Joan Rivers’ passing on Thursday, Sept 4 was surprising. I never actually thought of her as someone who would die…as crazy as it sounds. At 81, she was full of more fire than I can muster in a week!
Like Robin Williams, Joan Rivers was another presence that I grew up with. I caught a glimpse of her on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and saw a few episodes of The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, but my obsession with her really began with her day-time talk show, The Joan Rivers Show. Whenever I had a day off from school, I would tune in and guffaw at her snarky comments and comic timing. When she went on to do interviews at awards shows (I’m talking pre-Fashion Police) with her daughter, Melissa, I was glued to the TV: What would she say this time? Of course, she said what everyone was thinking. That is what made her so awesome.
If I missed Fashion Police on Friday night, I would curl up on the couch Saturday morning and catch the rerun. I couldn’t wait to see what came out of Joan’s mouth, and I loved the show’s kitchy segments. My favorite: “Starlet or Street Walker”–because, really, sometimes they do seem the same!
My mother and I loved Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best? We used to record the episodes on the DVR and watch them during lunch when I was visiting over the summer. It honestly sometimes was like watching my present and future with my mother: the advice and the frustrations mirror our relationship. It’s creepy, yet humorous and comforting.
If you haven’t seen the documentary about Joan’s life, Joan Rivers A Piece of Work, I highly recommend it. It’s a charming, touching, and honest look at the life of a woman who didn’t seem to know what “slow down” meant. She was tireless. Her work ethic alone and her commitment to charity work were outstanding.
I also enjoyed her fashion line that she sold through QVC. She had some great designs for older and younger women, things that were comfortable yet stylish. I love her jewelry designs–they are just fun! I had a great pair of sunglasses from her collection as well. They broke over the summer, I’ll have to get another pair.
What I love about Joan Rivers: she was feisty, she never allowed “no” to get her down, she had flaws and wasn’t afraid to talk about them, she was committed to her family and friends, and she absolutely seemed to love life. She was at the head of the digging crew, with the light on her head and the pick-axe in her hand, gouging out new terrain for comediennes, for senior citizens, and for the generations of women that came after her.
It’s hard to imagine the world without her. It seemed like she was there when everything began, and she was going to be there when everything ended.
It’s amusing to think of her AND Robin Williams somewhere in the afterlife, sitting around, riffing off of one another, ripping the heavenly fashionistas to shreds. She’ll have more fashion faux-pas to deal with now—millenniums worth! I can only imagine what she might be saying to God, or any of the prophets, or to Elizabeth Taylor….
Joan Rivers just felt like the eternal grandmother, one who would give you great life advice, spoil you rotten, and tell you everything you never wanted to hear. I don’t quite think her spirit will ever leave the earth. Like Robin Williams, Joan Rivers was a boundless energy that cannot be contained. Every time you walk past someone on the street wearing something they really shouldn’t be, or see a celebrity that looks like a hooker, or (even worse) witness a “Bitch Stole My Look!” moment in real life or on the red carpet, we’ll all hear Joan.
I am proud to be a Joan Ranger, and I will keep fighting the good fight against fashion victims everywhere. But most of all, I try to live up to the model of the socially engaged, fearless, and grateful female that Joan Rivers set for us.
Thank you for the laughter, Joan!