“It’s also age. I could say anything. What are they gonna do? Fire me? Get on line!!!”
“You call me a ni**er? Yeah and I’m a kike. So you call me a kike, I’ll call you a ni**er. Now let’s have lunch. It’s so stupid! Everybody is something. Everybody is a wop or a chink…dumb polack….”
“Comedians are there to make you laugh. That’s it done.”
As part of our podcast sharing select archival episodes of Ron Bennington’s epic interview series Unmasked, this week we are going to one of the all-time greats, Joan Rivers, recorded in 2014, just two months before the surgical procedure that she never woke up from. It is a hilarious hour that is also captivating.
The Unmasked series which began in 2008 with a brilliant hour with Patrice O’Neal has taped nearly 200 episodes since, documenting the careers of the most interesting comedy writers, directors, filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, satirists, political comedians, comedic musicians and of course, stand up comedians in the business. It is a veritable archive of the greatest comedy of our time. Past Unmasked guests have included Bob Newhart, Amy Schumer, Dan Aykroyd, Simon Pegg, Tracy Morgan, Paul Feig, Jim Jefferies, Gilbert Gottfried, Bobcat Goldthwait, Louis C.K., David Brenner, Brian Regan, and over 150 more comedy greats.
When it comes to comedy, Joan Rivers absolutely belongs at the top of the pyramid. Three years ago, at the age of 81, we lost Joan, and much too soon, she had so much more left to do and tell. Just two months before she died, she sat down with Ron Bennington at the SiriusXM studios and showed no signs of slowing down. Joan had just released her last book, Diary of a Mad Diva, and talked about so many projects she was working on– drunk celebrity phone calls, In Bed with Joan on the internet, Fashion Police, stand up of course, plus she was working on a new book, and doing a stage show about Lenny Bruce’s mother at the National Theatre in Washington. She was a workhorse even at 81, and as sharp and funny as ever. She hated being called a legend because she felt that legend was something you called someone who was done, and she had a lot of plans. Now she’s a legend, and this hour, where she speaks about her career from the early days working with the greats in the Village in the 60’s, through everything happening that week is an hour no comedian or comedy fan should miss.
This hour is full of brilliant advice, incredible stories of feuds and friendships, Joan’s philosophies about life, comedy, and celebrity, and most of all, tons of laughs. Nothing mattered to Joan more than being funny, and she’s powerfully funny throughout the hour.
You will hear her talk about her refusal to apologize to anyone, her thoughts about many celebrities, good and bad including Kristen Stewart, Donald Trump, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, Lenny Bruce, Bill Cosby, Mary Tyler Moore, Johnny Carson, the Kardashians, Jerry Lewis, Lily Tomlin, Hillary Clinton, Adele and more. You’ll find out who she calls an “unfunny, lucky asshole”, why you don’t ever tell the wardrobe lady to fuck off, and why illegals are so great.
Joan talks about being banned from the Tonight Show by Johnny Carson, Jay Leno’s odd choice to continue the ban, and her emotional return decades later on Jimmy Fallon’s first night. She shares stories about hate, like the group that wanted to throw garbage at her, and ended up asking for photos with Joan, and you’ll hear about the celebrity who put out a hit on Joan. But maybe the best stories of the hour center around her coming up in the Village in the 60’s with Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby and David Brenner, and George Carlin, and Woody Allen and Lenny Bruce.
Joan’s philosophy and work ethic are both smart, and inspiring. Her cut-the-bullshit approach to life is something anyone can use whether you’re pursuing a career in entertainment, business or just drifting through life. Do not miss out on this hour. You’ll love it so much, you’ll want to hear it again and again.
Recorded on June 30, 2014 in New York City, this is Unmasked, from the Archives, with Joan Rivers and Ron Bennington.
Don’t use iTunes? Download the episode here.