Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Meet Joan Rivers
You don't have to be a huge fan of Joan Rivers to enjoy the 2010 documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, but it helps if you at least think she's sometimes extremely funny (I do). It also helps if you have a fascination with the lives and behind-the-scenes preparation of famous performers (again, I do). In any event, I enjoyed this succinct, entertaining film, recently out on DVD, and if you're any kind of documentary or biography fan, you might, too.
The three things in the movie that resonated the most with me were: 1) Learning that Ms. Rivers, like many famous performers, still drags along the insecurity of her earliest, hand-to-mouth period, often to the point of still worrying where her next meal is coming from, 2) Seeing that fame is hard work, with Joan constantly trying to come up with new gags, jokes, and observations to fill up her act, and 3) the well-chosen clips of her stage performances, which deliver the right balance of funny and revealing.
Between the above, all the old black-and-white TV clips of Joan breaking the comedic glass ceiling, and the fascinating juxtaposition of a woman who freely admits she needs to be surrounded by luxury yet spends considerable time delivering bags of food to the needy, you'll likely be as absorbed in the proceedings as I was. As the film's title testifies, Joan Rivers is indeed a piece of work, and one well worth visiting via this compelling little profile.