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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 28, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 43
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Joan Rivers, the ultimate comedienne
Arts & Entertainment
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SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Joan Rivers, the ultimate comedienne

by Joshua Michael Rumley - SGN Contributing Writer

Joan Rivers
November 4
Pantages Theater, Tacoma


Joan Rivers' career spans almost 50 years, and during that time, she's done it all. Rivers has starred in numerous television shows, performed countless times on the Tonight Show, hosted her own talk show, produced a wildly successful line of jewelry, won Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice reality game show, and is also a bestselling author.

Rivers doesn't just perform comedy; she lives for it. Rivers has the amazing ability to turn any topic - no matter how controversial or taboo - into a joke. Her courage to acknowledge topics that otherwise would be left in the dark has helped millions of people throughout her career find the light in even the grimmest topics: 9/11, suicide, and getting older.

Rivers is bringing her politically incorrect and totally hilarious show to the Pantages Theater in Tacoma on November 4.

Joshua Michael Rumley: Good morning! How are you doing today, Ms. Rivers?

Joan Rivers: Well, I'm still alive.

Rumley: Thank God for that.

Rivers: [Laughs.] Well, I'm not sure about my dog, Samantha. Josh, today was going really well until she got into the caramels. I honestly think she might be dead.

Rumley: Oh God, is she even moving?

Rivers: Well, she's just lying there now. I'm so sorry, let's get back to this.

Rumley: Congratulations on Fashion Police!

Rivers: Oh yes, we were picked up again for another season, which is great. I think I'm becoming the Simon Cowell of comedy.

Rumley: Or maybe Simon Cowell is becoming the Joan Rivers of music?

Rivers: [Laughs.] It's really just so much fun doing the show.

Rumley: Well, you do have every Gay man's dream job: getting paid to judge people.

Rivers: I know, I know, I know. The audience for the show is just so amazing. I feel like Gay men truly get the jokes best, and that is what makes it so great. Our writers for the show (we have five - well, I'm one, so we have four), two of them are Gay. It's such a great experience. We sit around and we write jokes together. We really do just love doing the show together.

Rumley: Your co-host, George Kotsiopoulos, is absolutely adorable. Is he single?

Rivers: Oh yes, he is very single, and he is such a nice man - he isn't mean at all. He looks just like the actor Cornel Wilde. [My daughter] Melissa actually found George. We had a different guy on before him, and George is such a great fit.

Rumley: Have you had any pushback from celebrities who are talked about on the show?

Rivers: One of the girls from Glee was very upset, actually - Amber, I think her name was. We wanted to have her come on the show and she refused. The funny thing is we said nice things about her the week before the show where we had an issue with her outfit. We all decided that she is an idiot - we weren't mean about it. The show is doing well; it's not meant to be nasty, it's meant to be funny. It's supposed to be how all of us sit around and talk about people, how we all talk with our friends.

Rumley: Kelly Osbourne had a lot to say about Christina Aguilera recently. I love your comment about her: 'Well, it looks like Lady Marmalade got into the peanut butter again.'

Rivers: You know we all have our likes and our hates. Christina should just watch her back, though.

Rumley: Your other show, Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best, was also picked up for a new season.

Rivers: Oh yeah, it's great. We are still filming the second season, but I did see the first episode and I really enjoyed what I saw.

Rumley: Have you enjoyed living under the same roof as your daughter Melissa again?

Rivers: You want to know something terrible? I actually love it. It's very comfortable. I just walk downstairs and there is my room. I know, I know, it may sound stupid, but it's been great. I think Melissa is the one who has to adjust to me living with her again. What do they say? It takes three months to become happy in jail?

Rumley: [Laughs.] My mother actually keeps threatening to move in with me.

Rivers: Are you Gay or straight?

Rumley: Very Gay.

Rivers: It's very hard, then.

Rumley: I could put her on a cot in the living room.

Rivers: [Laughs.] Well, there goes your social life.

Rumley: Who is the bigger diva in Hollywood, Miss Piggy or Ryan Seacrest?

