herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

If anybody proved that age was just a number, it was Joan

What the hell was an 81-year-old woman doing, being irreverent, relevant and funny, every single week?

Joan Rivers worked up to a few days before she died. I am confounded beyond belief that a woman in her 80s got to work, let alone was on the cutting edge of television.

Fashion Police is a show that went out on the E! channel. Joan, along with three others, analysed Hollywood celebrities and what they wore that week.

It was such a bold, provocative and often offensive show. Joan never held back on her opinion and often stepped over the line.

shock

She would not only comment on what someone was wearing, but would weave in political and personal jokes that would make the panel in the studio turn away in shock.

Her objective was to bring down someone's choices - the fashion choice and their lifestyle choice. Whether it was to mock a frock, or bash someone's behaviour, Rivers wasn't afraid.

And that is why this woman became a hit with the younger audience. She loved the fashion world and she was the first one to laugh at it.

The marriage of Joan Rivers and fashion began when she was asked to interview stars on the red carpet. She coined the phrase "Who are you wearing". She would grab celebrities on their way to the Oscars or the Emmys, and talk to them about their clothes, throwing in the odd joke here and there.

These interviews made the red carpet an event in itself, and hence came the red carpet shows - hours of interviews, where people at home could really see the lead up to the main event.

Joan Rivers knew celebrities were being given the big fashion label dresses for free - so she knew that she could be critical.

No-one was forking out the thousands of dollars. This was a business deal that was perfect for the picking apart.

After Joan Rivers died last week, I watched some of her stand up, going right back to an appearance on the Johnny Carson show in the mid 1960s. She was ballsy, self deprecating and cutting.

grafted

She appeared on his show again a few decades later and gave him a hard time because he never employed her as a writer.

This woman took no crap and grafted her whole life. For the filming of Fashion Police, her call time at the studio in LA was something stupid like 4am.

She would go through the scripts, get ready for the show and rehearse. And they would record at 9am. Every Friday night she would get on a plane back to New York.

She was 81 and she never stopped. What an inspiration.

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