Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)

There’s a moment late in Joan River’s somewhat biographical doc where she’s telling a random offensive joke at a comedy club, this time about Helen Keller. An irate audience member pipes up, “I have a deaf son,” and chastises the 75-year-old comic of legend for the offense. She goes into a defensive position and argues that it is the point of comedy to make life bearable, even the horrors and pains that we know no other means to suffer through. This awkward moment of clarity sums up Rivers’ life fairly well: tenacious, volatile, and genuine. She turns pain into inspiration. She’s fought long and hard to get where she is in the comedy world and she will have to be dragged away kicking and screaming. When fans compliment her on being influential, Rivers tiffs that she’s still influential and isn’t ceding her spotlight for any young female comics. The documentary follows Rivers on a upswing in her career, notably winning a 2009 edition of Celebrity Apprentice. But this woman will work any gig no matter how small. She fears that if she stops she’ll be forgotten. Part determination and part desperation, this standard documentary showcases the abrasive and dynamic personality of Joan Rivers (you even get to see that famously refined face without makeup).

Nate’s Grade: B


About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on December 19, 2010, in 2010 Movies and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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