Joan Rivers, A Tribute

“Comic genius, legend, diva, icon, trailblazer and one of the best and funniest friends the gay community has ever had”

As the tributes come flowing in on the sad death of Joan Rivers comic genius, legend, diva, icon, trailblazer and one of the best and funniest friends the gay community has ever had, we have decided to reproduce our review one of The Gay UK’s most favorite movies of this Grande Dame. I had the pleasure of being at its Sundance Premiere in 2010 where it had been reported that Joan was not happy with the way that the movie portrayed her as a friendless figure. As the final credits rolled the audience unanimously gave it a rapturous standing ovation, the same reception it received when the movie played world wide, especially in front of gay audiences. Joan loved that we loved it, but then what’s not to love.

The opening shots of “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” are of an extreme close up of Joan’s face, without makeup first thing in the morning. This so succinctly sets the tone for this exhilarating bare-all movie that documents a roller-coaster year in the life of this comedic tour-de-force. Joan allowed the filmmakers complete access into her world, letting the cameras capture her numerous failures and joyous successes.

The result is one of the most wonderfully truthful and funny documentaries about a show business legend that we may ever see.

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Here is Joan at 75 (as she continually reminds us) and she has not lost one ounce of her energy and vitality. Though she is as we expect, blisteringly funny, we see the depth of her ability to laugh at herself and also discover her relentless work ethic, her vulnerability and her compassion. As we have learnt from her stand-up, absolutely no topic is sacred even when she is being serious, and she is completely upfront about everything from her marriage, daughter Melissa, to her fall out with Johnny Carson and eventual blacklisting from NBC, and naturally her plastic surgery.

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If you admire Joan’s work, then you’ll end up really liking the woman too, and if you are already a fan, then you will positively love her after this endearing movie. Totally unmissable!

About the author: Roger Walker-Dack
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