Thursday, January 26, 2012

Joan Rivers Truly Is a Piece of Work

Find Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work on Video

Joan Rivers Truly Is a Piece of Work

(from brinkzine.com 6/9/10)

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The first time I interviewed Ricki Stern and Annie Sunberg, it was at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival when they entered The Devil Came on Horseback, a marvelous, gut-wrenching documentary about a former marine, Brian Steidle, who is spreading the word about the genocide he'd witnessed in Darfur. Before that they'd made the acclaimed The Trials of Daryll Hunt, about an individual who spent twenty years behind bars for a rape/murder he didn't commit. They'd done other political films as well, so I was surprised to learn that they were the team behind Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. I was unable to catch their documentary about our most famous and influential female comic of the last fifty years at the recent Tribeca Film Festival, but saw it recently and can say that in its own way, it's as jolting and riveting as Stern and Sunberg's other films. I've watched Joan Rivers since the late fifties and had no idea who she was or really considered her impact on comedy--until now! I was eager to meet Ricki and Annie (the tallest blond in the picture!) again and their irrepressible star and, in anticipation of the movie's release this Friday, take part in the below roundtables. I should point out that the Rivers roundtable is free-wheeling and impossible to edit. At one point I ask her about her catchphrase "Can We Talk?" I wanted to know how she is able to make every audience feel like it is the only audience she is revealing things to, but was unable to squeeze in a follow-up question so she'd know what I was after. But I must say, she was able to do that with our roundtable just by being as candid as anyone in the business gets with reporters. I can imagine she conveys equal intimacy at every gathering where she feels she's being embraced rather than attacked. As for her much-mocked plastic surgery--in our photo together, I look like the older one! Read the interviews, and whether you are a Joan Rivers fan or not, see this fascinating movie.
ROUNDTABLE WITH RICKI STERN and ANNIE SUNBERG
Q: Talk about moving from making hardcore political films to a film about Joan Rivers.
Ricki Stern: We didn't set out to make films that were about the criminal system or Darfur. Those two films were really about characters so that's what I think attracts us to a story. Our films are intimate portraits of people. Daryll Hunt, Brian Steidle. We think we make character-driven narratives that are also documentaries. They're about: Who is that character? What motivates that person? What are that person's obstacles and how do they overcome them? Just like with a fictional narrative.
Annie Sunberg: In regard to our body of work, there was a time Ricki wrote a series of children's books and I produced a narrative of what was essentially a love story in Nebraska. Our work goes back to stories that we would want to see or cinema experiences that we'd find valuable. Our agenda isn't driven by social issues.
RS: We'd only made films about men, which was interesting, too. So it was weird to have an opportunity to connect to an aging woman and hear stories that we as women could identify with. I'll tell you how we came to make a film about Joan. After we finished The Devil Came on Horseback, we were doing little projects but we were essentially sitting in the office one day when I said, "What about a film on Joan Rivers?" I knew Joan through family and had met her twice already, so I called her and we met the next day at her apartment. I hadn't really talked to her before other than being introduced, so now I sat there for an hour in a chair and she sat on a stool below me, and it was really intimate. She was very open and engaging and I just felt she would be up for it. She was turning seventy-five and hadn't told her age publicly in a long time. She was owning up to her age and thought, "What the hell, I have nothing to lose." So very quickly we started filming.
Q: How long did the film take you to make?
RS: We shot over fourteen months and we probably had about two hundred hours of footage. And there was so much archival footage. Our editor, Peneope Falk, did a great job of editing down the scenes--because every incident and every experience with Joan is really a scene. Unlike with our other films where there was so much footage that was boring, so much with Joan was really good. We had to decide which scenes we needed to tell the story. I knew what the story was from the beginning, which isn't always the case. It was pretty clear from her history and what she was doing during the year, what the story was. The difficulty was that it could have been a cotton-candy kind of film with a lot of fun and a lot of fluff, because she's really funny in her every-day life and there were so many silly things that happened. So I was constantly trying to figure how scenes resonated beyond the fun of the moment. We had to trim it down until we had the 84-minute film we wanted.
Q: From a journalistic perspective, were you worried your film would become kind of a PR piece for Joan?
RS: It never occurred to us. We felt there was an understanding from the beginning that we were going to make a film with whatever warts that had to be in there. I told her that I would not do anything to hurt her family, particularly her daughter Melissa, and wouldn't put in anything to be mean or for which she might be held libel. She'll say things off the cuff that she could be sued for, so we toned down those things. Those were the things that we had to be careful about, not in the filming, but in the editing. We have had great relationships with all the subjects of our films, and that's what we set out to do with her.
