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August 23, 2014

Joan Rivers on 'How'd You Get So Rich?', Her Comedy Central Roast and Brooke Shields

by Kim Potts, posted Aug 31st 2009 6:00AM
Joan RiversIt's the perfect time for a show that shares the stories of "real people" entrepreneurs striking it rich, and outspoken comedian Joan Rivers is the perfect host for 'How'd You Get So Rich?' -- the TV Land show (Wednesdays, 10PM ET) that sheds light on the how-to successes of everyday people who invented such unlikely moneymakers as Billy Bob Teeth, the Slanket and Butt Paste.

The legendary Rivers, last season's 'Celebrity Apprentice' winner and the recent subject of a Comedy Central roast, isn't shy about asking the new millionaires how they made their cash or how they're spending it, and she's equally forthright (and self-deprecating) with AOL TV as she dishes on coming up with the idea for the show, who's at the top of her celebrity hit list, her return to 'Nip/Tuck' ... and the only way she'd get to host another talk show. -- By Kimberly Potts
It's the perfect time for a show that shares the stories of "real people" entrepreneurs striking it rich, and outspoken comedian Joan Rivers is the perfect host for 'How'd You Get So Rich?' -- the TV Land show (Wednesdays, 10PM ET) that sheds light on the how-to successes of everyday people who invented such unlikely moneymakers as Billy Bob Teeth, the Slanket and Butt Paste.

The legendary Rivers, last season's 'Celebrity Apprentice' winner and the recent subject of a Comedy Central roast, isn't shy about asking the new millionaires how they made their cash or how they're spending it, and she's equally forthright (and self-deprecating) with AOL TV as she dishes on coming up with the idea for the show, who's at the top of her celebrity hit list, her return to 'Nip/Tuck' ... and the only way she'd get to host another talk show. -- By Kimberly Potts

How'd the idea for 'How'd You Get So Rich?' come about?
I travel all over with my own show, my one-woman act, and I go to these strange communities, and all of a sudden there will be a house the size of Texas, and you'll think, "Who is this? How'd they get so rich?" So I said, wouldn't it be fun to go inside and find out? And that's how the whole show started. I went to [producer] Mark Burnett, and he loved the idea right away. He also loved that the idea was so American ... it's such the American dream that if you're smart and you have a good idea, you can get rich, even in this economy. So we just started looking around at different stories. We have on our show the man who invented Billy Bob teeth, those fake teeth you put in, and we have the guy who invented the Slanket, the blanket you put your arms in. We have all these weird, wonderful stories of people who had great ideas and then made them work. You know, a lot of great ideas and a lot of hard work. All of them are self-starters and great workers.

Joan RiversDo you find inspiration from the people on your show?
Absolutely, absolutely. These stories are uplifting. It shows, again, that you can make it, you can do it. I don't want to hear anyone say, "Oh, you can't do that anymore with this economy" ... oh yes, you can. You sure can have that big house, and you can have, as one of the people on our show does, seven Lamborghinis, if that's what you want. This guy on the show has seven, one for every day of the week. We have another person on the show, a woman whose husband left her at 49. She had never held a job, and at 49, she decided to go to makeup school. She became a horror-makeup person, and invented, for 'Titanic,' a waterproof makeup. And out of that, the Army came to her -- her story is just incredible -- and asked her if she could invent waterproof camouflage makeup, and now she does that for armies and navies all over the world.

You also just survived the celebrity roast on Comedy Central. Who did you think was funniest during the show, and did you hesitate at all in agreeing to do it?
Uh, me [laughs]. After me ... they were all so damn good. I didn't think anybody was weak. I loved Robin Quivers, because she's not a typical stand-up. I thought [host] Kathy [Griffin] was incredible. I thought Gilbert Gottfried was great ... nobody bombed. Do you how nice that is? And I actually never really wanted to do it. I don't like roasts, particularly. I think they're stupid. But once I agreed to it, I said, fine, let them go with it. And people said, "'But they're going to roast you," and I said, "Look, I've said it all about myself already. It's all in my act. Go watch my act." The only negative thing that's come out of it, and it's hilarious, is that we did a viral video, a promo, of me slapping someone backstage and pretending I'm drunk. And they threw it on the Internet somewhere, and people are taking it seriously. In the video, I end up biting the producer's leg, and people are writing in and saying, "That man should sue her!" I'm biting his leg! I want to say, "This is a joke, you moron!"

Kathy Griffin Joan Rivers RoastYou joked during the roast that Kathy Griffin had stolen your act, but isn't that kind of true? You were really one of the first comedians to poke fun at other celebrities and their behavior.
I don't think I changed anything -- that's such an egotistical word. But I think I led the way in what women were allowed to talk about on stage. Someone said to me last night, "You're so relevant." And it's because I work every week. I do this little show every week on the west side in New York City, and we have such a good time. [The theater] holds about 100 people, so I can say anything that I want, about whatever's going on. And so when people ask if I think anyone stole my act, I say no, because I don't even do half of that stuff anymore.

Is it tougher now to be relevant with all the weekly celebrity magazines and gossip websites and tabloid TV shows, to compete with all that?
Oh, no, just the opposite! It is so easy now, because look at how much material is out there now. Last week, there was Paula Abdul, Jon and Kate, Michael Jackson [news] is still going strong ... it's all out there, just to be taken. Please. It's like God giving [comedians] a gift.

Brooke ShieldsWho's at the top of your list of the most ridiculous celebrities and ridiculous celebrity behavior?
Right now, it's probably Brooke Shields sobbing at Michael Jackson's funeral, when she hadn't seen him since 1993. We all know what she was doing. It was face time. My tragedy in that was that I didn't stand up and say, "Oh, I know what she's talking about, because I was there as a chaperone." I should have gotten a big black hat and gone up there [and said,] "I'm devastated, devastated."

