'Nothing is off-limits' for author Joan Rivers
Posted June 12, 2012
Hide your homely children from Joan Rivers. In her book I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me, Rivers riffs on cuteness-challenged offspring, haggard flight attendants, Alec Baldwin and steak tartare — which she actually almost orders for lunch, before settling on the grilled version.
Nothing about Rivers' tome is meant to be taken seriously: The cover blurbs were provided by Sylvia Plath, Marie Antoinette and Wilt Chamberlain, the latter of which got her in retail hot water.
"We've been banned from Costco, because on the book it says — I didn't want to give real quotes — Wilt Chamberlain says, 'Even if she was alive, I wouldn't (expletive) her.' Silly. Costco banned the book, the first comedy book ever banned by Costco," Rivers says with pride. "I'm a banned book. Isn't that great? I dedicated it to O.J. Simpson, and the Son of Sam, because he's single and likes animals. It's just silly and funny."
Rivers, 79, who's maternal and affectionate in person, gabbed with USA TODAY about family (daughter Melissa, 44, and grandson Cooper, 11, live in Los Angeles), fame and her lack of fear.
Q: What inspired the book?
A: I'm sick of political correctness. I'm sick of not being able to say this one's ugly, that one died of drugs. It's what you say to friends. You're sitting at home and say stuff like, "You have an ugly child, so don't put him on the Christmas card." It's just "hit everybody," which is so much fun. Nothing is off-limits. I thought, if it's funny, I'll write it. Billy Cosby told me, a long time ago, that if 1% of America thinks you're funny, you'll fill stadiums, so don't edit yourself.
Q: Do you write in bed?
A: I'm verbal. I literally talk into the tape recorder, and they take it off the tape recorder. And then I sit and edit and edit without a stop until they pull it away from me. At some point you have to say, "This is good enough."
Q: You really mock yourself as well, particularly your age.
A: Of course. Of course. My friends have one thing in common: their humor. All my friends get it. I go out at night and just laugh.
Q: Lady, between E!'sFashion Policeand your reality show Joan & Melissa, you seem tireless. What's your secret?
A: I love my job. I'm one of the lucky ones that got to make a living doing what they like. I'm making people laugh. I'm performing in two shows. I'm not tired. I'm so happy. How lucky did I get? You get to my age and you realize how lucky it is. I'm very aware of it. I live in New York but fly to L.A. for two days every week to tape (Police) and have dinner with Cooper.
Q: And I'm sure nothing fazes you any more, especially on red carpets.
A: The word "entitled" should be taken out of everyone's vocabulary. You're pretty. You go, "Calm down." You're a flight attendant who got lucky. (She asks this reporter:) Are you keeping notes for your book? I beg you. (Fashion photographer/diarist) Cecil Beaton said if you keep a diary when you're young, it will keep you when you're old. I love that. I've been fired. I've been broke. Nothing scares me.
Q: What's your life like when you're just hanging out?
A: My life consists of working, which I love, Melissa and Cooper — I'm very family — and theater. No man. This hotel is closed. I'm looking for a great older man, a gay guy — I need a great walker. Send me a tape. In the old days, it was great. You got married, you stayed together, you cheated. That was much better. You don't have to divide up the silver. Now everyone is getting divorced.
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