by Gaysha Starr -
Special to SGN
The advertisements for Joan Rivers' appearance at the Snoqualmie Casino Ballroom on February 12 started to air on Seattle television stations in November. Within weeks, her latest comedy show sold out as over 900 people from all walks of life - Gay, straight, new and old fans alike - came forward to follow the 77-year-old sextuple threat.
As a comedian, host, actress, TV reality star, businesswoman, and jewelry designer, it seems appropriate that the words 'sex' and 'threat' can be used to describe her as she has built a remarkable career saying what everyone thinks - with no one or nothing off limits.
From topics including relationships, men, celebrities, Hollywood, fashion, plastic surgery, current events, politics, sex, pop culture, and religion, Ms. Rivers finds a way with charm and honesty to deliver memorable stories and one-liners that you will never forget.
After starting last week with a surprise Super Bowl commercial announcing her as the Go Daddy Girl promoting the godaddy.com domain, press interviews in New York including The Wendy Williams Show, and filming the weekly show Fashion Police on the E! Channel (on which she is the lead hostess), Rivers made it to Seattle for her Saturday-night date and left on an 8 a.m. flight back to Los Angeles Sunday morning to prepare for the Fashion Police: 2011 Grammy Awards that aired on Monday night.
Taking advantage of setting the tone for her show during the customary 'Please turn off your cell phones' disclaimer speech, the crowd erupted as they heard Rivers' voice offstage, towards the end of the disclaimer: 'Where am I? It's come to that!'
Dressed in a black turtleneck, black pants, and a bedazzled blue panne velvet duster, the petite Rivers came out to a scattered standing ovation. Quickly commanding the room, she started her dialogue by announcing that at her age, she would only work with people she wanted to. She proceeded to ask where her Gay men were at, affectionately saying, 'They can stay; they laugh at anything!' Everyone that fit into other groups were instructed playfully to 'Go to the back of the room' or to 'Get out!'
For the duration of her act, Rivers spoke about her role as the national spokesperson for osteoporosis and how, after she won Celebrity Apprentice, she donated her $500,000 prize to that charity - she explained that when celebrities do charity work, it really means photo opportunities. She discussed her trip to The Great Wall of China with Olivia Newton John, the aging process for women (including what a dropped vagina resembles), how the loneliest time of the year for her was the Christmas holidays, and of course her daughter, Melissa Rivers, and their new show on Wetv: Joan and Melissa, Joan Knows Best.
Other celebrities who were lucky enough (or unlucky enough, depending on how you look at it) to be featured in her act included Chastity Bono, Kate Gosslin, Sally Field, Angelina Jolie, the Kardashians, Nicole Kidman, Gayle King, Bristol and Sarah Palin, Charlie Sheen, Betty White, and, naturally, Oprah Winfrey.
The audience had no problem keeping up, showing their approval with endless laughter, applause, and hoots and hollers. From watching her facial expressions on one of the two large screens anchored at each side of the stage, Rivers seemed to feed off the energy and used it as encouragement to go on during her set, outdoing each joke as she went.
As equally impressive as her material and quick wit is how Rivers commits to physical comedy. Rivers used endless hand gestures with her microphone tucked under her left arm. She raced back and forth on the stage - especially when she talked about using the handicap ramp with her deceased husband Edgar - and she simulated how she used a bathroom in China. Finally, she lay on the stage to demonstrate how to have to sex and watch television at the same - and Rivers even made getting up off the ground after that bit an opportunity to get a laugh. She asked members of the 13-piece band to help her get up, and with perfect comedic timing they looked away or at her with disdain, forcing her to use a stool to help herself get up. She endeared herself to the audience every time she screamed, and of course she didn't disappoint when she delivered her trademark, 'Can we talk?'
At the closing of her act, during a standing ovation, she went on each side of the stage and started to toss off the potted flowers and plants to the front row, and then went offstage to change into a black duster complete with hot pink lining and a mink collar. During her curtain call, the last dig she shared with the audience was an earlier phone conversation with Cher that included Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, and their daughter, Suri. When Rivers asked the iconic legend when she was going to retire, Cher replied 'We're performers! We don't retire! We perform!'
After her show, she met a group of fans and took the time to pose for pictures, sign autographs, and even come face to face with a woman named Joy who claimed to be her Seattle lookalike. During the meet and greet, Joan was gracious and happy to meet her fans, and one can tell that after a 40-year career she values each and every one of them. If her successful show last Saturday night is any indication, we are lucky that Joan takes a cue from Cher and is a performer who has no intention of retiring anytime soon.
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