AS: There are obviously different ways to make documentaries. One is a completely objective documentary where you are a fly on the wall and just observing. The incredible trusting relationship that Joan and Ricki had is what allowed this film to be what it is. There is the presence of the filmmaker and the conversation the two of them have opens up Joan to the audience in an intimate sphere.
Q: I like how you begin the film showing Joan putting on her makeup. We see her scars before the makeup goes on and it's like you're saying we're going to show you how they got there.
RS: It's one of those stupid things--I wish I had a better explanation. I was running one day and was listening to this orgasmic song by a Swedish group whose name I can't remember and I pictured Joan's face. It was fascinating watching her put on her face, her mask. Joan didn't know we were shooting so close. Our friends built a ring of lights so it looks like a makeup mirror and we shot through that. She felt comfortable, as if she was just looking at a make-up mirror while her makeup person was applying make-up. She's someone who always says, "Not too close, not too close!," and she didn't realize how tight we were. She dropped that command after about the first day.
Q: Was there some place she wanted to take you to make sure you showed it?
RS: She definitely wanted us to come to the clubs in New York. She's really proud of her irreverent work there; it's where she feels she can tell the truth. There were other things she wanted to include in the film that we didn't include. She sent me three pages of notes once. It went on and on: "And it's boring, boring, boring and I'm always in the make-up chair and you could have put more of my dogs in." It was insane. I met with her and said, "It's either going to happen or not happen, but I'm not going to do this." So we had a peace moment and I asked her to give me general criticism and then specific criticism. She said, "Well, it's really negative." I said, "Well, there's nothing we can do about that. How about specific?"
AS: Joan never had a stamp of approval over the film.
RS: I'm not sure she really likes it. Maybe she'll spin it to you that she does.
AS: I don't think it makes her particularly comfortable. We watched her watching it at Sundance and I think it was a difficult experience for her to go through.
Q: Joan Rivers is a real character. How do you show that without showing only that?
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RS: She is a real character. When you spend time with Joan, she can be really "on,  but you see the character behind "the character." She may be funny, but she's really bare when you see her in person. Her honesty really comes through. She can be talking to you about liking what you're wearing or asking about your mother and then she goes on stage and she is immediately "Joan Rivers, performer." What she does on stage is her "act." My friends came to see her do standup in New York and afterward she was so gracious to them. They said, "I can't believe how nice she was to us! I thought she was going to look at our outfits and tear us apart!" But that's just her act.
Q: Did you get an appreciation for what she goes through physically, traveling and doing her shows?
AS: Joan throws herself into everything she does with incredible aplomb and energy. Her physical routine is daunting, like her doing pratfallsa the age. It's so much part of her and I have a great admiration for how physical she is. It's inspiring to me as a woman.
RS: For one shoot, the crew and I flew to Palm Beach. At 6 a.m. her hair and makeup was done because she had an on-air television interview. Then she did a book event and then a book signing. Then we drove to Key West, which took about four hours, and she did another two-hour book event, where she stood the whole time signing books and relating to everybody. We had a few minutes free so we all went to Ernest Hemingway's house. She had half a slice of pizza and then had hair and makeup done because she had a show. Before the show she warmed up the band asking them all questions about their lives. We then drove to Miami. She had about two hours sleep and then flew to L.A. to do a show and have lunch with a friend. She took the Red Eye back to New York and drove up to her house in Connecticut to entertain friends. Her energy is such that you literally can't keep up with her.
Danny Peary: In the movie, she entertains friends in her apartment on Thanksgiving. Who are her friends?
RS: At Thanksgiving dinner, it's her neighbors, as she says in the film. Her building has about five floors and she invites neighbors from downstairs. There were a couple of producer friends, her niece, her sister. She does have friends, she entertains at her house in Connecticut. And my parents are friends of hers. But most of her friends are people in the business or writers or reviewers...Rex Reed is a friend.
AS: I think there is a loneness to her, which is what you are getting at. She doesn't have a partner right now and comes home after working hard to her dogs and does the crossword puzzle. There is a fear there, and I think that was important to show in the film, more than a boring dinner party with six friends who are superfluously in her life now.
Q: Was there anything that really surprised you while making the movie?
