I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work (2010)

The first thing learned from this documentary is that legendary comedianne Joan Rivers is a workaholic.  It's not that the woman needs to work.  She could retire and live a comfortable life.  But she does not believe in eating the bread of idleness.  With the help of managers and assistants, Ms. Rivers makes sure her calendar is full with stand-up concerts, TV appearances, and whatever other gigs she can get.  "This is fear," she says, holding up a blank calendar with nothing written in the dates. 

The film covers a year of Ms. Rivers keeping herself in the limelight.  It is not a biography per se.  Some major parts of her history are covered:  the long friendship between her and Johnny Carson that abruptly ended when she signed on to host a talk show opposite his; the relationship between her and her daughter Melissa; the death of her second husband, Edgar.  But the focus always goes back to -- what makes Joan Rivers tick?

Ms. Rivers says that inside, all comedians want to be loved.  "It takes a lot of guts for someone to stand out on stage alone and ask people to laugh at them and with them," her daughter Melissa comments.  But there's the sense that her mother wants her respect -- for acting (which is how she started out), for writing, and simply being around and surviving for so long.  It's a fascinating, and often poignant look into one woman's struggle with show business, even though people would say that she has proven herself enough times not to have to beg for recognition any more.

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