A Piece of Work opens with Joan Rivers’ famously surgically ravaged face being made up, intercut with footage of Joan forty years ago early in her career being lauded by fellow male comedians. It then cuts to Joan doing her recent comedy routine and in it she refers to her daughter’s pussy and calls her a cunt. Ladies and gentleman we are not dealing with a regular seventy five year old woman.
Joan begins the documentary at a lull in her career. She jokes that she can’t look at her diary without sunglasses on as the pages are too white and empty. Her agent says that she is too old and now seen as a “plastic surgery freak” who’s out of touch. In actual fact Joan is the woman who opened doors for a lot of women in comedy.
She first made her name on the Johnny Carson Show and since then she has done stand-up all over America, is a Tony nominated actress, a best-selling author, an Emmy Award-winning television talk show host, playwright, screenwriter, motion picture director, columnist, lecturer, syndicated radio host, jewelry designer and cosmetic company entrepreneur, red carpet fashion commentator and businesswoman. (And you thought you were busy?)
I was enthralled by the documentary and I think Joan is controversial, truthful and unapologetic, warm hearted and a true iconoclast; a woman to be hugely admired.
Joan is a workaholic. She works hard because she doesn’t want to live “carefully”. She would rather have a wonderful time, enjoy her creature comforts and spend spend spend. She is incredibly generous at the same time, supporting her friends and her employees’ children. She is proof that age is just a number; sure she has tried to stop time with surgery, but she also grafts, appreciates life every day, she has a will to succeed, her comedy is still very current and she is brimming with vitality.
I found myself experiencing a conversion as I watched the film; I have become a Joan Rivers fan! Hugely recommended.