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Gay Times August 08 - Issue 359

Joan Rivers - In The Know

The coruscating, jewellery-flogging, surgery-enhanced comedienne nip/ tucks with the best

The turning 75 thing is just a publicity stunt. I couldn’t care less about ageing. I don’t feel it, look it or think it. I wake up in the morning; there are no aches or pains. Nothing encumbers me.
I take every vitamin known to mankind. All those people who say, “It’s just expensive urine,” are wrong.
Drugs are stupid. I once almost did mushrooms with Elvis, but he ate them.
I don’t like to be out of control. You have to be in control on stage to have fun.
Naomi Campbell... It’s fabulous she slaps people. It’s so Edwardian. She is a diva. She’ll never have an ulcer.
I am not a diva. Divas don’t clear up after dogs. I have three assistants and I’ve done inhumane things to them, but they’ve been here for 10 and 17 years, so they must like the abuse.
I’m a poster girl for plastic surgery, but I haven’t had that much work. I’ve had two full facelifts, my nose was thinned and I’ve been Botoxed to death. Society is all about looking good. If you can afford liposuction or having the spots on your hand removed, go ahead.
Grow old naturally? Do it and watch how many people ignore you at parties.
I will have more work done, probably. I’m sure my chin will get droopy and my jowls... Every time I lie down I think they’ll cover me with a sheet and say, “Goodnight grandma.”
I’m friends with Nancy Reagan, but I’m very non-political. She’s funny, charismatic. she loves to gossip and she’s smart. Were they anti-gay? Anti-people with Aids? Everyone was scared of it in the 80s. I remember visiting a friend dying of Aids, and the gay man I was with wouldn’t touch my friend’s doorbell.
Gay marriage: so now you want to go through the same shit we go through. Of course there should be equality. You can have the same heartbreak, the same benefits.
Two friends in Devon were among the first gay guys to get married in the UK. I was pissed. They’d been together for 14 years, and suddenly I had to buy them a gift.
I love every single minute of my life. There are demons and sadnesses that stalk me, but I won’t allow it. I tell myself to get on with it. So you gained 8lb? So you’ll lose it, you big, fat pig.
I’ve been selling jewellery for 18 years very successfully on TV. It’s insane that, in America, I can hold up a watch and moments later 20,000 of them will have been sold.
My husband did everything for me. I didn’t know what a bank was. I just did the jokes. Suddenly I had to know about gas bills. His suicide still makes me furious. As the saying goes: "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."
People who commit suicide are so self-obsessed, they don’t realise what they’re leaving behind. I talk to him. I say, “Fuck you.” I’m still angry, but it was 18 years ago, so I should try and get over it. But he missed taking his daughter down the aisle. He missed out on his grandson. I say to him, “Your ass should have been here for all this.”
I’ve never fancied a woman… But after three glasses of wine and some Joni Mitchell... Women of Edinburgh, attention!
If people think I’m rude, then good. Sweet, kind and refined doesn’t sell tickets. I say things people think in private.
With close friends, I am as I appear on stage. But if I go to a dinner party where I don’t know anyone, the poor hostess thinks, “Who’s that slug in the corner?”
I can’t stand comics who don’t offend or tell the truth. If something’s stupid, say so. If someone’s fat, say they’re fat. Political correctness is ruining our world – but not this chicken.

Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress is at the Underbelly Cow Barn, Edinburgh, Aug 7th-25th (0844 545 8252,; then Aug 29th-Sept 18th and Dec 2nd-Jan 29th, 2009 at the Leicester Square Theatre, 5 Leicester Place, London WC2 (0844 847 2475,

Interview: Tim Teeman

More from Gay Times August 08 - Issue 359