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Joan and Melissa Rivers Discuss Living Together on Their New Reality Show

by Kelly Woo, posted Jan 24th 2011 12:00PM
Joan and Melissa RiversIf parts of Joan and Melissa Rivers' new reality series seem incredible, well, that's just how they live.

"It's a normal life in very extraordinary circumstances," Melissa Rivers told us when the mother-daughter duo stopped by our office. "So what is normal is heightened. It's a cracked-out Norman Rockwell."

'Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?' (premiering Tuesday at 9PM ET on WE) follows Joan as she moves into Melissa's California home. And as close as they have been, mother and daughter soon realize that living together as adults is a pain in the you-know-what.

We talked to Joan and Melissa about what they learned living together, their thoughts on Ricky Gervais and the retiring Regis Philbin, and the confrontation they had with a certain 'Fashion Police' victim ...

So what was it like being housemates?
Joan: We're not housemates. That's such a college term.
Melissa: It's not really housemates. It's like the houseguest that will never leave.

Where there are any quirks or annoying habits that you discovered about each other?
Joan: When you live separately and you're both adults and you run your own households, you find your own ways of doing things. I'm totally a night person, I sleep with the lights on and the TV going ...
Melissa: ... I'm a night person too, but I actually turn off my lights ... I have my dogs one way and they eat one way, and my mother's dogs eat another way. And you can't come into my house and start feeding my dogs from the counter and out of the refrigerator, because it disrupts my household. But there's total lack of respect that it might disrupt my life ...
Joan: ... You don't respect your children and your children don't respect you."
Melissa: I respect you, I don't have a choice!
Joan: You don't respect me
Melissa: How do I not respect you?
Joan: If you respected me, I'd be in your bedroom and you'd be in that stupid guestroom. That would be respect.
Melissa: That's a new one. 'You want my bedroom? Take my bedroom.' 'I don't want your bedroom.' 'Take my bedroom.' 'I don't want your bedroom.'

Did you learn anything new about each other?
Joan: I learned what an amazing mother Melissa is ... I learned that she has a complete life out in California and she is very much in charge of it, which makes you feel terrific as a parent as you know, she is a whole, adult separate entity. That was wonderful. It was terrific to watch her in action.
Melissa: I always knew that I did certain things that were very similar to what my parents did ... I think I didn't realize how many are the same, and how much the roles have reversed through the years. Because my mother is now the disruptive teenager and I'm the adult.




How real is the show? The previews seem so outlandish.
Joan: I was coming off of a documentary where they followed me around for 14 months, so it was just a continuation of this.
Melissa: That was a discussion that was had with the network ... there was a list of certain things that seemed to them not staged, and every single one of them were things that had actually happened. There's a situation with Cooper, my son, that they do a type of party -- I don't want to give it away -- and they said no parent would ever let their child do that and the joke is it is what we do and ... what my parents did every Halloween for me. All these things that people thought were so far [out] ... are all factual. It's a normal life in very extraordinary circumstances. So what is normal is heightened, it's a cracked-out Norman Rockwell.

Speaking of the documentary, 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work' got favorable critical reviews but was snubbed by some awards groups. Were you upset by that?
Joan: Roger Ebert just put it on his top 10 list. What we were told by two documentarian boards was that we weren't "socially significant" enough, so we didn't expect anything going in. So we're thrilled at what's going on.
Melissa: I think the top 10 lists mean more to you ...
Joan: Well, 'Academy Award winner' would be fabulous.
Melissa: When you're talking what is really thought of as a "documentary" and what awards groups gravitate towards it's usually pretty much death and destruction, which I guess if you watch it a certain way ...
Joan: I would've amputated my leg and done the same documentary ... If I knew that would get me on the Academy Award list.