AS: It's not a surprise but I still find it shocking that she decided years ago to make a film with her daughter in the wake of her husband Edgar's suicide. I think it's fascinating that she decided to go through that experience again, with the two of them playing themselves. That to me is quintessentially Joan, meaning, "I will touch those really sore points, and I'll keep touching them, and I'll touch them for all of you until we can talk about it somehow." That was kind of a weird metaphor that helped me come to an understanding about who Joan is.
RS: In terms of what surprised me, it was going to those clubs because she is so funny there. You don't think of an older comic who has been around and wears get-ups like old-school comics being so raw and contemporary. Some of that comes out in the film, but there is so much more. That was surprising.
DP: In the production notes, one of you says you filmed Joan while she was "on a year-long quest to reinvent herself." Does she really "reinvent" herself, or does she just give herself more exposure?
RS: Her assistant Jocelyn says that in the years she has worked with Joan she has had to reinvent herself sometimes. I don't know if this year was so much a reinvention.
AS: I don't think it was a reinvention but I do think the idea of claiming her age and her place was a very important shift for her. You even see that when she eyes the other comedians at the Kennedy Center tribute to George Carlin. "At 75, what is really my place in the world?" We use the word "legacy," but she's still in motion so it's hard to look back retrospectively. So for me it's not reinvention as much as taking stock of who she is right now. That's how I always felt it.
Q: You don't include any of the red carpet events she and Melissa do on E!
RS: It was very deliberate not to put in what the younger generation thinks of when they hear her name. That's probably where I editorialized. I was thinking, "That is not the genius of Joan Rivers." The genius is her act in New York City and coming up with jokes on the way there. That's what makes her groundbreaking and what you see in her early work. Not necessarily when she was on Johnny Carson because the censors were there. It was important to provide in a short film her life as a performer, not taking a job like on the red carpet. It's when she performs that you see the work and the passion. And you see that she is an artist.
ROUNDTABLE WIT JOAN RIVERS 
Danny Peary: Joan, you're often referred to as a pioneer. [She makes a face and moans.] When did you stop being a pioneer? Aren't you still in your mind a pioneer?
Joan Rivers: I never thought of myself as a pioneer. I'm always the first to talk about everything so I never think about it. I get very angry. As I say in the film: dont give me past tense here, that's stupid. I'm still on stage doing much more and saying much more than anyone else.
DP: Still a pioneer.
JR: If you want to call it that. Or current. My manager calls it "relevant." I have a Southern manager: "You are rel-ev-ant."
DP: I've known you most of my life but the movie gave me a whole new appreciation of you.
JR: Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Q: This documentary is a sometimes unflattering portrait of you. How do you feel about that?
JR: Truly I was the pawn. I wanted them to tell the truth and I wanted them to make the statement "Stop whining, get on with your life," and also show how horrible aging is. You're all going to come up to that mountain and it sucks. There's nothing like that. You cannot say you can turn this mountain around. You cant. So that's what I wanted to come out of the documentary, but it was their choice what went in.
Q: Are there any scenes you really loved?
JR: Yeah. One with my grandson I love. The other was of me visiting the tough, edgy New York girl, who had been an ingnue and an artist and a photographer, and look where shes sitting now. In a wheelchair. And that to me is "life sucks and you better enjoy it right now when your legs are moving. You could cross the street tomorrow and be paralyzed from the neck down and be lying there in bed."
Q: Which scenes were you uneasy about that you half wanted taken out of there?
JR: Melissa was very upset with Edgar's stuff because her father's her father. The only thing we did remove was when I walk past Edgar's picture, which I do almost every day, and go "Fuck you!" I'm still angry and it's 20 years later, but if you haven't had suicide in your familiy you don't get that. If you have had a suicide you are so upset and so angry for the rest of your life. And so Melissa said please take that part out, so that was the only one I called them about. I had given them carte blanche, but I said at one point "Art is art but I dont want my daughter upset." So they were kind enough to remove that.
Q: With everything being so politically correct, you know how to push that envelope. Two scenes I'm questioning; the one, Jackie O, when you refer to Obama as Blacky O, and then you did the thing about the Chinese person, pulling your eyes into a slant.
JR: Right. I am so not about color and race. It's so not in my vocabulary. I looked one day at the group that works for the jewelry company and I said this is the United Nations. And it wasn't done because I said, "Oh, let's get this nationality and this color," but because we picked people we liked. And we were laughing and we said someone should come here and take a picture. So it means nothing to me. You're Chinese, you do see this in the mirror, what's so terrible? You also have the most gorgeous women with the most beautiful hair in the world. That's not negative. And with Mrs. Obama, I voted for them, I thought it was a great joke: Blacky O from Jackie O--what a nice association. But then when everyone at the table screams at me " You cant say that!," I said "Okay, okay, I'll take it out." But I bet she would have laughed.