Congratulations on winning the last season of 'Celebrity Apprentice.' It's great to win all that money for your favorite charity, God's Love We Deliver, but does winning entail working with Donald Trump after the show?
No. No, no, no, no. I wish I could say, "Yes, now I get $20 million a year, and I'm Donald's assistant." But no, they shake your hand, and they wish you well, and they send you beautiful flowers ... no job, though. But with my charity, it was amazing. That money kept us going for the next year. We're a very small charity, and that really kept us going.

Do you have a dream job? Would you like to do another talk show?
Yes, I would love to do another talk show. I was just on 'Larry King' the other night with Kathy [Griffin], and at one point I started talking to her. I started asking her questions. So yes, I would love to do another late-night show, but that will never happen. I'm [considered] too old. And that's just the way it is, and you move on from that. Unless AARP gets their own network.

Joan Rivers The ViewBut what about a daytime show? You would be a perfect co-host on 'The View.'
I would love that, too, but, you know, you have to wait to be asked. Right now, I have 'How'd You Get So Rich,' which I'm thrilled about, and people are talking to [daughter] Melissa and to me about doing a reality show, which I think would be hilarious. But then, everyone thinks their life would be a great show. You pull into a gas station and the guy says, "Boy, if you put a camera in here, it would make a great show." But I think it would be fun to do one, showing our everyday lives and a real mother-daughter relationship.

You were one of the best celebrity guests on 'Nip/Tuck' – any chance you'll reappear before the series finale?
Yes, in fact I'm in the finale. We already taped it. I'm sworn to secrecy about what I did, though. On that show, they only send you your pages for what you're filming. But how sad is it that that show is ending? It's such a great show, but it's one of those shows that you adore watching, and then at one point you say, "Oh, I've seen that." I think they just kind of ran out of [stories]. They ran out of plastic surgery procedures ... do you know how sad that made me?

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Joan Rivers Photos
Click through a slide show of featuring Joan Rivers.
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Joan Rivers Photos

    US MAGAZINES-PLEASE REPORT USAGE Joan Rivers leaves The Ivy on August 26, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - August 26, 2009 Los Angeles, CA United States August 26, 2009 Photo by Marcos Vasquez/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic.com To license this image (58179370), contact FilmMagic.com

    Marcos Vasquez/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic.com

    Television personality Joan Rivers with her new boyfriend Norm Zada of Perfect 10 Magazine pose with Joan's "Friendship" ring after having lunch on the streets of Manhattan on August 17, 2009 in New York City. Celebrity Sightings In New York - August 17, 2009 Streets of Manhattan New York, NY United States August 17, 2009 Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage.com To license this image (58123279), contact WireImage.com

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    Television personality Joan Rivers with her new boyfriend Norm Zada of Perfect 10 Magazine pose with Joan's "Friendship" ring after having lunch on the streets of Manhattan on August 17, 2009 in New York City. Celebrity Sightings In New York - August 17, 2009 Streets of Manhattan New York, NY United States August 17, 2009 Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage.com To license this image (58123316), contact WireImage.com

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    Television personality Joan Rivers with her new boyfriend Norm Zada of Perfect 10 Magazine pose with Joan's "Friendship" ring after having lunch on the streets of Manhattan on August 17, 2009 in New York City. Celebrity Sightings In New York - August 17, 2009 Streets of Manhattan New York, NY United States August 17, 2009 Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage.com To license this image (58123314), contact WireImage.com

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    Television personality Joan Rivers with her new boyfriend Norm Zada of Perfect 10 Magazine pose with Joan's "Friendship" ring after having lunch on the streets of Manhattan on August 17, 2009 in New York City. Celebrity Sightings In New York - August 17, 2009 Streets of Manhattan New York, NY United States August 17, 2009 Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage.com To license this image (58123313), contact WireImage.com

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Television personality Joan Rivers poses with Norm Zada of Perfect 10 Magazine at the LOVE statue on the streets of Manhattan on August 17, 2009 in New York City. Celebrity Sightings In New York - August 17, 2009 Streets of Manhattan New York, NY United States August 17, 2009 Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage.com To license this image (58123150), contact WireImage.com

    Bobby Bank/WireImage.com

    In this image released by PictureGroup, comedian Joan Rivers, left, and poker player Norm Zada are seen at Michael's Restaurant on Monday, Aug. 17, 2009 in New York. Rivers recently went to millionaire Norm Zada's Los Angeles mansion to tape an episode of her new TV Land reality series, "How'd You Get So Rich". Zada surprised Rivers by flying into Manhattan and taking the comedy icon for lunch and giving her a friendship ring. (AP Photo/PictureGroup, Brad Barket) ** NO SALES **

    AP

    In this photo provided by PictureGroup, Joan Rivers, right, and Katie Couric attend a party celebrating the premiere of Rivers' show "How'd You Get So Rich" on TV Land PRIME at Rivers' residence in New York on Monday, Aug. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, PictureGroup)

    AP

    In this photo provided by PictureGroup, Joan Rivers, left, Katie Couric, center, and Hoda Kotb attend a party celebrating the premiere of Rivers' show "How'd You Get So Rich" on TV Land PRIME at Rivers' residence in New York on Monday, Aug. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, PictureGroup)

    AP

    NEW YORK - AUGUST 04: Actress Joan Rivers promotes the TV Land PRIME series "How'd You Get So Rich?" at the CBS Early Show Studio Plaza on August 4, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Joan Rivers

    Getty Images

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