The Rivers Edge

By Bobbie Katz

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the showroom...

...along comes the “big fish” with the jaws that chew the fat with irreverence and unconventionality – Joan Rivers. Yes, her mouth opens and with one “bite,” she takes in everything from current events to life, culture and celebrities. And while its definitely best to just go with the flow, if you truly want to be prepared to catch all the over-the-top fun and laughter, you're definitely going to need a bigger boat, so to speak.

Rivers, who will be continuing her September 23-October 2 appearance at The Venetian, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, September 30-October 2, has been known to, in jest, swallow her “victims” whole. But it's all part and parcel of this internationally-known comedienne who, from the beginning, broke all the rules and has stayed in the mainstream of the entertainment arena for more than four decades.

Can we talk?

“I'm not afraid to say anything,” Rivers says. “That opens up lots of doors. I was always like that with my friends. But, looking back, it was much harder to break through in comedy because I was a woman and no one ever expected a woman to say the things I was saying. Now I have no boundaries – I'm free. Still, the public expects me to be funny. I'm no longer a surprise. For that reason, I always have to top myself so never, never, never do I let down.”

“I think comedians are all very introspective – and all of us are great depressives,” she adds. “But I look at things in two ways. You can either become more depressed or you can make a joke out of what depresses you, which is the way you get on top of it.”

Rivers explains that her signature above-mentioned phrase (“Can we talk?”) came about from her shaking things up and talking about things people didn't expect and sometimes don't want to admit to themselves. The comedienne expresses that what keeps her going at 77 is her love of the work and the business, which she notes is fun for her and not work at all. She loves all aspects of the process, from the creating to the writing and performing on stage.

“The challenge for me today is keeping the public aware of me,” the winner of Season Two of Celebrity Apprenticecontinues. “The last few years, with age, people have gotten used to me. Celebrity Apprentice re-established that I’m still here. I say this, not egotistically, but I truly believe that I'm the funniest person doing standup today.”

It's hard for the public not to be aware of Rivers who, besides being a seasoned performer, is also an Emmy Award-winning talk show host, a jewelry designer, best-selling author, fashion laureate, syndicated radio host, Tony-nominated actress, playwright, screenwriter, lecturer, motion picture director, columnist, cosmetic company entrepreneur, businesswoman – and a mother and grandmother, above all. In fact, when it comes to having things to do, it's keeping up with the Joan's that is the public's challenge.

Currently, Rivers is preparing for a new reality show called Joan Knows Best? that she will be doing with her daughter, Melissa, which will begin airing in January 2011.

“We do bicker a lot,” Rivers reveals. “I'm always saying things to her like, 'Why are you wearing that?' or 'Where's the good silver?' or 'You look nice but...' That's what mothers do. Melissa's always saying to me, 'I want to hear one sentence without a but in it.' “

“I probably have ADD because I continually want to do something else,” she adds about her eclectic career. “In my off time, however, my most glorious moments are getting into bed with a stack of books and doing nothing.”

On the personal side, Rivers says that she doesn't want to remarry but would just like someone to have dinner with. That has nothing to do with her future career aspirations, however. She still wants to do a serious movie, write another play, go back to Broadway, and do a sitcom If all this doesn't already answer the question of whether Rivers has any plans for retirement, we'll give it to you straight – her way.

Oh, grow up!!