Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In the midst of a Joan Rivers Renaissance

Out of the many old school comedians that are still with us and still getting on stage to strut their stuff,Joan Rivers continues to be the most outrageous of them all.

She's also giving James Brown a run for his money in the hardest working person in show business category,booking stand-up engagements nonstop while being the mainstay of E!'s Fashion Police,not to mention red carpet duty and various appearances on reality series including Joan & Melissa:Joan Knows Best?,which has it's finale tonight.

Joan's brazen zingers that spare no one,including herself,have set the stage for numerous others to take up where she leaves off. Women especially,such as Kathy Griffin,Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes and Roseanne Barr owe her a debt or two there:

Joan first became known to many of us as a main staple of late night comedy,where for a long time she was Johnny Carson's golden girl on the Tonight Show and the first woman to be appointed his regular guest host.

When given the chance to have her own competing program on Fox,however,Joan fell from Johnny's so-called good graces which made it even harder for her when the show didn't do well and wound up being canceled.

Despite that setback,Joan continued to move on and eventually made her way back to the forefront of entertainment by doing what she does best,snarking on celebrities. Just like the James Bond song,nobody does it as half as good as Joan:

So far,the closest that anyone has dared to come towards taking her seriously is the 2010 documentary Joan Rivers:A Piece of Work,which some thought might have been a contender for an Oscar nomination.

The film chronicles a year in Joan's life as she goes from one gig to the other but also gives her moments to reflect on her past as well as share her candid opinions on the present. There are portions of the movie where Joan's fierce facade slips off and lets her more vulnerable side peek out into the world,but not without a fight:

Speaking of other sides,complaints about Joan being hard to take are nothing new at this point and yet,do hold a little merit at times.

Her overindulgence in plastic surgery,her workaholic tendencies and lack of respect for personal boundaries(particularly with daughter Melissa,who has accompanied her mother on many reality show outings lately)are enough to test the patience of a multitude of saints.

A second season of Joan & Melissa has been picked up by the WE channel to premiere by January 2012,apparently proving that the series is getting good ratings,even if many of the viewers won't admit to watching it. I must confess that I've watched every episode with a mix of skeptical amusement about how "real" the family antics are and total shock at just how far Joan is willing to go for a bit:

Even with all of her over the top flaws,you can't help having a touch of admiration for Joan Rivers there. Her persistence in keeping her career going,despite the professional and personal obstacles placed in her way,and sharp wits that can still take on the top dogs in the comedy world with ease are worthy of respect alone.

How long Joan will able to keep this pace up is yet to be known but one thing is for sure-she'll make us laugh both with her and at ourselves along that rocky road towards the finish line.

That end promises to be far from viewing at this point,since we definitely haven't seen the last of Joan Rivers,not by a long shot:

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