Joan Rivers Is Finally Getting the Hollywood Attention She Deserves in Grammy Museum’s New Exhibit


Photo: Timothy White, Courtesy of E! Networks

When you hear the name Joan Rivers, chances are your first thoughts are of Fashion Police, the E! show originally hosted by her that turned red carpet commentary into TV entertainment. And though Rivers did revolutionize awards show fashion with her critical and controversial sense of humor, Fashion Police (and its precursor, Live from the Red Carpet) was one of the last stops on her 50-plus year career in the entertainment industry. In this vein, the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles is opening the exhibit Joan Rivers: Can We Talk today (it’s also her birthday) to pay homage to Rivers’ career, from her infamous 1965 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to her 2014 book, Diary of a Mad Diva.

Long before Joan Rivers brought her brash commentary to the red carpet, she established herself as a pioneer in female comedy. She got her start doing stand-up in 1960s Greenwich Village clubs, and she first introduced the world to her particular brand of sharp wit when her mentor Johnny Carson invited her to perform on his show in 1965. She spent much of the next decade doing stand-up and appearing on various television shows, including a regular spot as Carson’s guest host. In the latter half of the 1980s, she became her friend’s on-air competitor when she became the first female comedian with a late-night talk show, The Late Show With Joan Rivers. The show’s ill-fated run didn’t stop Rivers from making a name for herself; she moved to daytime with The Joan Rivers Show, for which she earned an Emmy in 1990.

joan-rivers-can-we-talkPhoto: Charles William Bush

Anyone in tune with pop culture can attest that after Rivers died in September 2014, the internet blew up with video clips of her comedic appearances from the 1960s through the 80s. Her tragic death and the media attention surrounding it made the younger, so-called millennial generation, aware of Rivers as a trailblazing late-night comic. She was no longer just that lady on the red carpet with a lot of snark. Brian Edwards, Rivers’ longtime family friend and producer of Joan Rivers: Can We Talk, took the Grammy Museum project on to continue her legacy while building awareness on her career. “The older generations have watched Joan transition from comic to writer to producer, but the younger generation identifies her with Fashion Police. I want to bridge the gap,” he explained.

The exhibit is part of the Grammy Museum’s continuing series that spotlights great comedic performers. It displays artifacts from every part of her career, including her recent 2014 Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording. Rivers had signed on to do the exhibit last summer, and after she died, her daughter Melissa gave the blessing to continue the project.

Her legacy is important now more than ever in the male-dominated arena of comedy. As The Hollywood Reporter’s comedy actress roundtable shed light on a few weeks ago, sexism is rampant in the business of making people laugh. Women are fighting back, and every couple of months, a new female comedian rises to the top of our trending news feeds, whether it’s a Mindy Kaling tweet, Amy Schumer quote, or Broad City video clip. There’s a whole crop of female comics who came before them, like Ellen DeGeneres and Roseanne Barr, but before them, it was Joan Rivers. “Joan was an inspirational part of show business and pop culture,” said Edwards. “She was the queen of comedy… she led the way, and I hope people take away from this exhibit an appreciation for all that she accomplished.”

The exhibit will be on display on the Grammy Museum’s third floor through September 20, 2015. Learn more about it here, and check out a clip of early Rivers below.

5 Major Joan Rivers Moments: Remembering an Icon

Photo: Neil Rasmus/

After watching last night’s Fashion Police, recently re-cast with Kathy Griffin replacing Joan Rivers, we were only reminded of how great Joan Rivers was. She always said what we were thinking and it was the last show that she had done before she passed away on September 4, 2014. Joan Rivers, you were the funniest woman alive and also the most brilliant female, always ahead of her time.

Photo: Joe Schildhorn/


Joan Rivers, after being banned from the Tonight Show for decades, appears on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
It wasn’t until 25 years after she was banned that she had returned to the Tonight Show. Joan cracks a wonderful joke about vagina rings, curious to know how Bruce Jenner’s is. She confesses her love for Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy flashes a photograph of her second time appearing on Tonight Show. The ban from television is briefly touched upon. It’s hysterical when she talks about her “dry vagina”. You have to watch this.


Joan Rivers smokes some purple kush.
Melissa Rivers is a bit confused when Joan, her mother, arrives home. “Are you stoned?” she asks. Joan just can’t stop laughing and it’s quite obvious that, yes, she’s very stoned.  I love how she smoked in the car. Um, hotbox?


Photo: David X Prutting/

Speaking of sex tapes…Joan interviewed Kris Jenner in her bed on her incredibly viral internet series titled In Bed With Joan.
In Bed with Joan is like the casual talk show Joan aired on the internet that featured current stars. It was hysterical too. This interview featuring Kris Jenner happened in November 2013. In it, Kris gulps some wine and talks show business, family, that infamous sex tape, and being a “momager”. The video starts with Kris Jenner stating, “I’m about to get in bed with Joan Rivers and I don’t really have a reason why except I really want to check the thread count. It’s all about the sheets!” Here are two women on the E! Network that have powerful empires.


