Sunday, August 22, 2010



Born Joan Molinsky (June 8, 1933) in Brooklyn, New York to Russian Jewish immigrants she graduated from Barnard College in 1954 with a B.A. in English literature. Before entering show business she worked at various jobs such as a tour guide at Rockefeller Center, a writer/proof-reader at an advertising agency and a “fashion consultant” at several Bond Clothing stores.

She wanted to become an actress and her first agent, Tony Rivers, suggested she change her name: Joan Rivers first appeared in a short-lived play called Seawood. She performed in numerous comedy clubs during the early 1960’s before making her first appearance in February 1965 as a guest on The Tonight Show hosted by Jack Parr. She worked as a gag writer and participant on Candid Camera and was frequently on television including The Ed Sullivan Show.

Known for her brash manner, River’s comic style relies heavily on poking fun at herself and other celebrities.

It is not a complete biography in the sense it skips over the first 35 years of her life and gets right into the woman she is today. Although there are brief snippets of her early career beginning in 1965 the film covers the events in about one year of her life, the year she turned seventy-five.

Warts and all. Well not really warts but bloodshot eyes and Botox blotches. How these unflattering scenes made the final editing cut is beyond me as most “stars” would have them eradicated in a nano-second.

And not just that: there is one other scene when she is doing a stand-up show in Wisconsin that I think most “stars” would have insisted it be removed but it is there for all of us to see and judge.

For those who have only seen Joan on television seeing her night club act shows an entirely different persona, one who will do practically anything to get a laugh. It is a revelation and may change your perception of the lady.

for pervasive language and crude sexual humor.

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