Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work Opens July 7

"Joan Rivers — where have you been all my life?"—from the NYTimes Review

From the AV Club Interview:

AVC: There’s some conventional wisdom that good comedians tend to come from troubled and angry backgrounds. Do you think this is true across the board?

JR: I think it’s very true across the board. I think anyone who’s perfectly happy isn’t particularly funny. And when you’re very, very happy, you’re not very funny. You’re just happy. I’d rather be damaged and funny because I’ve been laughing for 76 years.

AVC: Some of the funniest jokes in the film are when you’re talking about trying to get out there more often, and not getting the bookings you want.

JR: Again, if it’s a fact of life and you laugh about it, it’s okay. Everything is okay if you laugh about it. And that’s a great weapon. That’s a cliché, but clichés come out of truth. The glass is always half-empty for me, because I say it’s filled with poison. Even now, as everyone is adoring this movie and loving this movie, I keep saying to Ricki, “Yeah, but we’ll see, well see.” But I’m also not stupid. I’m delighted and savoring the moment, too.

AVC: A lot of people are fascinated by the movie, but also wary of seeing it, because they have a very negative image of you going in.

JR: I worked at The Bitter End years ago, owned by a man named Freddie Weintraub, and we all came out of there—Woody [Allen], Bill Cosby, and George Carlin. There was a whole group that was going through there. Peter, Paul & Mary, The Mamas & The Papas; we were all mixed up together. Freddie would stand at the door after the shows and he would listen to the comments, and if people loved the act or hated the act, he brought them back. He said, “That means they have a quality people watch.” When people hate me, that’s good. They know I’m there. You’re not a chorus kid. Remember in A Chorus Line, she’s having trouble and he keeps saying, “You’re standing out,” and she’s trying not to? They hate me? That’s good.

Read the whole interview here.

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