That Daytime Emmy Award she won in 1990…I cried.
If you’ve never watched Joan Rivers’ Emmy Award win you might just find yourself very moved. Backstory: her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, then producer of her short-lived Tonight Show on Fox, had committed suicide in Philadelphia just few years before the win. In her speech, Joan describes how little work she went through and how hard the last two years had been for her. She also dedicated the award to her daughter Melissa (then 35) and Edgar, as she stood strong before the industry and committed to her work. This was a true achievement for Joan Rivers.


Joan loved Israel! TMZ captured a remarkable New York/New Jersey analogy in regards to the conflict
Joan Rivers spoke in regard to the Israel-Palestinian conflict outside an airport to a TMZ reporter. Her analogy of the issue was New York and New Jersey. “Let me just tell you. If New Jersey was firing rockets into New York. We’d wipe them out,” she proclaimed. “Don’t you dare put weapon stashes in private homes,” she says. The ignorant reporter asked, “How do you resolve it?” Joan replies, “What are you supposed to? I wish the world would know. Everybody stop it already!” The best part? In response to the reporter telling her Selena Gomez tweeted a Pro-Gaza tweet, Joan exclaims “Ohhh Selena Gomez! Oh, that college grad. Let’s see if she can spell Palestinian.” Then, Joan walks away. Such bite, such honesty! LOVE.


Photo: Carly Otness/

Linkage: Lady Gaga vs. The Osbournes, Robert Pattinson’s Underwear Modeling Days

When I first heard that Lady Gaga and Kelly Osbourne were in the middle of some feud, I thought, “Oh, over which has the worst hair color?” It turns out that it all has something to do with Osbourne’s association with Fashion Police, the Joan Rivers-hosted show on which Osbourne is a panelist. Osbourne revealed to Fabulous Magazine (catchy title, btw) that she was cyber-bullied by Gaga’s Little Monsters on Twitter. This led to Lady Gaga publishing an open letter, which incited Sharon Osbourne to write her own open letter. Here’s an open letter to all three: STFU. [People]

Yesterday we found out that Destiny’s Child would be releasing new music this year. Today it was confirmed that the trio will be performing together at the Super Bowl. Of course, this is Beyoncé’s world—we’re just living in it. (That goes for you, too, Kelly and Michelle.) The non-Beyoncés will join Our Queen onstage for a quick medley of Destiny’s Child tunes, including their new song “Nuclear.” [Us]

Did you know that Robert Pattinson was once an underwear model for a Chinese magazine? Did you also know that Robert Pattison used to look like a femme kd lang? [The Gloss]

Anne Hathaway won a Critics’ Choice Award, one of the many accolades for her Oscar-nominated performance as Fantine in Les Misérables (tough break, Sally Field). And then she pointed out how stupid they were for spelling her name “Ann.” [Jezebel]

Girls comes back on Sunday. How many semen-involved disasters will there be? [Hypervocal]

David Lynchheads better head to this makeshift Pink Lounge for the second annual Miss Twin Peaks Pageant. Who will be the sexiest Log Lady? [Gothamist]

It seems like every trailer could possibly be set to a song by The National, so why not Game of Thrones? [Indiewire]

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Joan Rivers Promotes Showtime Comedy Special By Blasting Showtime as “Drunk,” “Bipolar”

Joan Rivers knows exactly what she’s doing with this "PR" thing.

Don’t Start With Me, Rivers’ comedy special on Showtime, aired on Thursday night and is now running repeats. If this is the first you’ve heard of it, then I’m not alone: she’s now blasting Showtime on The Huffington Post for ordering her to stop promoting the special.

"I think it’s the best I have ever recorded," she told HuffPost. "Showtime were great, said do whatever you want. Pick any city you want, I picked Chicago. I adore Chicago. I haven’t played for four years. The feedback was great and then I noticed it was airing and I had done nothing to promote it." Rivers began booking promotional TV interviews herself. 

But then Showtime, inexplicably, told her to cut it out, Rivers claims. 

"Showtime sent me a cease and desist letter telling me they didn’t want me to promote it,” Rivers said. “The first time in 60 years that a network said shut the f*** up. I’m talking to you wearing mask! I think they are all crazy. They don’t know what the f*** to do. … They are all drunk over at Showtime. I think they are all bipolar. I don’t care, but the sad thing is they are blowing every opportunity."

Aw, come on, Joan. After 50+ years in the business, you should know that PR people are, as a rule, terrible at PR.

What gives, Showtime? Stop putting all your eggs in the Homeland basket and show Joan Rivers some respect.

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Joan Rivers Gets The Attention She’s Looking For With Costco Nazi Comments

Joan Rivers knows how to drum up free promotion, that’s for sure. Her latest stunt has been a war of words with the Anti-Defamation League after she compared Costco to Nazi Germany for refusing to sell her new book.

Costoco passed on selling Rivers’ book I Hate Everything…Starting With Me! because naughty language on the back cover might make their customers’ eyes bleed. Naturally, Rivers responded by handcuffing herself, whilst holding a bullhorn, to a shopping cart outside Costco’s Burbank outpost. There she told news station KTLA, "It’s about First Amendment rights. This is the beginning of Nazi Germany."

