REVIEW: Joan Rivers at the Winspear

AWJ Joan HLR

“It’s great to put a face to a voice,” Joan Rivers told me when I met her after her show last night at the Winspear (I’m pictured, from left, with her her and Voice contributor Howard Lewis Russell). “Phone interviews are hard, but you were a good one.”

Even if she hadn’t paid me a compliment, it would have been easy to say nice things about Joan’s 65-minute act, where she stays in constant motion and talks even faster. (After the set was over, Howard and I were exhausted from laughing; only then did we realize Joan never so much as took a sip of water the entire time.) At 79, she’s an unstoppable force, going to far as to do a sight gag involving climbing on top of a piano — what septuagenarians do you know that still do physical comedy?!?!

But that’s Rivers, who famously never slows down — not in her career, and not onstage. The jokes were more rapid-fire than a sub-machine gun: Some induced groans from audience members uncomfortable with jokes about pedophilia (read: Michael Jackson) and how Chaz Bono needed liposuction more than a new penis. But, as Joan says, if you don’t get some walkouts, you’re not doing your job right.

Of course, she embraced “my gays” — her shout-out to them (“Where are you?”) resulted in a roar and nearly the entire front two rows standing up and hollering. “I love my gays — my one great disappointment is my grandson is not gay,” she joked. “Who else is going to say to me, ‘Really, you knew Judy Garland?!’” Still, she said, gays don’t like two kinds of jokes: Those that poke fun at Princess Di and at Barbra Streisand. She did jokes about both.

And she was right: The gays were out in force. The line at the men’s room before the show looped around the lobby. “Why is the line here longer than at the ladies’ room?” wondered one man aloud. “Because,” I said, “Joan Rivers has turned the Winspear into Dallas’ largest floating gay bar.” “Oh, right,” he agreed.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Joan of Snark

Comic icon (and queer fave) Joan Rivers is (gasp!) a Republican … but only when it comes to her money

Joan-Rivers

RIVERS RUNS THROUGH IT | The comedienne has long been a ‘friend of the gays.’

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

There is something fascinating about Joan Rivers eating a sandwich on the phone during an interview. She’s demure about it and never talks with her mouth full, but she acknowledges its existence. Is it a ham sandwich? With pickle? Celebrities eat sandwiches?

“They just brought me my lunch,” she says,” Hope you don’t mind.”

Of course not — it’s fucking Joan Rivers!!!

While she’s never fully on the road anymore like she was in her heyday, the comedy icon (and celeb-basher) can’t help but return to her standup roots — even if her shows are in glamorous venues (like Fort Worth’s Bass Hall, where she’ll be Wednesday) instead of dank comedy clubs of one-liners past .

“I love to get out there and do it,” she says. “And those gays better show up.”

Rivers knows she can count on her gays. And with her foray into fashion and celebrity dish, well, what self-respecting gay man could resist? Her show on E!, The Fashion Police, has become a huge hit since she and her daughter Melissa (who produces the show) took over, with Rivers’ fashion shtick both hilarious and spot-on. But with such gay appeal, many of her fans are surprised to learn that Rivers is (cue the collective gasp) a Republican. (It’s no secret — she’s mentioned it in previous interviews.)

“Yes, I am,” she says. “I am a Republican who believes in gay marriage, is pro-choice … all that stuff. My assistant once said that I’m only a Republican when it comes to my money. I’ve already paid my taxes so shut up, people. Don’t touch my money!”

As Rivers comes to Texas, she isn’t all that impressed with Gov. Rick Perry who has been sliding in recent polls for the Republican nomination to vie for the presidency. But really, she’s not impressed with anyone on either side.

“Ugh, that Rick Perry is hideous,” she says. “Everyone [on the GOP front] is a moron in this race, but so is Obama. Plus, I wish I could fix his teeth. I can’t stand that whistle.”

Rivers isn’t optimistic about the direction the next election will take. For her, it’s not about which party comes out ahead, but if there will ever be the right person (or people) in charge. But she keeps trying when it comes to heading to the ballot box.