Ricky Gervais Golden GlobesWhat did you think about Ricky Gervais's job hosting the Golden Globes?
Joan: I think they threw him under the bus ... You don't hire Ricky Gervais, who is edgy, and then you're shocked that he does a joke about you.
Melissa: We were watching at home so it's very easy to sit and laugh ... a couple of the celebrities that we've talked to that were there said it was very hard because they knew the cameras were on them. So, they really did want to laugh, but everybody knew it was such a boundary being pushed that it made people in the room nervous to be caught laughing.

Regis Philbin recently announced his retirement. What was your reaction to that?
Joan: Well, I'm going to announce my retirement, which will be two days after my death ... Everybody has a different kind of lifestyle, and I guess he's just had it.
Melissa: He's also had the hip surgery, he's had the heart surgery. He's also at a time when he's done it all. He's a cultural icon.
Regis PhilbinJoan: I think he's probably being pushed out by the network and he's being gracious.I don't think anybody that loves this business wants to retire. This is your life, this is your business -- why would you want to retire?
Melissa: I think he just wants a different pace ... [that] would be my gut [feeling] having known him for so many years. It is a daily show.
Joan: You see Larry King's fingermarks on the side of CNN in California as they drug that poor son of a bitch out.

Any thoughts on who should replace Regis?
Melissa: RuPaul
Joan: I think he replaced Regis and Kelly
Melissa: Oh, Brett Favre is going to be available for a job.
Joan: I thought anderson cooper would be great, but he's got his own show now.
Melissa: Ricky Gervais might be available!

Who's your favorite target on 'Fashion Police' right now?
Melissa: Leighton Meester just continuously makes us happy because of her absolutely horrific sense of style. But I like to think of her as a bright spot in my week ... Courtney Love. A week without Courtney Love is like a week without sunshine.
Joan: Helena [Bonham Carter] now is absolutely coming up there.

Sandra BullockDo celebrities ever confront you about what you said on 'Fashion Police'?
Joan: We were talking about the golden globes ...
Melissa: And we had talked a lot about Sandra Bullock's bangs ...
Joan: Erf erf erf!
Melissa: ... and that she was there and Scarlett Johansson was there, and they were both in pink ... And there jokes about how she was wearing bangs so that Scarlett doesn't recognize her ...
Joan: ... and that she looked like a Pekinese. You couldn't see her! You wanted to put down wee wee pads! Now we get on the plane ...
Melissa: ... and guess who's also sitting right with us? Sandy! She's right there! And she says, 'Oh god not you.' But again, everybody goes back so many years. and when you're making 20 million dollars a picture, and she has a baby and she's happy -- what we say for 'entertainment' doesn't matter. She's one of those people, I have a feeling, knowing her, was trying not to laugh in the room.
Joan: And may I add, the bangs were pushed back.
Melissa: She looked really cute on the plane.

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Dan

If Melissa wouldn't allow her mom to interfere in her life so much, her marriage might've lasted.

February 22 2012 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sharonkatems

I can't imagine anyone having a life so boring they would want to watch these two. Joan is always talking about how other people look, she needs to take a good look at herself and that ugly daughter of hers and then shut up. She is a mean spirited old woman who used to have some talent as a comedian. Now.....

September 19 2011 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mary Jo

Is Joan trying to look like Melissa, or is Melissa trying to look like Joan? Must be same P.Surgeon.

February 02 2011 at 8:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
myownpov

This Squirrels Edge show is the half hour comedy of the future. it's not a reality show - it's a show about real people. Each episode will keep you laughing and anxiously awaiting for the next one. Oprah's new network should grab it.

January 30 2011 at 9:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to myownpov's comment
myownpov

Fuggetabouttit, BUFFALO AND RALPH is the next big thing. Would I steer you wrong?

September 12 2011 at 7:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
myownpov

I would love to see Squirrels Edge become a series on television. I think it would be a joy to watch and it would hold my interest week after week along with other viewers who would enjoy watching it also.
Linda Menge

January 27 2011 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Roger

That people we'ren't laughing in the room because it was breaking boundaries is bull hockey. It was mean spirited. Regardless of he was mad at, it was mean spirited. If an honoree sets themself up for a roast it is one thing and quite another not to be able to attend an ordinary industry event without having to feel like a target. The whole of society does this sort thing now and it is a sad commentary on how we see competition, success, and fair play.

