September 16, 2014

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers

Source: Shutterstock

More than her jokes, her literally unapologetic punk rock attitude, or the fact that she directed (!) an admittedly deeply flawed satirical film about the world’s first pregnant man (!) in 1978 (!!), it’s Joan Rivers”€™ work ethic I admire most.

Our hours never overlapped, so I never had the chance to meet her when I worked at Canada’s version of QVC, and wouldn”€™t have had the nerve to approach her anyhow. Around the office, Rivers”€™ on-air sales shtick”€”a sort of Fagin pirate in drag, pawing at gaudy jewelry”€”made some queasy. Is it good for the Jews? was the unspoken but unmistakable question hanging in the heavily perfumed air.

I”€™m not qualified to answer that one for her. The best I can manage is a lame “€œLiving well is the best revenge,”€ and whatever your opinion of its Liberace-on-LSD décor, Rivers”€™ Manhattan penthouse with its live-in servants surely put the “€œwell”€ into “€œliving.”€

Yet, clearly, Joan Rivers was never satisfied with whatever “€œrevenge”€ she”€™d managed to achieve against Johnny Carson, her late husband, or whomever she”€™d ever rightly or wrongly resented. When I looked up her movie Rabbit Test to get the date right for this column, I found out about another, even lesser known effort of hers from 1973.

Called The Girl Most Likely To …, this now-forgotten TV-movie, written by Rivers, was about “€œa girl who gets plastic surgery, then starts wreaking revenge on anyone who treated her badly when she was ugly.”€

The tagline was: “€œThey treated her like a dog. Now she’s a fox. And she’s going to make them pay.”€


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