Joan Rivers is the epitome of a gay icon. From starting out with the boys doing stand up in New York City's Greenwich Village, to keeping us up on all the latest trends on E!'s "Fashion Police" SFGN sat down for a chat with this comedy legend, where they chatted about her new book "Diary Of A Mad Diva" why she loves gay men so much, and what makes things funny to her.
Joan, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me, this is a thrill!
It's my pleasure! Go ahead, ask me anything, I'm ready!
Well, we would be remiss to not mention the unfortunate passing away of comedy legend Robin Williams recently.
There's a big difference. He didn't pass away. He committed suicide. It was a terribly sad choice. I think all comedians are all so close to the line. Robin was a very wild and manic person. Think who else was-Jonathan Winters (who co-starred with Williams on the 1980's hit sitcom "Mork and Mindy")! Comedians, if you're that crazy when you're up, you're that crazy when you're down. There's a real ying and a yang, and we just never saw that really dark side of him.
I just finished your book "Diary Of A Mad Diva" on the beach this past weekend, and it's amazing!
That's exactly where you should read it! It's perfect for that, and it's also sand absorbent! [Laughs].
You went through so many different celebrities and non-celebrities that you had fun with throughout the book. Was it random or is there a method to the madness?
Oh no, it's definitely not random. When you have to write three hundred and fifty two entries and you're doing it over a period of time, it's whatever makes you laugh that day. If you skip a couple of days and then I go back and remember something my friend Larry and I were discussing over dinner a couple nights ago, I may put that in. It's just a silly and funny book, and no one should take it seriously. It made the bestseller list for six weeks, so it's all been a very happy experience.
There are many things you say that many people can consider inflammatory or controversial, but I feel it's all humor and I find them personally, very funny!
Exactly! And that's why I've been working for fifty years!
In today's times, many people are so overly politically correct and sensitive. How do you respond to people that may not "get" your humor?
You know what-then get out of my face. I'm so not interested in that. This year, I finally figured out, what makes all of my friends my friends, and it's one thing-they're all funny. I don't have one friend who I've ever had to say "no no no, that's a joke.” If someone doesn't have humor, fine, I can work with you and we can do whatever we need to do for business, but I'll tell you one thing, you ain't comin to my house.
Everywhere we turn on the news, is some form of bad news. Humor like yours is very welcome. What do you think it is that makes some people so overly sensitive that they aren't able to laugh at it?
You know what it is, it's whatever group can scream the loudest; that's what it's all about. I'm terrified that the Koreans are going to rise up and there goes my eating dog jokes!
You are at the point that so many people strive to get to in life, where you can just say essentially, anything you want.
I just think things are funny and I get through life by laughing at things. Bill Cosby said to me years ago, "don't worry, if one percent of the entire population thinks you're funny, you will fill stadiums for the rest of your life.” You can't worry who's not gonna think you're funny, I don't care. Go see "Donny and Marie.” Don't come to my show.
There is just something about you and the gay men, who just absolutely adore you! What do you think makes the gay men love your shows so much?
As long as I have at least six gay men in the front row, you're gonna have a good show. They are the best audience in the world. I don't know why really. I started with them in the Village and they've always been so much a part of my life, with my friends. The humor is right there and they are the ones that you can make the joke with. I find that fascinating.
I can't speak for all of us, but most gay men I know love you for your honesty and your openness.
Oh vice versa definitely I always make sure I wear good shoes too. The audience looks up.
Speaking of shoes, "Fashion Police" is must see television viewing at my house every week. Who's style are you absolutely loving right now?
Well, of course, even though she's so stupid really, Rihanna is really amazing. You wanna just say "shut your mouth and be beautiful." No one wears clothes and carries them off like Rihanna. I think Cate Blanchett-and you must say it pronouncing every syllable-Cate Blanchett! I think she wears clothes beautifully.
There are a couple around that you really think they know what they're doing. Or their stylists know that they're doing! Jennifer Lopez is another one. She's beautiful. You look at her, you think Audrey Hepburn. Much more fine and delicate than in the pictures. She's gorgeous!
Anyone that you are not loving right now?
I don't know — it really comes and goes. Kesha has really pulled herself together; I'm very proud of her, she's obviously taken a bath, shaved under those armpits. She's really looking good.
Has your opinion on Mel Gibson changed?
Absolutely not. He's a stupid, arrogant fool. Once someone is really stupid, I'm done.
I love people that are funny and I love people that are smart. Once you show me you're stupid, you're out, you're finished. People will say something like "I don't read books.” Done. Goodbye!
I have to ask more importantly, how has your friend Helen Keller enjoyed the summer?
Oh God love her. You know, she tends to sunburn. Then, she misplaces her beach umbrella and really can't find it. She's so dumb she thinks we're at the beach, at five o'clock, I just throw water at her.
You know, at an antique show several years ago, I bought a hand written letter from Helen Keller to a friend, and when you really look at it, how she figured out how she did it and wrote it is extraordinary. Trust me though, I don't dwell on that in the act though.
Do you change your act based on where you are performing?
My act changes slowly, I never see my act changing, I just keep adding. I just know that it's changing because I'll come off stage after an hour and fifteen minutes and realize that there were things I didn't mention, but other things I did mention. If you saw me last year, it will probably be half different. If you saw me five years ago, it will probably be all different. The act definitely evolves.