Q: Do you have any regrets about anything you've said or done? JR: You know what I have regrets about? Who I didnt sleep with.
Q: And that would be?
JR: That would be Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, I could give you a whole list of guys that tried it with me when I was married. When you meet them on a show you'll be interviewing them and theyll be talking to you, you'll be talking to them. So I look back and I go, "Fuck, I should have done that!" I regret that. Seriously what do I regret? Somebody once said you only regret things you didnt do. I don't regret anything I've done because at least I've done it, I've tried it. Those guys--move them back in time to when they asked and they can try again! [Laughing] You have to move me back too!
Q: Is any of the older archival footage in the movie interesting for you to watch? Like Johnny Carson cracking up as hard as he did when you were on his show.
JR: I love what they found because I hadn't seen any of that stuff. Carson was the best straight man in the business. He was the best appreciator you could have. Like it was gift knowing I have this good joke for him and then you give it to him. He never asked for it in advance, never wanted to know what you were going to say in advance, when some of them want to know every god damn thing and then they go Ha ha ha--Oh, stop! When he would lean back in his chair and laugh that was your paycheck. It made you so happy, so happy!
Q: You said seeing Carson laugh hysterically at your joke [about how men don't feel up women to search for their library card] really made you happy. Aside from audience appreciation, what else makes you happy?
JR: My daughter saying it's a good day. All the things that make us all happy. If my family is happy and my niece is going out with a great guy now and my sisters are fine, everything is fine. I'm so lucky; look at my apartment, I have great friends. I know I'm happy because Ive been through lots of shitty times. You have to know when you're happy.
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Q: About your apartment, you've been trying to unload that for a long time. I'm just wondering why.
JR: I have an accountant who says I'm living too high and I've got to unload it. So I put a price on it that nobody can pay, except a stupid Russian. I'm hoping the guy that bought the Nets will buy it.
Q: When you were in Washington in the movie for the Kennedy Center Honors for George Carlin, the Mark Twain Award, you were talking about the other comics there having their teams of writers. So is it really just you writing your material?
JR: People will send me jokes and if they're good I'll buy them for $20 a joke, but I'm not going home tonight and saying "let's have a little writers meeting here because by tomorrow I need 14 jokes on being a woman gardener." I dont have anyone else.
Q: Are you one of the few comics who still is a solo act like that?
JR: Well, I think a lot of stand-ups dont have staff. I mean look at Letterman, look at Saturday Night Live. we know that. When Obama was so funny the other night at the White House that was all Jon Stewarts writers writing for him for months, and rightly so. But when I have to go up against these people I suddenly go, "I have nobody!" and get very self-pitying.
Q: I was a little surprised to see you opening shows for Don Rickles, although you both shared the pot.
JR: There are so many stupid rules in show business, and I figure whoever's coming in is going to see my show and they're going to have a great hour. This goes back to 10 years ago we started working together Don wants to close the evening, so let him have the privilege and the courtesy of closing. I go down, I lay it out, and, Im not making a joke, I'm home by 10:30. You know how great that is? I did Westbury twice this week, I was walking the dogs at 10:30, I was in bed for Saturday Night Live. And it's a different story because we split the money.
Q: Why are Jews funny?
JR (laughing): Look at us! Have you seen my relatives? You better laugh. See people say Jews are funny but look at the great comics; they're not Jews. Chris Rock; I dont think he's got a Jewish bubala sitting there. Robin Williams, George Carlin. When you really stop and think about it.. But I think there were more Jews in the Catskills coming from that, and Jewish humor is hilarious and it's easy to be funny when you're Jewish. You know that. It's just so much fun. You know how my relatives greet me: "What happened to you?"
Q: Do you have more books in you?
JR: Oh yeah. Id like to do another autobiography. I was so disappointed; we got great reviews on Murder at the Academy Awards and we thought that was going to be a series. Not one negative review, great reviews. And nobody cared.
DP: Your catchphrase is "Can we talk?" Is there something really profound about that?
JR: No. It just came out of telling the truth to the audience, when the audience will gasp. When Michael Jackson died and the whole world went into mourning; I never saw any reaction like this. And I walked out and I said, "He was a druggie and a pedophile. Can we talk about this?" And that's how it always came. "Can we talk about this? This is stupid. Everyone calm down. He was very talented but would you let your grandson stay overnight? No? So shut up!"