That comment didn’t sit well with the ADL a civil rights organization primarily focused on anti-Semitism. National director Abraham Foxman, himself a Holocaust survivor, issued a finger-wagging statement reading:

"While Joan Rivers may be right in criticizing Costco’s decision, there is simply no comparison between a private company’s choice not to sell a book and the policies of the Nazi regime that engaged in the systematic persecution of Jews and others during the Holocaust."

Foxman further huffed that Rivers’ comparison "only serve[d] to trivialize the Holocaust" and called it "deeply offensive to Jews and other survivors."

Joan Rivers, who is Jewish and whose husband lost family members in the Holocaust, replied via TMZ, "Shut the fuck up."

Your move, ADL.

Afternoon Links: Bey and Jay Are Trademarking ‘Blue Ivy’, Lana Del Rey Debuts At No. 2

● Beyoncé and Jay-Z are filing quickly for trademark of their baby’s name, Blue Ivy, because two other people have already tried to do the same. [WP]

● The counts are in and it looks Lana Del Rey’s much buzzed about Born To Die has landed at the number two spot on the SoundScan, having sold a respectable 77,000 units in its debut week. Adele’s 21 remains impeachable. [MTV]

● 70 some odd movies and $500,000 dollars of debt later, poor Gary Busey has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. [TMZ]

● For her latest project, "Venus," Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano gave some of art history’s most celebrated nudes the Condé Nast treatment — photoshop a little off the upper arm, soften up the bosom, and voila! Oh how the times have changed. [Flavorwire]

● Joan Rivers isn’t buying Madonna’s "trademark" glove. "She’s not picking up the glove from Michael Jackson, she’s trying to hide those wrinkly old hands," says the woman who has had a rumored 739 plastic surgeries. "Believe me, you can hide a lot of things, but the hands always give it away." [PopEater]

● As per her tour rider, M.I.A. won’t go on unless three women in full burqas and high speed internet are provided. [SmokingGun]

Joan Rivers Gets High as Hell for Reality Show

Joan Rivers is the best, because she’s brash and hilarious and plainly doesn’t give a crap what anyone thinks about her as she continues to work her ass off well into a storied comedic career. But legends need relief, too: on last night’s episode of Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best, she gets stressed out because her daughter’s boyfriend’s parents are in town, and she doesn’t know how to properly deal with them. Coming to the rescue, her friend Lynne suggests the only appropriate cure: medicinal marijuana. Perhaps motivated by the reality cameras behind them, the two ladies get to a dispensary to score before parking somewhere and sparking tree. The clip, which you can watch after the jump, is amazing.

"I’ve got to eat something," Joan says with total awareness. Too baked to drive, they call her daughter, Melissa, to come pick them up. Melissa promptly freaks out because her mom can’t stop babbling about how nice her hair is. "My 78-year old mother has become 17, and I’ve become a soccer mom yelling at her teenage kids," she whines in a confessional. "You’re so bitchy!" Joan cackles as Melissa shuffles them into an SUV. But I don’t want to spoil all of it, because the video is only ten minutes long and you should watch it now. Just know that eventually, Joan starts drinking water out of her shoe, after she’s gotten into a hot tub with all of her clothes on. Viva Joan forever.

Morning Links: Snooki Officially a Best-Selling Author, Ricky Gervais to Cameo on ‘The Office’

● OMG! The New York Times‘s new best selling author, Snooki, loves you. [Twitter] ● Having been banned from Fox & Friends after suggesting Sarah Palin is “just a stupid threat,” Joan Rivers thinks Fox can “go fuck themselves.” [PopEater] ● Terminally shy Jenni Farley, Jersey Shore‘s JWoww, won a court battle to prevent her ex from distributing nude photos taken of her while under anesthesia. [TMZ]

● Role model Kim Kardashian took to her blog to offer counsel to a younger generation: “The kids from these shows are all over the news, even on the covers of magazines, and have been [sic] become almost like celebrities, but girls, these are not people you should idolize!” Really, girls, it’s all about making a sex tape. [Celebuzz] ● Reports yesterday suggested that Jon Gosselin might be settling back into reality, taking a 9-to-5 job working sales with eco-consultants Global Green Property Services. But this morning it’s rumored that he’s already quit, citing “kids that need him.” [HuffPo] ● Perhaps seeking a more welcoming platform for his jokes, Ricky Gervais is set to cameo on the US Version of The Office. [NYMag]

Joan Rivers’ Closet Confessions

The Joan Rivers edition in Bluefly’s video series, Closet Confessions, was recently released, and Joan does not disappoint. She gives Bluefly a tour of her fabulous wardrobe, gushes and jokes about her favorite designer Valentino—”I just had dinner with Valentino. I was wearing his jacket and he was delighted to see it, but never once from that Italian mouth came out, ‘You must buy me wholesale'”—and, of course, takes some jabs at various celebrities.

Watch Joan’s Closet Confessions here.