Friday, September 05, 2014

A Profound Sadness



When I heard Joan Rivers died yesterday a profound sadness swept over me.  

I rarely have this reaction when someone I know well has died.  The last time I had such an overwhelming sadness was when my Mother died on September 16, 2010.  Of course that was a different kind of sadness.

I never had the good fortune to personally meet Joan Rivers although our paths crossed very close several times during our lifetimes.  When I worked at the Hampton Inn in Lionville, Pennsylvania, I would often see Joan's long black stretch limousine whisking her down Route 100 to QVC in West Chester, Pennsylvania where Joan hawked her costume jewelry line for many years.  

A few years ago Joan made a personal appearance in the Rehoboth Beach gay community. I could have put aside my personal distaste for the cliquish Rehoboth Beach gay community and attended one of her shows, front seats at $100 a pop.  But I didn't.  

Even though I never met Joan I had the feeling that she was "jus
folks."  There was nothing phony about Joan, aside from her way overdone plastic surgery (oh how I wish she would have stayed the way she was and aged gracefully).

I remember first seeing her on the old "Ed Sullivan Show" on TV.  I liked her irreverent brand of humor right off the bat.  

Over the years I've seen her as guest host on the "Johnny Carson Show" (I thought she was fabulous, always a new gown every show).  

I'm trying to put my finger on exactly what it was that I liked about Joan's attitude and comedy and I think I've figured it out.  She said what I was thinking.  She was the boy who cried "The king has no clothes!" when all other would look at the naked king and "ooh" and "ah" over his finery, thus perpetuating much of the phoniness that is modern day life.  Joan cut through all that BS and said exactly what she thought, no matter who dainty toes she stepped on.  Joan always made me laugh. 

I liked Joan.  With her passing another part of my life has gone.  

Little by little, increment by increment, I am slowly dying.  

And folks, you just know that if there is a Heaven, she's making a lot of people laugh right now.  

Thank you Joan for providing so much happiness to so many during your life.  Rest in peace dear lady.


13 comments:

  1. Ron,
    Your thoughts so eloquently put were my thoughts exactly. I felt profound sadness when I heard the news and like you that feeling has been reserved for very few. You hit the nail when you said she was "jus folks". She was an icon and there will never be another like her.
    I did have the opportunity to see her perform in Atlantic City in the mid eighties, shortly after her husband Edgar committed suicide. She was folksy, funny and what she said came from the heart. After her show she stood on stage and thanked all of her fans for their kindness and sympathy. What stuck me at the time was that she was seemed so big and larger than life on television but on stage she just seemed small and vulnerable. She was the pure example of the saying "the show must go on".
    RIP Joan Rivers, keep them laughing.
    Jack

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    1. Jack,
      Even though I never met Joan, I always had the feeling that if I did she would look me right in the eye and say "Thank you" when I complimented her on her performance, and mean it. She is one of the few celebrities, that when I saw them on TV I felt right at home with her. Joan was real. She was of my generation. When she died another part of me died. That perhaps is the saddest part because I know our generation is coming to an end. Make each day count.
      Ron

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  2. Ron - Joan Rivers, to me, was always an interesting personality who, as you say, had the ability to tell it like it is with a sharp wit.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      Joan was one of my favorites. She never failed to make me smile.
      Ron

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  3. I was a huge fan of hers for many reasons, her talent being just one of them. She was one of the first celebrities to host a fundraiser for AIDS healthcare way back in 1983. She was pro-gay before it was fashionable, having stars like Sylvester and female impersonators on her daytime talk show. She has said that her only regret is that her grandson has not shown himself to be gay. Love it!

    Beyond that, she could break your heart as quick as she could bust your gut. I saw her decades ago doing Broadway Bound on Broadway--she played the mother of course. Her acting was so truthful that I could not stop sobbing uncontrollably in my seat at times, not just tears down the face, but SOBBING. She was under-appreciated as an actress. But her ability to reinvent herself after that ass-fuck Johnny Carson (who reportedly was a douche in MANY ways) snubbed her, is truly her crowning achievement. Long after all of those who shunned her have lost relevance, she continued to work with not one, but three shows on, a new book, tour dates, and 2 million Twitter followers. And the gal was 81! I saw her do stand up about five years ago, and Ron, you shoulda paid the $100 when you had the chance. She KILLED for an hour and a half and was non-stop. She was brave, truthful, compassionate, and funny. Boy, was she funny. I was wondering what your opinion of her would be, and I am so glad that you were a fan. Although she was not young, she still went too soon, all due to a botched procedure. I will miss her, and am very sad for what would have come had she survived. Joan, you were a star, and your legend and legacy are intact. Thank you for all you gave.