January 27 2011 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
myownpov

HOW ABOUT A TV SHOW ABOUT GOOD PEOPLE LIVING IN AN SEMI BAD SITUATION. FOR INSTANCE, A ROOMING HOUSE - THE LAST SHRED OF DIGNITY/AND ONE BOUNCED PAYCHECK BEFORE THEY GO SHOPPING FOR A SHELTER. THE ROOMING HOUSE IS INHABITED BY ECCENTRIC FOLKS WHO ARE HANGING ON BY THEIR FINGERTIPS. MAKING LEMONADE OUT OF SOUR LEMONS SO TO SPEAK. EACH ONE HAS THEIR OWN STORY AS THEY INTERMINGLE, CO-MINGLE AND IN SOME CASES, COHABITAT, AS THEIR LIVES ARE ANYTHING BUT MEAGER. THE LANDLADY, AND HER EVER ANNOYING PARROT ON HER SHOULDER AND ONE MAYBE TWO CIGARETTES HANGING FROM THE CORNERS OF HER MOUTH, RULES HER KINGDOM WITH THE WORDS, "I'LL RAISE YOUR RENT," LET'S CALL HER LULU. THE STORY NEEDS A CENTER SO WE'LL CALL HIM TEDDY. DIVORCED TEDDY HAS THE UNENVIABLE JOB OF DRIVING THE DEAD TO THE MIDDLE-MAN, THE FUNERAL HOME. HE TALKS TO HIS PASSENGERS, BUT NO ONE EVER TALKS BACK - EXCEPT FOR THAT ONCE. TEDDY LOVES JANE WHO LIVES A FLOOR BELOW HIM. JANE STAYS AFLOAT BY BEING A SCHOOL BUS DRIVER BY DAY AND A STRIPPER BY NIGHT. HECTOR, TEDDY'S FLOORMATE IS A SOUTH AMERICAN LOTHARIO WHO DREAMS OF ONE DAY BEING A FAMOUS CHEF. HECTOR AND HIS FOREIGN WAYS DRIVES TEDDY CRAZY. THEN THERE'S LARRY, A MIDDLE-AGED PIZZA DELIVERY MAN, WHO WAITS FOR HIS INTERNET RUSSIAN BRIDE TO SHOW UP, BUT IN THE MEANTIME KEEPS BUSY WITH HIS HAREM OF BLOW-UP DOLLS. MIX ALL THESE NUTS TOGETHER AND YOU GET A HIT TV SHOW CALLED, SQUIRRELS EDGE - THE NAME OF THE ROOMING HOUSE. AS TEDDY AND HECTOR MUST SHARE ONE SINK BETWEEN THE KITCHEN AND BATHROOM, THE MOTTO OF THE SHOW (OR CATCHPHRASE, IF YOU PLEASE) IS, "SPIT BETWEEN THE DISHES." INDEED. OR AS HECTOR SAYS IN HIS BROKEN ENGLISH, "ONE DROP OF TOOTHPASTE ON MY DISHES AND I'LL COME KEEEL YOU, SENOR TEDDY."

January 27 2011 at 7:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
moeelmore

Type your comment hereI have been subjected to stuff about this non-event for a week or more. I wont watch it, cannot understand why anyone would watch it - and even more - i am mystified by the fact that anyone would sponsor anything like it. but then I feel the same about all the other so called reality shows. It aint entertainment, it aint funny, it aint worth my time. I would rather sharpen my plane or sweep theleaves in front of the house!

January 26 2011 at 10:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
JERRY GREVAS

THEY BOTH NEEED TO GET A LIFE

January 26 2011 at 10:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rskillsta

Joan Rivers should do a comedy boot camp reality show or host a game show in sort of a female Groucho Marx You Bet Your Life kind of way.

January 26 2011 at 9:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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