Q: He was not a pedophile.
JR: He was a pedophile. I saw the checks. We had the same manager. I saw the $35 million check to the guy. Maybe he didn't penetrate but I saw a boy get a $35 million check. You don't get a $35 million check for nothing.
Q: I know the family and he was not a pedophile.
JR: And you know something, if it's your son and you want to leave him with Michael to have a good time, do it. You know what I'm saying? Do it.
Q: What do you think about gay marriage rights?
JR: Gay marriage in a second. Gay marriage--why, are you that stupid? It means gay divorce? You want to get married? It's only going to cause you problems.
Q: What about Dont Ask, Don't tell?
JR: It's ridiculous. That's the stupidest thing in the world. I think you say this is what I am and you divide the barracks,
Q: Who pisses you off these days?
JR: Everybody.
Q: Talk to me about Sanjay Gupta.
JR: Oh, Sanjay Gupta. I hate Sanjay Gupta. Just go and read a medical book. Q: Why do you hate him so much?
JR: Just because hes never doing medical things. He's always talking. I want to see him change a bandage. Brett Michaels is bitching me off because I never saw a person in intensive care with an IV in his arm, in bandages, with a bandana. Who is the doctor? It must have been Sanjay Gupta.
Q: I heard you're glad that Brett won on Celebrity Apprentice this year?
JR: I felt terribly. I think Holly should have won. Melissa's a good friend of hers and Melissa said that's what she's about. But she didnt have a shot and she knew it. The man is coming back from the dead and risked his life to be on Celebrity Apprentice, and then risked his life again the next day to be on Regis and Kelly, and risked his life yet again to be on Today, and risked his live again to be on Fox at Five. This man is very brave.
Q: Did you get to go on The Tonight Show the year you won Celebrity Apprentice?
JR: No. They would never have me.
Q: So are you going to be on Dancing with the Stars?
JR: I begged them to put us on. It was going to be Melissa and me in the same costume and we would change off when it got tough. Suddenly Melissa's doing the turn and then I'm back dancing--and they didn't find it amusing.
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Q: One of the biggest reality TV stars these days is Heidi Montag from The Hills and that's been sort of a backlash about that and I'm just wondering what you think.
JR: Are you straight or gay?
Q: Straight. JR: Alright. What do you want to look at? A pretty woman. So shut up. You know what I'm saying? That's what America's about; beautiful women looking good. And she's in a business where you have to be a beautiful woman. Good for her. I was very upset that I didnt know the doctor that would do 11 procedures at one time. This really upset me.
Q: The film shows that you're incredibly hard working. So how do you feel about these reality television people getting instant fame?
JR: I think they'd better enjoy it. I think that a lot of them don't know that it's just five minutes of fame. And the ones that are complaining, who we always see on the red carpet--you want to say "You stupid ass. You are a lucky person; enjoy it now because five years from now no one's going to give a damn about you." They're all missing the point of how lucky they are.
Q: And your secret of longevity is?
JR: It says it in the movie: "Do anything." I'm only an actor? Excuse me? Do what you have to do if you love the business you're in. I'll do anything, as I say in the movie. And I mean it. My jewelry business; they came to me and said, "Do you want to do jewelry for QVC?," when everyone was laughing at television shopping. It was a joke--dead performers were going on there! And I said, "Sure, let's try it. Whats so terrible?" And look what it turned into; it turned into a legacy for me.
Q: Is there anything you've turned down?
JR: Looking back maybe I've turned down a script or something that was really terrible. But very seldom. Q: You were at the recent Miss USA pageant. What is your take on the controversy going on there?
JR: You mean because she was a pole dancer? Oh, so? Like all of us haven't danced on a pole at one time. Q: No, I mean that she is Arab American and people were making a fuss about that.
JR: I dont know. I dont think she's a Muslim. Her mother was in a dress that was so cut down I could tell you what color her underwear was. The mother was having a good time, she was having a good time. Ladies didn't come in burkas to congratulate her. Then I would have gotten very nervous. But they were hilarious. The girls that lost were crying and eating brownies because they knew they were out of the running. They were all in little bikinis stuffing their faces.
DP: How important is your legacy?
JR: You know something? Vincent van Gogh couldn't afford a potato and now his paintings are going for what, $100 million. I dont care. Truly.
DP: In the production notes it says you're on Hollywood's Walk of Fame? You don't care about that stuff? JR: I have my star there and I'm always saying "Clean off the dog doo." The Walk of Fame-- anybody gets that if they have a good PR person and pay for it. It's show business.