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    1. Tony,
      Joan was one of my favorite celebrities. She always came across to me as 100% genuine. And yes, I too was mightily impressed with how she survived Johnny Carson's attempt to destroy her career just because she didn't kiss his ass enough. I agree with you that she was greatly under appreciated as an actress and as a humanitarian. There was only one time I disagreed with her and that might have been my misunderstanding. She was doing a monologue on breasts (tits) and said "tits were wasted on men." EXCUSE ME? Oh Joan, you got THAT wrong. But then, maybe she was kidding. Who knows? I forgave her for this one misstep and have always faithfully followed her. I do regret not taking the opportunity to see her when she appeared at the Rehoboth Beach gay community center a few years ago.
      You are so right though Tony, Joan was a star and her legend and legacy are intact.
      Ron

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    2. She said many things, especially recently, that came across as mean instead of funny. But anyone who seeks out the truth is bound to open their mouth a bit too wide from time to time. She aimed to piss people off who needed to be pissed off, so I can't blame her for that. I am drawn to people who are controversial and considered "difficult", because I always know where I stand with them. That is why I am surprised that you are not a Madonna fan! She, like Joan, is a trailblazer and a truth teller, who also happens to put out really good pop songs. But that is a topic for another post!

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    3. Tony,
      Too often I form an opinion on an entertainer after seeing them in an interview. One of the first interviews I saw Madonna give she was very evasive and defensive. I wasn't impressed. She was being interviewed about a movie that she made with her husband Guy Ritchie. The movie was awful. I've seen her in a couple of other interviews and, to me, she came across as a phony. Of course I could be wrong but my opinion of her, as it is with all celebrities, is how would they react if I walked up to them and complimented them? I have a feeling that Miss Madonna would completely ignore me or worse, have one of her bodyguards push me away. However, with a celebrity like Joan Rives I believe she would say "Thank you" and mean it. I just can't imagine Madonna thanking a fan. But then, I could be wrong burt I doubt it.
      Ron

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    4. I agree with you, Ron. Joan Rivers was up-front and sincere. Madonna comes across as a phony. And her "talent" is not unique.

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  4. I too think she was great. We have lost another comedy legend. I remember her over the years and like you, I don't tear up often, but watching the tributes to her online, she is now one of three famous people who passed that really touched my heart...Lucille Ball, Robin Williams and now her... funny and very real people who touched the world and will never be forgotten. RIP Joan.

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    1. Kelly,
      Yes, we lost another great comedy legend. Who is left? Don Rickles and Bob Newhart. Thank goodness for Kathy Griffin. She will pick up Joan's baton and won't let those phony baloney celebrities get away with their nonsense.
      Ron

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  5. This is a wonderful tribute, Ron. You liked Joan Rivers for all the same reasons that I did. She was completely unique - a real trail blazer - and she was one of the very few comedians who always made me laugh. There was absolute truth in her humor and she wasn't afraid to express it.

    People either loved Joan or hated her. I loved her. I had the pleasure of meeting her twice - once at the NBC Studios in Burbank and once at a private gathering in Beverly Hills. She was extremely sincere and genuine and she truly loved her fans. She was also extremely sensitive and I'm certain that her humor was a way of covering up her soft side. She will be sorely missed.

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    1. Jon,
      You have just confirmed what I suspected about Joan. That she was extremely sincere and genuine and she truly loved her fans. To me she was one of the few celebrities that I felt really cared about her fans unlike so many other celebrities who impress me as caring more about how much money they can make and how many diva demands they can make. I don't think Joan would ever demand her fans not to make eye contact with her on a set. She was real, not phony.
      Ron

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