The comedian Joan Rivers has been working constantly for more than forty years. And a new documentary about her is worth seeing even if you're not one of her fans.
"Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" is a well made documentary that lets us look behind the foul mouth and all the plastic surgery of this eccentric entertainer who is obsessed with working.... even in her mid 70's.
The movie may not change your opinion of Joan Rivers, but it will help you understand who she is as a human being.
Her personal assistant says she won't turn down any work opportunity. "I'll do anything," Joan adds. "I'll wear a diaper."
The documentary shows that Rivers understands how other people see her. She says that for a while she was the "poster child" for plastic surgery. But now she's just its joke, and that doesn't really bother her, because she likes how she looks.
Her biggest fear is not having work, and she sees her age as her biggest obstacle. "Age is the one mountain you can't overcome," she says. Her husband committed suicide years ago, and her closest friends are dying off.
Rivers has a card file of 30 years worth of her jokes, and she says that her anger is what fuels her comedy. She hates that bad things happen to good people, and that she's very angry about that. She believes she wouldn't be a comedian if she weren't angry.
The filmmakers spent a year following Rivers, and they've managed to capture her insecurity and obsessions as well as her nasty humor.
I still don't like Joan Rivers very much, but after seeing this movie, I understand something about why she's so driven and so unhappy.