Thursday, July 29, 2010

Joan, Joan, Joan

Yesterday I went down to the Village to the IFC Theater to see Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. It was surprisingly good. Funny, poignant, but also sad. The theater is small and you get to it through utilitarian doors and metal stairs and sit on some sort of sofa seats with armrests that break up the expanse and delineate one "seat" from the next. It was very much an NYU crowd, not surprising since the place is right by the university, and I wondered if most of the audience was there as some sort of class. I thought it was fascinating that whatever our age we all laughed at the same jokes. Joan Rivers is definitely funny. She also pushes too far and she didn't seem to be the person who reined herself in, as if she didn't know the difference between going to far and not. Her people reined her in. Which I thought was fascinating. As a book person, I wondered if her people were like her editor. Though when she was confronted by a heckler in a audience, on her own, having to think on her feet, she dealt with the situation that was both harsh and got the audience back on her side. What really got me, however, was how unfair it seemed that at 75 she was having to work so hard to get work and not be a has been. It seemed so unfair - until they showed Don Rickles, a man who seemed to be content with his place, whatever that is, at this stage in his life. Joan Rivers isn't content to have had a great run and and now sit back. She wants to be current, the hot talent in a world that worships youth and beauty. I left the theater not sure if I was sad that she was still having to work so hard . . . or impressed that she still had something she was willing to fight for.

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