Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Joan Rivers of Babble on; Comedian Not Afraid to Speak Her Mind

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Joan Rivers of Babble on; Comedian Not Afraid to Speak Her Mind

Article excerpt

JOAN Rivers may not have floated everybody's boat.

She was a force of nature who spoke her mind with a glorious disregard for taste or diplomacy.

Everything about her screamed of showbiz: she doused stars in theatrical adoration as much as she splattered them with insults, gleefully pricking the pomposity of celebrity and lampooning the lunacy of Tinseltown while at the same time revelling in it.

Egotistical movie stars gliding up the red carpet in ill-advised garb, were soft targets.

But the public could be less forgiving of her humour when it hit out at subjects weightier than the glitterati.

Jokes about 9/11, the Holocaust and the Gaza conflict made America angry, but Rivers rarely made excuses for herself.

"Comedy is just to make people laugh," was her philosophy.

"I believe in humour to make life funnier. Life is very tough, and if you can make a joke to make it easier and funnier, do it, that's all."

Joan Alexandra Molinsky was born in 1933 in Brooklyn, the daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants.

She was educated at Connecticut College, then studied English literature and anthropology at Barnard College.

She performed with the college's dramatic society and after graduating in 1954 tried to find work as an actress while working as a tour guide and an advertising copywriter. She became a buyer for Bond Clothing Stores, at that time the most successful men's outfitters in New York.

She fell in love with the owner's son but the marriage lasted only six months, annulled on the grounds that he didn't want children but had failed to inform her of this.

She began performing stand-up comedy in the coffee houses of Greenwich Village alongside other hopefuls such as Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.

After seven gruelling years, during which she was repeatedly told she was too brash, too wild and too unladylike, on Cosby's recommendation she got a break performing on The Tonight Show, at that time hosted by Jack Paar. …

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