Q: What I thought the documentary showed is that you're a business woman, a mom, and the interesting parallels between celebrity and getting older. At the end of the day what's most important; being a performer or your relationship with your daughter?
JR: The truth; 50-50. Melissa, so smart, nailed it. She said it's another child. If I really had to choose between Melissa and my career, there's nothing to discuss, of course. But my career is my life. My daughter is on her own and she's launched and she's fine and my grandson is fine, and thank you, God, for all of this. But what sustains me every day, I get up in the morning and I have 11 people who are getting paid to listen to me.
Q: What about your grandson going into this business? What do you think of that?
JR: How many people have you interviewed that are no longer there? It's such a bad business. I would love him not to. If he could be the next so and so and he could do Home Alone 1, 2, and 3, and own a piece of it, then where do I put his makeup on? So I don't know. I want him to be Larry David; that to me is the ideal. Be a comedy writer and then go into it.
Q: Do you think maybe this wasnt' worth it all in the end? "Maybe I should have just been a writer and stayed outside or on the fringe of it?"
JR: No. It's so much fun to keep doing different things. Life is such an adventure. Dilettantism is fabulous. Do a little of this, a little of that; it's so good, all good.
Q: Would you ever do the red carpet again?
JR: Oh yeah. Let them ask me. They have asked me. What weve done with E!, which I love, they're letting us do the next day. Do you know how horrible it is to stand there and say "Audrey! You've never looked better!," and then the next day say, "Audrey shouldnt have worn that dress." It's so horrible. So now I don't have to say anything to anybody; we just do the Fashion Police the next day, so I can be so much more truthful. But they want us to go back on.
Q: Khloe Kardashian and Giuliana Rancic; how are they working out with you?
JR: Great. It was very difficult for them. They were doing Fashion Police together and then they shoved me in and said to the girls we're like a panel. And I thought this is going to really be difficult but they were both terrific. And we really like each other and really laugh when the cameras down so it worked out,. Thank you God, because Giuliana could have been very angry.
Q: Are you a fan of Sex and the City?
JR: I love Sex and the City on television.
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I think the girls have to be careful because it could be Sag in the City if they do one more. There go four more friends! I have no friends because the joke comes first. But I think it's such a good show. There are certain shows that always are good. Any Seinfeld--so brilliantly written. Sex and the City is always good. There are certain ones late at night you go friend, stop there.
Q: Is there a female around today that you love?
JR: I love Kathy Griffin because I know her struggle; it was a struggle for her to get where she is. I think shes just great. And Meryl Streep can do no wrong on stage. I saw her in the park in Mother Courage and I go, "I cant stand it, she's just great."
Q: You always give Wendy Williams your jewelry when you're on with her. You gave Wendy your earrings. JR: I gave her my hair extensions. I love her so. When they ask, You want to do Wen..?" Yes! I don't even wait for the second syllable.
Q: I wish they would let you do like a five-minute stint on her show every day.
JR: So why dont you tell her? She and I want to have a very fancy dinner party. I said to her well have finger bowls and only the two of us will have a good time.
Q: What are the Altoids for?
JR: Altoids are because when I have interviewed people close up all these years, many a time wished they had one. So I always make sure I have one. I always carry Altoids with me.
Q: To keep your energy level as high as we see it in the movie, what do you do for your daily workouts?
JR: I do a half an hour treadmill and a half an hour free weights.
Q: Are there things now, especially in light of making this movie, that you want to do?
JR: Oh, everything.
Q: What kinds of projects or media? Or your own website?
JR: Oh, I have my website, I do my blog, I do all that. I would love to do another late night talk show, which will never be offered to me.
Q: Why not?
JR: Because they look at you with a 10-year time frame; and they look at me and they think god knows where she's going to be in 10 years. That's number one. Number two, I have to constantly beat myself, I constantly have to top myself. Who is my biggest competitor? Me. "Oh Joan, she's funny. So I have to be better than that; you're no longer fresh." If I came in as Harriet Schwartz, a new housewife from Long Island, the world would be open to me. But I'm Joan Rivers who has been funny for 40 years.
Q: But Joan, look at Betty White.
JR: Exactly look at Betty White. How wonderful is that? That's what's giving me hope. If she dies now, that's really going to fuck me. I am so nervous that I'm sending her vitamins.
Q: So whats next for you, hosting Saturday Night Live?
JR: Sure. Lets start that rumor!

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