Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work


Joan Rivers is an iconic and ground-breaking comedian. She paved the way for women, such as, Chelsea Handler and Kathy Griffin. Joan is clever, quick-witted, and of course, funny. But this documentary exposes another Joan, a very likeable Joan, who has had more of her share of incredibly grand and poignantly tragic moments. She is unexpectedly honest, vulnerable, human and inexplicably relatable. The triumph of this documentary is that it reveals all of the highs and lows of an extremely fragile and yet incredibly strong woman.

Joan is a workaholic who refuses to retire or even step aside for the next generation of female comedians. She insists on still being counted in the game and won't concede her proverbial bat and ball and saunter slowly into the fading sunset. Rather she keeps fighting and she has more pluck than most women 50 years her junior. Joan confronts her age, her plastic surgery, her financial struggles and her late husband's suicide with candor and resolve. It isn't that this woman hasn't taken her licks and kicks (she has ten-fold), it's that she has been able to move forward with such tremendous willpower and purpose that it often goes unnoticed. Forget comedy, Joan should be an icon for persistence and determination.

The film features historic footage of Joan's big break on The Johnny Carson Show. It was Carson who prophetically said, "You're gonna be a star," and there was no turning back from that point forward. The documentary also highlights Joan's complex, yet loving, relationship with her daughter, Melissa, and other significant friends and players in the comedian's 75 year old life. It ends with her appearance on The Apprentice and a sudden rejuvenation in her career.

What is truly inspiring and motivating is Joan's ambition to keep going and her relentless pursuit of achieving new goals. This is a must see film for anyone who has ever thought of giving up, who ever thought life was becoming too rough, or for anyone who just needs to see the flip-side of tragedy; which of course is comedy. Joan Rivers has a monopoly on both -creating great comedy and getting through the really tough times.