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Off the Hook

September 7, 2010

I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking ~ Joan Rivers

Someone asked me if I have any comedic role models.

Um, yea. I have a few. Der.

1. Joan Rivers. Despite Queen “Can we talk?” Joan’s penchant for plastic surgery and some rather regrettable red carpet decisions, I still consider this outrageous chick as the reigning doyenne of sarcastic humor alive today. I remember watching her on Carson and was in awe of her quick-witted snipe. She’s brutally honest and most people can’t handle that, including Carson at the end. Baby.

Most of the guests couldn’t keep up or to be honest, didn’t know what had hit them. The only late night host in whom I see this same quality is Letterman. He can eviscerate a guest on the spot and they won’t figure it out until the next day in the papers (Joaquin Phoenix much?).

(Yes, I do love Chelsea Handler. She’s sharp and funny. But to be honest, I don’t love her as an interviewer. Yet.)

Before Rivers was the shiny, cold, hard plastic butt of jokes that she is today, she was the one making them—and we listened. Whether it was about her poor husband (may he rest in peace) Edgar, the women of New York, or Hollywood celebs (oh, that poor Liz Taylor), Joan delivered it all in a way so that you knew every joke would have a great punchline.

Rivers was (and remains) an equal opportunity offender and made no apologies for that.

She was never boring.

2. Kathy Griffin. I laugh when I hear people (usually holier than thou religious far-right types—hello, Elisabeth Hasselback, I’m talkin to you) tell me how offensive the Emmy-winning Griffin is. Um, have they ever listened to Eddie Murphy? Chris Rock? George Carlin (whom I adore) for god’s sake?

I think these folks are offended for mainly two reasons: she defends “her gays,” and she constantly makes fun of their poster boy for capitalism in America, Ryan Seacrest (oh, and that moral authority, Oprah). Sure, telling Jesus to suck it might not have been the best move, but wow, did it get her publicity.

Hey, I’m a Jew. We love her.

Yea, there is that tiny little thing about her foul mouth. So fucking what. It’s not like we haven’t heard it before. Lighten up, people. My guess is those same objectors laughed when George Carlin did his bit  The Seven Dirty Words.

But when a woman says them, it’s a whole different story. Perhaps it’s this sexism that is particularly bothersome to female comedians. I know it bugs the hell out of me.

What these two women have in common is that their voice is authentic. They don’t change who they are because society tells them to. What they find funny makes us laugh. And we laugh with them. They are not hugely successful and famous cause they are knockout gorgeous (despite ALL that plastic surgery). They are smart, funny women. They’ve experienced tragedy, stinging criticism, and downright prejudice (Don’t think so? Read their books.). But they’ve gotten back up. Every time.

Why? I think cause they know there are many of us out here who want to hear the funny. We guffaw and then whisper, “Did she really just say that!?” Which is great, cause now WE are off the hook. We can titter and laugh, and yet relate at the same time. They said it so we don’t have to. Let them take the heat. (“Bring it,” Griffin tells Hasselback on The View. I love it.)

As I write my tweets, Mancode posts and work on my book, I think often of these two ladies. I don’t worry if some schmuck thinks I’m going to end up alone cause I’m writing a humorous take on how I’ve traversed eighteen plus years of empty toilet paper rolls, Refrigeratoritis, and grocery stores trips where my guy swears the clerk only spoke wolf.

I’m writing my funny, so you can be off the hook.

Bring it.

Comments welcome, retweets loved. You should follow me on my blog here, on Facebook here, and on Twitter here so you can validate my existence as a writer. And stuff.

Check out Kathy Griffin’s website here. Hysterical. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook. There’s also an unflinching new documentary out about Rivers called “A Piece of Work” which should be very interesting. Here’s the NY Magazine article about it.

  1. Agreed. Although I saw Ms. Rivers at the airport 2 years ago and my eyeballs still haven't recovered…that sh*t is scary!

  2. I love Kathy!!! I really love her on the view take on that little twit!

  3. You know I love me some KG. Joan Rivers is HI-freakin'-larious, too. <3.

  4. Streetlights94 permalink

    While I don't really care for either woman (it's literally their voices, the voices hurt my ears…) I respect what they've done as women. Any woman who is able to gain as much fame and success, not to mention professional notoriety deserves respect. (Even if I don't like their voices. But I do appreciate their voice in the world.)

  5. I loved Joan back in the carson days! I actually used one of her jokes the other day when reffering to someone talking about someone else behind their back. (the two facelift joke)

    Following you blog.. I love funny!

  6. Yeah the sexism thing annoys me to – hence my blog title ;p

  7. I love both of those comedians! The only reason my husband and I watched Celebrity Apprentice was for Joan. He didn't even know what she was famous for! Silly boys. Anyway, I found your blog on bloggy moms, and I love it!

  8. LM Lawrence permalink

    Joan and Kathy are both very strong women. I love their take on the world. They worked their tails off to get where they are and they deserve it.

  9. Ya, sorry. Not a fan of either, but completely respect what they mean/meant to you 🙂

    Respecting your inspirations and then finding your own voice is a journey for all of us

    #andchocolate #lotsofchocolate 🙂

  10. I pretty much grew up on Joan Rivers. Loved her. I can't believe I don't know who Kathy Griffin is. I hang my head in shame.

  11. I love Kathy Fucking Griffin. She makes me wince while I laugh and I love that.

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