Rivers: [Laughs.] Well, you know Ryan has been great to me. I really think it was Piggy. I could tell you some diva stories, one after another. I just want to tell them to calm down. On the road I follow, a lot of these people are around. You go and you do your concert for one night. You should always ask for a clean dressing room, a clean bathroom, a bottle of red wine, and coffee. You don't ask them to redecorate the whole dressing room! There are a lot of divas floating around out there.

Rumley: Do you consider yourself a diva?

Rivers: [Laughs.] We do get very spoiled in the business, though, especially with things you don't think about anymore. Of course when you get off a plane, there is a car waiting for you. If not, you're like, 'Wait, where's the car?! Oh my God, I have to take a taxi with the normal people?!'

Rumley: [Laughs.] Are you excited for your return to the Seattle area next weekend?

Rivers: Yes, I absolutely love that part of the country. It's beautiful.

Rumley: It's nice and foggy today.

Rivers: That's good for the skin, though. Plus you don't have to feel guilty about staying indoors and relaxing.

Rumley: It would be a good day to re-watch Joan Knows Best.

Rivers: Exactly! Re-watch all eight episodes.

Rumley: What can fans expect from your show next weekend?

Rivers: Well, expect to hear about everything that annoys me, because everything that annoys me I'm sure annoys you as well. If you're politically correct, please don't come. Well, anybody can come, but I'm very mad about the politically correct people. Just shut up and get a job.

Rumley: I know a lot of people are trying to get jobs.

Rivers: Well, a lot of those people are not in New York.

Rumley: Have you gone down to the Occupy Wall Street protests?

Rivers: I did when it first started, but the Occupy Wall Street thing has turned into one big party. It was a good thing and now there is a lot of drinking and drugs.

Rumley: Seattle was recently voted as one of the 10 cities with the worst fashion. What advice can you give us?

Rivers: [Laughs.] Really, it was?! Do you want women or men first?

Rumley: Women.

Rivers: The one thing I tell women is to a get a plain black dress, that's all I care about. The Nazi-looking Chanel black dress always looks great. Then I would just recommend people accessorize it. Men, I think every man needs to have a nice blazer and jeans. I think they also need to have at least one great dark suit.

Rumley: Is there any topic that is too taboo to joke about?

Rivers: No topic is too taboo. If I think its funny, then I'm going to joke about it. I love to stretch into things that people don't want to acknowledge. If you can acknowledge it with humor, you can get people to start thinking about it. The more horrible the topic, the more laughing at it will help. Let me tell you something: I've been through everything. At this age, I've seen it all. My mother was blind at the end, I went with a man who was missing a leg, my husband committed suicide, and I had a friend with postpartum depression who threw her kid out a window. That's how I get through things, by laughing. Shit, that's how everyone does it. The New York Times said 100 laughs a day does what 10 minutes of aerobic exercise does for the body.

Rumley: So by the end of your show next week, I'll have a nice set of six-pack abs.

Rivers: [Laughs.] We all will! I'd rather laugh through something. Your whole body relaxes when you laugh.

Rumley: I know there is a legion of Gay people awaiting your return to Seattle.

Rivers: Thank God!

Rumley: When did you realize you had a Gay following?

Rivers: I realized that Gay people thought I was funny when I first started to do shows in Greenwich Village. Gay men were the first people to come in and see my shows. They would laugh and I was like, 'Oh!' I've always had Gay friends. All my summer jobs in college were doing window displays, and who else would you expect to meet other than Gay men doing that? Thank God!

Rumley: Why do you think the Gays indentify with you?

Rivers: I'm an outsider. I think Gay men are able to see the humor in a lot more things then straight men. I've always said that Gay men are the best combination of men and women. Gay men get the man humor, and they also have all the bitchiness that women have. Trust me, we will have a ball at the show next week. I've said, 'Show me six Gay men in the front row, and I will show you the best show ever.'

Rumley: What message would you like the audience to leave with after your show next week at the Pantages Theater in Tacoma?

Rivers: Don't ever feed your dog caramels! Josh, you and I have learned a valuable lesson today. I actually think she might be dead. I actually want people to walk out of the show and think I was funny. I'm at the top of my game right now, and I just don't give a shit anymore. This is what I want to talk about, so here it is!

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