“This country is in such trouble, there’s nobody out there you want,” she bemoans. “They are all liars and cheats and stupid and they only vote on the party lines.  I feel sorry for the person behind me at the booth because I vote all over the place. My ballot looks like a drunk driver going, from person by person.”

But fans tune in and turn out, not for her punditry, but for her outlook on celebrities. Lately, she’s been hammering at Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s marriage and Christina Aguilera’s … um, curvier lines. Rivers takes to Twitter to unleash her comic bullets that are both scathing and hysterical, which sometimes come back to bite her in the ass. She tweeted recently after running into Demi Moore on a flight: “Now for the awkward moment! After joking about Demi on last week’s Fashion Police I hid under a blanket for the entire flight.” Awkward moment indeed, but Rivers doesn’t shy away from them.

“Those come with the job,” she says. “What I really am is a critic and I think that’s what makes the show so good. We tell the truth, but it’s fun for people who like fashion.

We have a good time, we gossip. It’s not for the uptight.”

What people might forget is the number of hats Rivers wears. Besides hosting Fashion Police, she designs jewelry and fashions for QVC, she’s a radio host, she has the Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best show on WE, in addition to her occasional live performances. At 78, not much is stopping her.

“Well, at this age, it does take careful planning,” she laughs. “But you know, I love what’s happening around me. I do it with fun and it’s not always easy but I love my work.”

Rivers is almost as famous for her plastic surgery as she is for her comedy. She knows the gay boys have their narcissism and offered these tips for those considering going under the knife or sticking a needle in their forehead.

“Oh, do it while you’re young,” she insists. “That’s the trick. And just do it a little bit at a time. The thing is, you don’t want anybody to think that you’ve done anything.”

Rivers doesn’t mind so much what people know about her. She’s willing to head into TMI territory and proudly proclaims she’s been sexually active recently, even if it’s been a few years.

“It was about three years ago the last time I got laid,” she admits. “That’s why I’ve gained a little weight. Anyway, this hotel is now closed.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 28, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

Starvoice • 06.03.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYjoan-rivers-pic

Joan Rivers turns 78 on Thursday. The comedian and TV show host seems to be more famous now for her plastic surgery than her punchlines. She scored a hit with the gays though, with her newest show The Fashion Police. She leads a panel of B-listers in catty talk about celebrity fashions and faux pas.

……………………

THIS WEEK

Mars in Taurus aspecting Eris in Aries cranks up competitive urges. Be open and flexible. Goals may need adjusting as conditions change.

……………………

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Your friends wear you down. Maybe you’re trying too hard to be the star of the party? Enjoy being on the sidelines now and then, or just take some time out. Your real friends will understand.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
Friends and colleagues are eager to see you succeed, but they push you a little too hard. Keep an eye open to your larger goal, but the trick is still to stay focused on the job at hand.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Use your indoor voice. The smart actor knows that whispers can get attention where screaming gets ignored. You will be noticed no matter what, but what do they see?

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Long, hard and deep is how you should think about sex. How does it serve in your life? To pursue satisfaction? To forge a deeper bond? The real question: How does it bring you home?

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
You don’t win or keep a lover by being the best in bed. Open communication keeps love alive. Focus on the small details. Being the best mate you can be is not a competitive sport.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Pace yourself with your colleagues, don’t drag it out so far ahead that you pull the team efforts out of whack. Pushing too hard can also be bad for your health.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Pushing too hard at sports or exercise is asking to get hurt. The trick in pushing for a personal best is to expand your limits, not to ignore them. Yes, even you have limits.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
Getting involved helps you clarify where you really belong in the world, what you’ve learned from elders to pass on to future generations, and what you could be doing for the kids.

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Arguments with your family help you plan better for your future. Don’t be shy about speaking up. Sibling rivalry can spur you to better work, but don’t let it affect you too deeply.

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
Spending and arguments get out of control. Old habits mire you down, interfering with your success. Keep a clear focus on your goals and act as if your next boss is watching you.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
You make a lot or spend a lot. The competitive urge drags you either way and even making money is more strain than it’s worth. Work as hard as you reasonably can.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
It’s not easy being the strong, reliable one. All the more reason why you need to take care of yourself. Take a break. Relax. You’ll hold up better and accomplish more in the long run.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 3, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas