Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Happy Birthday Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers' 1986 memoir Enter Talking, written in collaboration with Richard Meryman, was the first such book to find its way onto one of my shelves; in the same way I couldn't wait to get my hands on her album What Becomes A Semi-Legend Most some years before, I'm sure I haunted my neighbourhood bookseller until they were convinced I was a shoplifter*.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSo while I have been a fan of hers since at least 1982, I almost didn't post this; it took me so long to find a picture of her I liked, I almost gave up in the name of efficiency. I mean, I always used to think she was pretty - at least, I did until she started reverting to her alien form. Thanks to Google Image Search I have been subjected to a slide show of her descent into self-loathing, and the only thing it wasn't was pretty.

Fortunately, her comedy also retains its power to shock me; in a show business which has grown increasingly anodyne, there are very few of the old serial offenders left - Don Rickles, really, and of course Joan herself. These days, only Lisa Lampanelli comes close to achieving the visceral reaction from audiences that Rivers once had (and, in fact, still has); yet Lampanelli's humour is entirely external, whereas Rivers has always made herself the primary recipient of her own vitriol, although I'm sure Elizabeth Taylor would disagree with me.

Seriously, babe - can we talk? - ease up on the scalpel. Whew!

*The fact that I was is only incidental to the story.

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