Where is Joan when you need her?

Daugh­ter Melissa wishes co­me­dian was around to take aim at Trump, We­in­stein

Calgary Herald - - YOU - CELIA WALDEN

Joan Rivers Con­fi­den­tial Melissa Rivers and Scott Cur­rie Abrams

In the three years since Joan Rivers died, her daugh­ter Melissa has been trav­el­ling the world scat­ter­ing her mother’s ashes in all the key places. “She’s now in Paris, Mex­ico and Wy­oming,” says the 49-year-old au­thor and pro­ducer, sit­ting in her ocean view Los An­ge­les home sur­rounded by photos of her mother.

The leg­endary Brook­lyn-born ac­tress and co­me­dian — who died in 2014 from com­pli­ca­tions af­ter throat surgery — “is in Lon­don, too,” Rivers says. “I’ve scat­tered her ashes in the lobby of The Ritz, in The Wolse­ley and a lit­tle bit in Harry’s Bar.”

In her wit, her eyes and her de­liv­ery, Rivers is un­can­nily like her mother. Lit­tle won­der, when you con­sider how close the two women were: how they grieved the loss of Melissa’s fa­ther, Edgar Rosen­berg, to­gether when Joan’s hus­band of 22 years died by sui­cide in 1987, ripped apart celebri­ties’ red car­pet dresses to­gether on their Fash­ion Po­lice TV show, took joy in Melissa’s son, Cooper, and shared a life­time of laugh­ter right up un­til Joan’s death.

“Even now,” Rivers says, “it’s not like her voice is ever not there. Peo­ple say to me: ‘Do you hear your mom in your head?’ And I’m think­ing: ‘Prob­a­bly more than I want to.’ Just this morn­ing she was there shout­ing: ‘F--- ’em’!”

The truth is Rivers has been do­ing all she can to keep her mother’s voice as loud and brash as ever.

To that end, she is pub­lish­ing Joan Rivers Con­fi­den­tial, a cof­fee ta­ble-style “scrap­book” with many of the fun­ni­est mono­logues, let­ters and never-be­fore-heard jokes her mother had amassed over the years.

The newly re­leased book re­minds you just how out­ra­geously funny her mother was.

“She be­came such a fem­i­nist icon,” her daugh­ter says, “but Mom never thought of her­self as a fem­i­nist.”

Per­haps the big­gest rev­e­la­tion in the book is that the woman so quick to skewer she be­came known as the “comic stiletto” hated to up­set peo­ple. “Mom was never out to hurt any­one, and ac­tu­ally very few peo­ple got an­gry. Even Elizabeth Tay­lor loved her ... in the end.”

Ah, yes: I was go­ing to ask about Don­ald Trump. He and her mother be­came friendly af­ter she won Celebrity Ap­pren­tice in 2009, but could she ever have imag­ined he’d be­come U.S. pres­i­dent?

“Hon­estly, I think she’d be so torn be­tween be­ing in­vited to the White House and be­ing able to steal things, which she loved to do — whether it was pock­et­ing an ash­tray or some pens — and what she felt was morally right. That would have been So­phie’s Choice for my mother.”

But would she have voted for Trump? “I think she would have wanted some­one who didn’t have to prove he had the big­gest one in the room.”

That old-boys’ club cul­ture of in­tim­i­da­tion has been blown wide open in Hol­ly­wood in re­cent weeks, and although nei­ther Rivers nor her mother knew Har­vey We­in­stein well, Joan — who started act­ing in her teens — had warned her daugh­ter about the cast­ing couch.

“There were a few times when she had felt ex­tremely un­com­fort­able with men and didn’t want to be alone with them,” Melissa says. “‘Most pow­er­ful men are pigs,’ she told me, ‘and it sucks and it’s wrong and you don’t have to take it, but be aware that it hap­pens.’ Sadly, this is a tale that’s as old as time, and re­ally no dif­fer­ent to Louis B Mayer and Jack Warner chas­ing women around the desk,” she would say.

“But Mom would have been ap­palled that this had been go­ing on for so long with­out any­body say­ing a thing. She would also have had a whole fil­ing cabi­net ded­i­cated to Har­vey We­in­stein jokes by now.”

Rivers’ ex­pres­sion has gone from sad­ness to anger and frus­tra­tion.

“The first year with­out Mom was a blur, the sec­ond was when I re­al­ized it was real, and now I do just feel this bit­ter­sweet frus­tra­tion: Why are you not here to make jokes about my son as a teenager and Trump and Har­vey?

“Be­cause, by the way, she would be in heaven right now. Heaven.”


De­spite her take-no-pris­on­ers style and rep­u­ta­tion, co­me­dian Joan Rivers, left, did not like to up­set other celebri­ties, re­calls her daugh­ter Melissa Rivers. The younger Rivers has just re­leased a cof­fee ta­ble-style book to hon­our her mother’s mem­ory.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.