Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Wed­nes­day, 9.30pm, ABC2 Dear Joan Rivers, you are one of the fun­ni­est women on the planet. At 79 years of age, you re­cently ap­peared on The Gra­ham Nor­ton Show. You were sen­sa­tional. But the point of this fea­ture-length doc­u­men­tary is to show how you are put to­gether, how you be­came that con­tentious thing, A Piece of Work. And there is some­thing uned­i­fy­ing about it. Sure, it is fas­ci­nat­ing to see how even af­ter all th­ese years you go to pieces at the sight of a blank page in your di­ary. We fol­low you in this doc­u­men­tary for an en­tire year, dur­ing which you turn 75. At the be­gin­ning we see make-up be­ing trow­elled on to your brave face. On top of the many surg­eries you have mined for comic gold for decades, the re­sult is eerily youth­ful. Iron­i­cally, we get to see your in­ner pixie, the eter­nal child be­hind the adult out­rage, the foul lan­guage and the bitchy hu­mour. We see you give an ex­haust­ing per­for­mance and get a stand­ing ova­tion. But in spite of all the well-wish­ers who line up to get your au­to­graph later, and the protes­ta­tions of your crew who say you’ve never been bet­ter, all you really care about is what’s go­ing to be in the press the next day. Damn the crit­ics, Joan. We see your har­ried as­sis­tants cop­ing with your de­mands. We see that, in keep­ing with your name, a river of in­se­cu­rity runs through you, driv­ing you re­lent­lessly for­ward. I pre­ferred it when I thought you just turned up with a lively mind and a gag list as long as an old man’s beard. There are things in the night that are bet­ter not to be­hold. Per­haps the true life of a co­me­dian is one of them.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.