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October 7, 2015

Roasting Joan Rivers

by Nick Zaino, posted Aug 9th 2009 10:00AM
Joan RiversA couple of years ago, I interviewed Joan Rivers for the Boston Globe. She was playing a local theatre, and I hadn't yet had a chance to talk to her, and I wanted to talk a bit about her past in Second City and as a pioneering female comic. But since a lot of her shtick is slamming celebrities, and she helped invent what I guess you'd call "red carpet comedy," I thought I'd try to find a couple of people to do a point/counterpoint. Funny thing is, I couldn't find anyone for the counterpoint, anyone who wanted to go on record saying anything uncomplimentary against Rivers.

You can find plenty of people who will make jokes about her plastic surgery, or her failed talk show from the 80s, or her TV marketing, but that all seems a bit superficial. No one seemed to have a terribly valid criticism outside of those clichés. And that's what I think you'll see at the Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers Roast Sunday (10PM). From the clips I've seen, some of the sharper comics have found a new approach to those tropes, and you'll see plenty of plastic surgery jokes. And I'm sure you'll hear plenty of them from Rivers herself (a debt, there, I think owed to Phyllis Diller).

Greg Giraldo, who has a special premiering next week on Comedy Central, has become a staple of these things, along with Jeffrey Ross, and both have had a couple of shots in the promos. I'm especially happy to see Carl Reiner on the dais. And, as we covered in an interview already, Kathy Griffin is hosting, and she says she knows where the bodies are buried. Presumably, Rivers' old, pre-plastic bodies (see how easy that is?).

It's good to see a comic with a long history being roasted. And when I said in the Kathy Griffin interview that I thought Rivers would outlive us all, I wasn't exaggerating (at least not much). When I called her for that interview a couple of years ago, I had been up for twenty minutes, enough to wake up and pull up my questions and research and pull myself together before calling (the interview was at 9AM, the pleasures and dangers of working from a home office). Rivers was already on a treadmill working out, and did the whole interview from there, about an hour's worth of questions. And she was never out of breath. So if a fist fight breaks out at the roast, my money's on Rivers.

Here's a quick sample of Kathy Griffin roasting Rivers:

Roast of Joan Rivers Sun, Aug 9 10pm / 9c
Preview - Kathy Griffin
Live Twitter Roast Roast Master Kathy Griffin Zombie Paparazzi Game

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Joyce N.

Oh please! The interview I saw, she was dead serious about Kathy G.

Ms Rivers was quite personal and serious when she called Annie Dukes Hitler and she and her daughter called more than one woman whores.

Joan and her talentless child are both classless women.

August 10 2009 at 8:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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August 10 2009 at 2:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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August 10 2009 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

From what I heard, Joan had it written in the contracts for the appearing comedians that they couldn't slam Melissa.

August 09 2009 at 10:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

Since the roast was taped, Joanie dearest has said that she hopes Kathy Griffin rots in hell. Joan didn't like the things Kathy said. Ms Rivers is one who dishes it out but can't take it, which is probably the real reason you can't find anyone to say anything about her. No one wants to be a victim of her vicious wrath. Ask Annie Dukes, whom Joan still slams in every interview.

August 09 2009 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joyce N.'s comment

She was most definitely only joking...
"She can [expletive] drop dead now, I'm so angry," Rivers tells PEOPLE, laughing. "She was evil. We made a pact. No matter what we say on camera ... we stay friends forever. And she really lets me have it."

The whole thing with Annie Duke was all for reality tv drama and hardly seems to be reflective of her as a person. She is a comedian and entertainer after all and loves to be as outrageous and politically incorrect as possible.

The only time I've seen her get really upset is when someone went after her daughter which is understandable as a protective mother, although there was reference to Melissa benefiting from her mother's fame during the roast and they seemed to take it in stride.

August 10 2009 at 1:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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