Â Â Brooklyn-born Joan Alexandra Molinsky, aka Joan Rivers,Â isn’t an enigma.Â Â The former tour guide, gag writer, bit actress, writer, Vegas headliner, Johnny Carson fill-in, one-time SNL host, et al. has come a long way in her 80 years but unlike Betty White who has evolved into a beloved American entertainment icon, Joan Rivers has evolved into a shrewish bitch of the first order, a description she would no doubt fully embrace, which makes her all the more pathetic.
Having made her living like fellow wit Don Rickles mostly by bad-mouthing and deriding the appearance of other people–in her case, chiefly young, attractiveÂ women as if she resents their youthÂ and attractiveness–she is devoid of Rickles’ humor, the grotesque, proudly-Botoxed,Â octogenarianÂ Rivers is more akin to a nasty Lennie Bruce withoutÂ Bruce’s brains.
Although she feels free to attack anyone, (“Elizabeth Taylor’s so fat she puts mayonnaise on aspirin” and “has more chins than the Chinese telephone directory”) she especially likes to rip into vulnerable female pop stars.Â A selection:Â Britney Spears (“I canâ€™t wait for her career to be over so she can serve me coffee at a 7-11.Â Sheâ€™s such white trash”), Lindsay Lohan (“so dumb”Â and “I was just reading about the new Lindsay Lohan diet, which is all liquid. 80 proof”), Chelsea Handler (“Whatever she is, sheâ€™s a drunk”).
To show she’s an equal-opportunity basher, Rivers even sees fit to ridicule her own religion and members thereof, such as these classic Rivers-isms:Â ”It was a Jewish porno film . . . one minute of sex and nine minutes of guilt” and “I’m Jewish. I don’t work out. If God had wanted us to bend over, He would have put diamonds on the floor.”
Still, the aged RiversÂ can beÂ veryÂ P.C. selective about whom she criticizes. Â Sarah Palin is fair game (Palin should “should go to another planet and get out of our face”) but she censored a joke about Michelle Obama because she was afraid she’d be labeled a racist (the innocuous joke: “First we had Jackie O; now we have Blackie-O!”)
To her minimal credit, Rivers frequently andÂ justifiably criticizes herself as in her best-selling, typically self-deprecatingÂ book,Â I Hate Everyone. . . Starting With Me.Â She has alsoÂ been uncomfortably forthright in admitting to multiple extra-marital affairs–thankfully, none recently–although she has blamed the Fox Television Network, not herself, for her husband’s suicide and claimed she hadn’t gone behind Carson’s back with her competing Fox show which caused Carson to banishÂ her forever from his sight because of herÂ ingratitude and treachery.
Joan Rivers’ problem is not so much herÂ treachery or even her essential meanness.Â HerÂ problem is her failure to come to terms with the reality that her post-Brooklyn, liberal Larchmont, New York and extreme leftist Barnard College educationÂ never provided her with the equipment to understand the real world which toleratesÂ nastiness but does not tolerate back-stabbing and ceaseless attacks on defenseless victims.
Hence, poor Joan became what she is now in her dotage–aÂ pathetic exemplar of a bitter old hag vainly trying to regain a sad semblance of her youth with drugs and plastic surgeries and only making aÂ living joke of herself in the process.Â Even her dead husband Edgar Rosenberg would be embarassed as would their daughter, Melissa Warburg Rosenberg (Melissa Rivers.)
Molinsky-Rosenberg-Rivers would do the world aÂ favor by withdrawing to a nursing home for pain-in-the-ass old ladies, except that she would drive the old ladies even crazier with her incessant, self-promoting, self-obsessed viciousÂ drivel.