Joan Rivers in critical condition after complications during throat surgery

joan_rivers

Joan Rivers

 

TMZ is reporting that acerbic comedienne Joan Rivers is in critical condition at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York following complications during surgery on her throat early this morning at a clinic.

The entertainment news website initially reported that Rivers, 81, stopped breathing during surgery on her vocal cords. An update to the story indicated that Rivers’ heart stopped beating.

—  Tammye Nash

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

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

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It’s a fun week for theater, with WaterTower Theatre’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival in full swing, including such gayish shows as Standing on Ceremony: The Marriage Plays from Q Live!, David Parr’s Pluto Is Listening, The Morning After Show from writer/star Ayana Hampton and director Clayton Farris, as well as live performances from favorites Amy Stevenson, Walter Lee and Diana Sheehan. There’s something going on constantly, so explore!

If you prefer to head south rather than north, well there’s gay-enough stuff at the 11th Annual New Play Competition at the Bishop Arts Theatre, from TeCo Theatrical Productions. Among the six finalists are two with gay themes (including Theophany) and one a “hetero romp” from local playwright Isabella Russell-Ides that has some delicious eye candy. It runs through Sunday.

Also on Sunday night is the queen of dishy humor, Joan Rivers. She’ll be performing at the Winspear Opera House (read our interview with Joan here). The Winspear is actually a hot-bed this week, with sexy South American dancing from Grupo Corpo Friday and the Dallas Opera gala Saturday, featuring a performance by acclaimed mezzo Susan Graves.

For midweek diversions without any acting, check out the DFW Auto Show, opening Wednesday, or laugh you ass off with hilarious gay comic Thai Rivera at the Addison Improv (also Wednesday). Then on Thursday, you can choose between the opening night festivities at the Texas Bear Round Up or check out the sneak preview of Trinity Groves as part of this year’s Savor Dallas food festival.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Local Briefs • 02.17.12

Toast to Life set for Feb. 25

The 14th annual Toast to Life Gala — fundraiser for Resource Center Dallas’ programs and services that make life better for people living with HIV/AIDS — is set for Feb. 25

The event, “Lights, Camera, ACTION!,” begins at 8 p.m. at FIG–Fashion Industry Gallery, at 1807 Ross Ave. Toast to Life has an annual attendance of more than 800, has raised more than $2.4 million since it began in 1999, and is one of the most eagerly awaited events of the year.
The centerpiece of Toast To Life has always been the culinary fare presented by a collection of Dallas’ most popular restaurants, along with wines and spirits. Guests participate throughout the evening by bidding on exclusive silent and luxury auction items and enjoying stellar entertainment.
This year’s auction items include:
• VIP passes to a taping of Fashion Police with Joan Rivers in L.A.;
• A limited-edition, autographed Katy Perry tour jacket;
• Week rental of a four-bedroom private condo in Park City, Utah;
• Furnishings from Herman Miller Inc., Knoll and Neiman Marcus–Willow Bend;
• Assorted travel packages and gift certificates from casual favorites to Dallas’ most prominent restaurants; and,
• One-of-a-kind art from well-known local artists.
Toast To Life Gala is presented by Christopher A. Salerno and sponsored in part by: Nordstrom, Eric V. Culbertson & David W. Carlson, American Airlines, Christopher J. Vesy, M.D. & Alan E. Roller, Charles MarLett & Jim Vasilas, Steven M. Pounders, M.D. & Jimmy O’Reilly, United Court of the Lone Star Empire, David Hardt & Steven Hartsell, and Bud Light/Ben E. Keith.
Tickets are $100. VIP tickets, which includes private reception prior to gala, are $150. For tickets and sponsor information for the 2012 Toast To Life Gala, visit www.toasttolife.org.

BTD beneficiary applications online

Black Tie Dinner has opened its 31st season by making applications for 2012 beneficiaries available online. The deadline is March 2. Beneficiaries must submit a new application each year. Up to 20 organizations are chosen to receive half the proceeds from the annual dinner. The other half benefits the Human Rights Campaign.

