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Joan Rivers: Can We Talk?

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Joan rivers career spanned nearly six decades she started with cabaret and off Broadway shows in the late fifties and then became a star of late night television hosting the tonight show and the late show with Joan rivers and eventually the daytime Joan rivers show in the nineties. She was best known for her comedic and sometimes mean-spirited interviews with celebrities on the Red Carpet John. Style was self deprecating abrasive. Everyone was fair game including herself. She charted new territory and comedy by telling stories from her own life combined with her willingness to talk about taboo subjects like hot flashes sagging bodies bad sex and marriage problems. You may have noticed that we borrowed our podcast. Name can talk from this hilarious. Talented and complex Jewish woman. Can we talk? Was Jones signature. Tagline sometime. She's it as a punchline. Sometimes it was a setup. It was an invitation to her audience. A signal that she was about to confide in them. Here's Joan on the show in the early. Nineteen Eighty S. I would not cheat. I would not cheek Maine because nobody asked me but I not because I think why we talk. I think my husband's spooner man okay. Which is very hard to save. I feel very close to you. I especially if you can. We talk was also Jones way of calling attention to her flaws and other people's her way of saying let's stop pretending and tell the truth here. Can we talk? Let me tell you something. The reason I have nothing happy the way I'm blessed is because I'm getting older at least seven very drop because Oh oh you don't know what it's like to get older too. You know what it's like to go in the morning to take facial mask and realize you're not wearing what so. Why did we borrow her? Tigon FOR OUR PODCAST. When we started the show Joan had recently died and we were all steeped in the debate about her role and her complicated legacy as brilliant and hilarious. But also crass and sometimes cruel. We love that. She had so many dimensions and that she believed in telling the truth about women's lives and expanding the range of models. We see all things we knew we wanted to do to. We also liked that. Can we talk was an invitation to our audience to join us in this project of storytelling and with that. Here's a wonderful interview from J W as archive recorded in two thousand six for our documentary. Jewish women in comedy making trouble. Joan talks about her early days at the Chicago. Comedy Clubs Second City being a woman on Johnny Carson's tonight show and playing midwestern clubs as New York Jewish comic later in the interview. She talks about going back to work after her husband's suicide in nineteen eighty seven. She starts by telling Interviewer Rachel. Talbot about a fight. She had with her parents over her decision to go into comedy. I left my house in pedal pushes enter old car that I used to drive and went to New York in speaking of the year and it was just awful and my dad wrote me a letter say that we are going to You'd better come home or we're going to have you committed. I was living in the bars on hotel for women and my dad wanted says and pulled me out. It was a scene. I think they ever forgot dragged me out. It was just horrible scene Harles. They just thought I was really life as though question about it. They just couldn't accept that. This is where I was going to end. This is all I could do so the I went back home and then I went away. Yeah it was just awful and then Pity yes that was great. Second City was very competitive. It was six of US thrown on stage. And it was make up your own lines and get your own scenes going and everybody wanted to be the star second city and everybody wants to get their stuff and so it wasn't like being gracious. It was like I got a better idea I wanted. It was very competitive and that was great too. I learnt in second city. You have to talk up and I learnt the freedom of you. Think it's funny try it. Don't wait don't think about it. I still do that if freed me. It taught me to be tough. It taught me to fight. If you thought you're Si was good you went into four four and a taught me co with your instinct. Only do what you truly think is going to be funny. It changed my life and then you you came back to New York Nissan. You learn so much from second cities are how had your comic persona change came. When I came back with second city I was myself onstage. Good bed or different. I was what I was and I was a divorced when no Jewish smart college graduate not particularly attractive girl on stage and I was telling you about my life. It wasn't about my mother-in-law was about what I'm going through my mother's hysterical because I'm single and I'm having an affair with a married man and my gay friends. What happen to my gay friends and it was all about truth. The first routine that really worked. I had a WIG hairpieces. I was driving into New York to perform at this club. And the WIG flew out of the window and a car drove over it and I said there I was walking on the west side highway. With a dead Wigan my arms had says firestone on and no one stops and all the truth and taking the truth and exaggerated and it just opened me up. I never went back. I never went back to. He's so fat that unless I really believe when did you find out Johnny Carson? Nothing in my career. I think that's why I was that you log come easily ever. I've never been the first on anything all my friends. And that time I was working the village with my George Carlin and Richard. Pryor all these wonderful men everybody got through everybody was on Carson and on Griffin and I was brought up seven different times to the Carson show. I was finally rejected by Secretary. Who is eating lunch while I was performing? I mean beyond humiliating. I got on because the night before some comic bom so they called me up and they said you can come on but not as a comedian. They had no faith in me. They brought me on as a girl writer and at the end of the show at the end of that night on air. Johnny Carson said to me you're going to be a star it was maisy and I look behind me. I couldn't believe and the next day. My life change changed overnight. They were getting all these calls and stuff. Was there ever a feeling of like? Oh you're to New York reports. I was doing costume regularly. I don't think it was hosting really I was you know the Golden Girl Carson and the ages come back and say you to New York to Jewish you to New York and my husband was married by that point. Ed You said this is ridiculous. He said picked the worst city in the country. And they said Milwaukee they still have been meetings. This is nine hundred seventy. There's still enclaves. They dress up Nazi uniforms and saw Adolf stand. He said center Milwaukee. And let's see and they sent me to Milwaukee and I was. They had to change the size of the room and put in the ballroom. Our I put originally in a little hotel the pfister in their little comedy room and they had to over the ball and put me in so that changed everything they said. Okay America will get her. I mean people begin to put little pockets and it's so stupid because funny is funny. You're minutes was using back on state. What was that decision? The decision was very simple. One I know money I had to go back to work. I didn't have the luxury of being the widow in the house on the hill so I had to go back to and nobody wanted me and Vegas gave me back my contracts. 'cause isn't nobody wants to see anybody that has that kind of you would just fired. would terrible glistening one out that. I was very hard to work with It was just all wrong all wrong. I was banned from late night. I've never been brought back ever not one late night show So I was really struggling my career and I had all these bills. Listen was in. It was just a bad time so I went back to little nightclubs. I said well I'll start again. I went back and started doing little like us and out of that came the red carpet

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