Wednesday, January 12, 2011
It doesn't get much better. Or worse.
Saturday night Joan Rivers was in Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland where she did her stand up comedy. It's totally impossible to think of a comedian more outrageously judgmental than this queen of the zinger. She almost makes Ricky Gervais look like a choir boy.
For an hour and a half, 77-year old Joan Rivers told us about all the people she hates and despises: Lesbians, kids on airplanes, Victoria Beckham, Mel Gibson, cripples who slow everybody down, women suffering from breast cancer, dead people, beggars, Mother Teresa, The Three Wise Men, Jackie Kennedy, obesity, Oprah's ass, Chinese women, and men with balls that look like tea bags.
For reasons unknown to mankind, Joan Rivers appeared with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra at her show in Portland. "A sick and stupid idea," she told the audience. And it sure was. But it worked. No one wants to be offended for two and a half hours, but 75 minutes are a fucking delight!
By the way, when Joan Rivers was a small Jewish girl in New York, she wrote a letter to Hitler begging him to find a place for a classmate in his concentration camps.
She also makes important confessions: "Do you know why I love anal sex? Because you can do other things while your man is at it. You can read a book. You can check your email..."
Joan hates people with annoying disabilities as well: "Why do blind people need an apartment with a view? They can't even pay you a proper compliment like 'you look wonderful today'. Blind people are so self absorbed. It's all about them."
So was this show in poor taste?
Absolutely not. We all have a dark judgmental side in our heads that pop up when we don't feel well - a voice that tells us how irritating and disgusting other people are. So the show is actually an interesting and hilarious study of our dark side. It's only those self righteous people who identify with being 'all good' or 'true Christians' who will be extremely offended by a show like this.
People with self awareness are painfully aware of their own inner Joan Rivers - that gorgeous and angry sewer that most of us learn to control, so it doesn't do serious damage to our environment.
People who have read my novels or some of my blog entries won't be surprised that I love black humor.
Actually, I wish that Joan Rivers was a damn dwarf because then she could play Sorine in the film version of The Tsar's Dwarf. When I wrote the character in that novel, I was aware that I was channeling my own angry and judgmental side in (hopefully) a tragic, humorous and artistic way. And man, it felt good writing a character that was both honest, wicked and strangely adorable.
So is Joan Rivers.
I'm not sure I would want to invite her to my meditation group (she might tear off my chakras), but I'll continue to admire her honesty and comedy from afar...