The Dallas Black Tie Dinner has been the largest LGBT fundraising dinner since it began in 1982.
Black Tie Dinner has raised more than $15 million since it began in 1982. In 2011, the organization distributed $1.142 million to 17 North Texas groups. This year’s dinner will be held at the Sheraton in Downtown Dallas on Nov. 3. Mitzi Lemons and Chris Kouvelis are the chairs.
For more info or to submit an application, go to BlackTie.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Joan Rivers tonight at Bass Hall

Can she talk?

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) 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.)

Read the rest of the article here.

—  Rich Lopez

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

The wonderful thing about Tig is….

She wasn’t actually the last comic standing, but dry-witted lesbian standup Tig Notaro has scored legions of fans

TIG NOTARO
With Mark Agee. The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St. Aug. 30. 7:30 p.m. $15. TheKessler.org

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With a sense of humor so dry, you want to offer her a glass of water, out comedian Tig Notaro knows exactly what to say and how to say it to get a laugh. On her new and aptly named debut comedy disc Good One (Secretly Canadian), she touches on a variety of topics, ranging from Chastity Bono and Taylor Dayne to artificial insemination and babies taking showers. We spoke with Notaro just prior to the release this month of her album.

— Gregg Shapiro

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Dallas Voice: What was the best part of your Last Comic Standing experience?  Notaro: I wasn’t on for very long, maybe two or three episodes. To me it was kind of a ridiculous thing. There were so many comedians who took it very seriously. I guess it’s a good opportunity for people to burst onto the scene out of nowhere. For me, I was kind of glad I didn’t get into the final round — I enjoyed that I just made it to the semi-final round. When you get to that level, you’re just on for three minutes, just doing a set. It’s kind of like doing a late-night talk-show set. That was the best thing. And I made some good friends out of it. I’m doing this Podcast now with David Huntsberger, who I met on Last Comic Standing. In general, it’s kind of a blur to me. It happened so quickly in such a short amount of time that it wasn’t this monumental thing that happened. I kind of forget that I was on it.

Who are your comedy inspirations? Before I got into standup, I was really into Richard Pryor and Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone and Steve Martin, people like that. It changed when I got into standup. I really started to be inspired by my peers that I was coming up with — Maria Bamford, Zach Galifianakis and Sarah Silverman. That’s who started influencing and inspiring me after I got started. Your tastes get so refined. Not that I don’t think the others were great still, but I would rather listen to my friends these days.
How does it feel to be the first comedian to release a comedy album on uber-hipster indie label Secretly Canadian? I’m thrilled. I feel so honored and lucky. I’d been offered deals with different comedy labels, but it just didn’t appeal to me. I know I’m not the biggest comedian ever [though] if people are into comedy, they probably know who I am. When Secretly Canadian offered me a deal, my manager said, “We’ll look at [the deal] and I’ll talk to the label.” I said, “You can talk all you want, but I know in my gut that I’m signing.” They’ve been so supportive and helpful. They’ve carried out every part of what they’ve promised. It’s just cool. It feels good.

How did you decide what material to include on something as significant as your debut album Good One? I wanted to mix in some things that I had written in the past year that was a little newer. But then I also wanted to put some less popular, older bits of mine on there. I was [recently] in Philadelphia and for my whole show, this woman kept saying “No moleste,” which I guess is my signature bit. She kept turning to her husband saying, “When is she going to do it? I can’t wait until she does ‘No moleste.’” I was like, “Lady! Shut your trap!” I feel like I had to put certain bits on there and for my own good I wanted to put in some newer stuff. There’s also some improvisational things that were more in the moment. That’s how all my shows are — new stuff, old stuff, right on the spot.

So “No moleste” is your “Free Bird.” I guess so. But I feel like my Taylor Dayne story that I wrote in the past year is creeping up on that popularity.

Do you know if Taylor Dayne is aware of being the subject of a comedy routine? Has she contacted you? Yeah, her agent contacted my manager a month or two ago. Her agent told my manager that Taylor wanted me to know that she heard through the grapevine that I was telling this story about her and that she’s a fan of mine and that she’d like to work with me one day [laughs]. I don’t know what on earth we would do together, but I know I don’t need a comedy partner. And I also know I can’t sing. But, yeah, it’s the weirdest and funniest thing that has ever come my way. The Taylor Dayne story just won’t stop giving.

