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October 10, 2015

David Tutera gave up on The Apprentice, not just Joan Rivers

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 10th 2009 9:11AM
David TuteraI'm starting to slog through my backlog of TCA-related material, and I wanted to make sure this got out there before it gets lost. When I interviewed Joan Rivers while I was in Pasadena, I asked her about the incident on The Celebrity Apprentice finale where David Tutera, whose firm was helping to plan both teams' parties, pulled out of the show completely after Joan requested changes to his plans.

After Tutera presented a panel introducing the second season of his WE show My Fair Wedding, I caught up with him outside the ballroom to get his response to Joan. He knew the questions were coming, because I had mentioned them to his publicist, but I wanted to ease into things by asking him about the show and its upcoming season. Oh, and I asked him for suggestions on how to throw a relatively inexpensive wedding in New Jersey, but that was just for personal reasons.

But Tutera seemed ready. He answered Joan's charges calmly and without the same rancor she used.

Just to remind you what Rivers told me, this was the grand finale to her rant about Tutera: "He was very grand. You know why I'm still around? I'm not grand. This man was so fucking piss elegant. I am queen of the gays, but this was one mean little snotty fairy. And I can say that. And if he comes to my charity, God's Love We Deliver, he's gonna be the first person not to get a meal."

So, with that salvo rattling in my head, I started in on my questions about Rivers and The Apprentice:

I figured I'd ask you a couple questions about The Apprentice and your incident with Joan Rivers.
I'm delighted. I'm disappointed you weren't in there to ask me when I was on the stage.

Did anybody ask you out there?
No, and I'm sad about this. Let's do this all over.

This is an exclusive then. What happened? Her act is carrying grudges. So she's still angry about what happened on the finale. What's your side, though? Why did you pull out of party planning for both sides?
Well, you know, first of all, it feels like this happened a year ago. And I don't really, honestly, remember all of the details. Unfortunately, I think what you saw on the show when it aired was definitely misguided and misdirected in the sense of the drama that Joan wanted to create. It's incredible. But what I will tell you is, even right down to having this conversation with you, I'm just surprised that this is important enough to her that she wants to continue to talk about it. And if she wants to continue to talk about it, let her talk about it.

I think I remember reading your blog after this happened, and you said, what happened on the air did not represent how much she was asking you to fix things and asking you to change things in real life.
That's true.

Was she ever rude? Was she ever short with you?
All of the above.

She claims that she was never rude, she was always nice about it. Or maybe direct, but not...
You're throwing the wedding, so if I said to you, to you and your fiancee...you want to have a lounge. And I said to her on the show, let's do a great, fabulous lounge. Now Joan Rivers associated lounge... and I know you and your fiancee would think differently. You would think lounge to be a cool, swanky lounge for a party. She thought I was getting lounge chairs for a pool. So a lot of the mis-guidance, or her frustrations, were the lack of her not listening to herself, and her understanding the direction that she should have gone in that she didn't want to go.

When you pulled out, why did you pull your services from both teams?
The reality of that is, which I don't want to get too far into this, because it's not that important to me anymore, it's actually more important to Joan clearly, is that when I pulled out, I didn't pull out on Joan and Annie Duke, I pulled out on the producers because the show... We all know reality TV, and that's pretty much a huge show to watch, is that that show is being very misguided by the producers to create drama.

When I saw that, having done enough television in my career, I knew that if I hadn't pulled out at that moment, it could have potentially gotten worse. Now if you watch the entire three hours of The Apprentice, I was only on camera for maybe less than 60 seconds.

But that was probably enough for people who know who you are to recognize you.
They threaded that for three hours of drama. Which says to me, I don't think they had enough drama in the show, besides me.

But even though you were on camera very briefly, people did recognize you. Did that affect your business one way or the other?
It made more awareness of me for those that didn't know exactly who I was. Those now know. Those do now know who I am. I'll give you a perfect example. I was in line waiting to get on a plane two weeks after The Apprentice had aired. A gentleman, tall, brawly guy, clearly does not watch wedding shows, now knows who I am. So it broadened the scope of my popularity. So that could have been perceived as being dramatic and bad for my business, but it really was just the opposite. We're still talking about it.

That's true. And I think Joan's funny. And the way she concluded her rant was with a funny line, I'll admit. You probably won't like it...
Oh, I already read it. But go ahead.

She said, "if he comes to my charity, God's Love We Deliver, he's gonna be the first person not to get a meal." Which I thought, you know what, it got a big laugh.
I think that's pretty sad. A sad comment on her behalf, not mine.

But you also have to understand a lot of her humor comes from her anger and her holding onto stuff anyway.
So my rebuttal to that, in a very simple way, then I don't want to talk about this anymore, is that if I went to her charity, she would not serve me a meal. If I sent her a check to her charity, would she cash the check?

I think she probably would.
Uh-huh. Interesting.

Well David, good luck with the next season.
Thanks! Good luck with your wedding!

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Except he's a puss and doesn't say he walked off on the bitch, he says he walked off on all of them, particularly the producers, but doesn't want to get into it further.... please...

September 10 2009 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

Joan Rivers has become a joke herself. Her temper tantrums, grudges and mean-spiritedness sicken me. I applaud David Tutera for standing his ground. I'd have walked off on the bitch myself.

September 10 2009 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim Mahoney

Double-talk, Double-Talk, Double-Talk...

That's all this guys does. he can't put a coherent sentence together to save his life. I think the producers did edit the show to give more drama, but David didn't like where it was heading.

September 10 2009 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know this man and I don't watch the Celebrity Apprentice. I do HATE Joan Rivers.

That being said, what a CLASSY CLASSY MAN this guy is. If I lived up there and could throw some business his way, I certainly would. I wish him luck and success in everything he does.

September 10 2009 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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