Joan Rivers is Still Alive.

by Harry on July 1, 2010

I’m sure I first heard Joan Rivers the same way I did Bob Newhart and Woody Allen, on Frank Muir Goes Into… but she never entered my consciousness really till I moved to LA in the mid-80s and started seeing her on daytime TV. I found her captivating — the only thing on TV worth watching a lot of the time. Rude, self-deprecating, very funny, and very clever. So when Swift and I wandered past a theater showing her new movie last night we decided, whimsically, to go in after dinner.

I’d recommend it to just about anybody over 21. It certainly deserves to be seen by a wider audience than the scattering of old Jewish women and two middle-aged Englishmen who saw it in our theater. At first, Rivers simply appears to be a grotesque — right from the opening shot, through the introduction to her diminished life, whining about her lack of success and how it sucks being old. But slowly, gradually, the film humanizes her, never refraining from showing the warts. It is also very funny (not least because she is very funny).

Googling her afterwards I found this delightful profile from which comes this plausible, but odd, story:

As we wait for it to start, she tells me a story about Prince Charles, with whom she has been friends for several years. (“Not inner circle,” she says. “Outer-inner circle.”) HRH sends her a Christmas gift every year, which, more than once, has been two very fancy teacups. “One year,” she says, “I took a picture under my Christmas tree with the teacups and wrote, ‘How could you send me two teacups when I’m alone?’ Another time I wrote, ‘I’m enjoying tea with my best friend!’ and I sent a picture of me in a cemetery. And he never acknowledges it! He never says to me when I see him”—doing his accent perfectly—“ ‘Ohhhh, funny funny funny!’ So this year I thought, I’m just going to write him a nice thank-you note. And the other day our mutual friend calls and says, ‘Just spoke to Charles! He said, “I can’t wait to see Joan’s note this year!” ’ ”