The deluxe edition includes the “Have Tig at Your Party” DVD, described as the “human equivalent to the ‘burning log’ DVD.” What was the inspiration for the concept? Touring so much, I missed so many parties and get-togethers. This friend of mine, years ago, was having a party. And I was sitting in my hotel room thinking, what if I videotaped myself in my hotel room and I just mailed that to her and she could just play it at her party. I didn’t do it, but it inspired the idea of me making that DVD. And every time I mentioned it to people, they would laugh and say, “You have to do that!” So I did and hopefully people will enjoy it. It’s me standing there and I say very little every now and then.

You are going to be on tour for the next several months. What are you looking forward to about being on the road? When I’m doing my college tour, I’m bringing my old friend Tom Sharp as my opener. He’s such a funny guy. We came up in comedy together. He used to write for Zach Galifianakis. With the regular tour dates, I’m hitting a lot of major cities and I have so many friends in those cities. I’m going to be doing venues that I’ve never done, even though I’ve been to those cities before. I’m anxious to see some old friends, hit some new venues. I think it’s going to be a good time.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

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.

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THIS WEEK

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

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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

Bill Maher at the Winspear on Sunday night: ‘Your new theater isn’t gonna be clean for long’

Bill Maher

I’ve seen Kathy Griffin perform live, and Joan Rivers and Lisa Lampanelli and Chris Rock — and they are all hilarious and edgy and daring comics who say outrageous things and go places that scare a lot of other comedians — but none of them can hold a candle to Bill Maher. Bill Maher is a shock comic who doesn’t say things just to shock: He says them because they are true.

Last night, at the Winspear Opera House, Maher spoke the truth for a nearly two-hour set, and, in my mind, established himself as the pre-eminent political commentator of a generation. He’s a comedian, too, of course. But really, he’s a voice.

The concert played out more like a rally than a comedian’s concert. “Your new theater isn’t gonna be clean for long,” Maher joked early in the set, before letting loose a parade of F-bombs and angry rants that touched on some easy pop targets (Justin Beiber, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen), but were most concerned with weighty issues including gay marriage (Maher said people in the military and the clergy have managed to scare people into thinking that just the sight of gay people will make you gay — in other words, “cock is like dessert at a restaurant — it’s what they’re known for, maybe I should try it”); Democrats’ wishy-washy leadership (when 75 percent of the American public supported repealing the ban on gays in the military, it “was still not enough political cover for these pussies”); his avowed atheism and even Lee Harvey Oswald (“Oh, yes, I went there — even in this town,” said the former North Texas resident).

It’s that fearlessness — he acknowledged that some people would probably be uncomfortable with some of his remarks about religion, not to mention calling Sarah Palin a “cunt” (“there’s just no other word for her”) — that makes Maher the most dangerous person in comedy. He’s painfully well-informed, which means he takes no bullshit from anyone. President Barack Obama took it on the chin almost as much as Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. How dare the President say he would not settle for America being No. 2 — America is already out of the top 10 in most international lifestyle and human rights categories (health care, education, social mobility, women in high political positions). “I’d be thrilled if we were No. 2,” he ranted, noting it’s nice to be behind Bosnia in life expectancy (where the chief cause of death is wolfman attacks, he joked).

Every single Republican in the U.S. Senate, he noted, refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of global warming. One of the reasons for this, he said, is that oil is very macho: “You’ve got to drill and take it. Wind is a very gay way to get our energy. It’s drill baby drill, not blow baby blow.”

Maher kicked off the evening, though, in defense of the gays, before a largely gay (and certainly gay-friendly) audience, and came back to it time and again. “Tea-baggers have taken a gay sex act — one man dragging his balls across another man’s face — and somehow turned it into something tawdry and disgusting.” Obama was criticized for demanding additional “readiness studies” before repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” (“How do they conduct those studies?” he wondered. “Johnson, get in here and blow me while I fire this rifle at a target and we’ll compare my scores to before”). His assaults on George W. Bush, the oil industry and all religion (especially the Mormons, though), was particularly pointed in Bible Belt Texas, where even flamers go to church every week. But that’s exactly what I loved about him. You don’t have to agree with everything he says to respect the way he says it — not just to be humorous but to make you think. If our politicians were so brave, we might not be in such deep shit. (Thanks to John Wright for writing down some of the jokes!)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Joan Rivers backs marriage equality

—  John Wright