What I Learned from Joan Rivers

joan rivers coverWhat I Learned from Joan Rivers

If you’ve listened to my Do-Over! audiobook, you know I’m a sucker for gutsy, ballsy women like the ones I discovered here in Texas. Today I found another one, in Manhattan. I went to see “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” and just loved it. (Run, don’t walk, to the theatre.) Here’s what I took away from this portrait of the comic as a still-outrageous woman:

1. Follow your obsession
Even in such an impossible industry, Joan can’t ignore her call to the stage. “I have no choice,” she says.

2. Stake out your own territory

When warned by an early manager that she “didn’t want to go there”–talking about the taboo subject of abortion–she counters: “That’s exactly what we need to be talking about.”

3. Go where the action is
Joan’s agent paints an image of her as perpetually standing out in the rain, because she knows that’s where lightning strikes.

4. Take a breath, then start over again

As soon as her play goes bust, Joan is on to the next round of projects, looking for that lightning to strike.

5. Focus, focus, focus
Joan’s focus is “maniacal,” her agent says. Forget the three-year plan. She wants to know what’s doing this Monday.

6. Confront your hecklers
Joan doesn’t let anyone silence or diss her.

Further reading:
What I Learned from Arianna Huffington
What I Learned from Nancy Pelosi

0 Responses to What I Learned from Joan Rivers

  1. Marcela July 14, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    I liked Joan Rivers’ film but I felt it was a sad movie. I think that she and Michael Jackson are extreme reminders of the character & values of our western culture. How can we ignore the fact that Joan and Michael disfigure their faces to be accepted and loved? Sad, deeply disturbing if you think about it.

  2. Ann Daly July 20, 2010 at 9:43 am #

    Marcela, your point is well-taken. Joan Rivers is an extreme response to a culture that, at best, ignores older women and, at worst, reviles them.

  3. Joanne Wakelin March 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    I found this posting and some of the comments sad. I do not know much about Joan Rivers, but when I have seen her I found her funny, shamne to think there appears to be this terribly insecure aspect to her.

    However, if women keep altering themselves to please some societal stereotype -I don’t think it is men who are stupid.

    And if you are with a man or friends that needs you to do this – then you are with the wrong man or friends!

  4. Joanne Wakelin March 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    A further thought about Ann’s comment in response to Marcela’s – is this so true when you look at Nancy Pelosi and Martha Stewart – I don’t get a sense that they are reviled. (I’m a New Zealander and so am not fully au fait with the workings of American society).

  5. Ann Daly March 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    American culture has little use for older women, Joanne. It is sad.