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.

Sarah Silverman Once Got Punched In The Face Defending The Pluck U Chicken

Whether this story about Sarah Silverman getting punched in the face by the New Jersey scum while defending the Pluck U chicken almost doesn’t matter, because it is awesome.

Silverman was promoting the kids’ flick Wreck-It Ralph in the UK’s Guardian and somehow got to talking about the three different times she’s been punched in the face: once at Comic-Con by a man wearing a Hulk fist, once by Ryan Phillipe while filming a movie scene, and once while defending the guy dressed up like the Pluck U chicken from getting beaten up.

She explains, I hope truthfully:

I used to pass out flyers on the corner of 3rd and MacDougal in New York City for a comedy club from 4pm to 2am. I was sharing the corner with the Pluck U Chicken, who was this young, Asian student in a chicken suit. He was a sweetheart. The scariest people in New York City are the bridge and tunnel beer-drinking teens, and one night they started pushing him around and I got in between them, not out of heroism, it just didn’t occur to me in a million years one would hurt precious me. Some guy punched me square in the temple and knocked me unconscious.

You’ll be happy to hear the other punching incidents weren’t quite so dangerous: ComicCon dude got dragged away by security, while Phillipe only left an "egg" on her jaw.

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Fox News Suddenly Full of Comedy and Hot Chicks Experts

Tired of wondering if women can be funny? Well, here’s a question for you: can funny women be hot? According to Fox News, they can–and they should be.

While funny dudes have historically ruled the comedy scene, they’ve also populated it with fat and disgusting guys, which are total boner-killers. Luckily, there’s a new group of women who are entering the ring and showing off their hilarious and funny bodies! Because in the world of jokes, abs are just as important as punch-lines. So who are these new comediennes that Fox News purports to be the next wave of comedy?

Anna Faris, Mila Kunis and Olivia Munn all combine funny bones with bangin’ bodies. Joining the lineup is Carrie Keagan, host of VH1’s ultra-edgy morning entertainment show “Big Morning Buzz,” which returns for a second season live from Times Square on Monday.

Hmmm, really? So, two actresses and two women who have hosted TV shows? Why, the tides certainly are turning, huh?

“For women, frump isn’t funny any longer. The new female comedian has to be the sexual aggressor, sexually provocative, dominant and successful,” says entertainment expert Patrick Wanis. “Hollywood is now portraying women as the dominant force – the boss, the rescuer, the heroine, the hunter. Now women are being sexually provocative and sexually aggressive, rude and funny without the femininity or the class. Lucille Ball would never have played the aggressive, domineering nymphomaniac that Jennifer Aniston portrayed in ‘Horrible Bosses.’”

Man, remember how TOTALLY FRUMPY Jennifer Aniston used to be on Friends, along with those total dogs Lisa Kudrow and Courtney Cox? And hey, after decades of so many unsexy, gross comic actresses like Mary Tyler Moore, Loni Anderson, Shelly Long, Cybill Shepherd, Marilu Henner, Christina Applegate, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler (please, let that be all of the names I list, because I’m ready to VOMIT just thinking of those awful, unattractive women!) who were never aggressive or sexually provocative, we should all be so thankful that we can finally get some pretty ladies on TV. Phew, all of our problems with women in comedy are SOLVED. Thanks, entertainment expert Patrick Wanis, for putting your career as Hulk Hogan’s life coach on hold long enough to show that we’ve finally rectified all of the wrongs that Lucille Ball committed when she didn’t make jokes about her vagina and dared to wear full-length dresses.