man” for some of mother’s humor.
Rivers attended Connecticut College and Barnard College, which is affiliated with Columbia University. She downplays her intelligence, but her success as comedienne, actress, writer, director, producer, fashion critic and entrepreneur are all hallmarks of a truly gifted and persistent force in the entertainment world. She shows little sign of slowing down, and her take-no-prisoners style of comedy keeps her name in the news.
Modeling her career after the late Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers has enjoyed success in show business since 1950. Sixty-three years later, she has more irons in the fire than she’s had face lifts.