All hail! The (self-crowned) queen of comedy is coming to a cinema near you! But before you baulk in fear of damaging your corneas with exposure to the notorious nightmare that is Joan Rivers' plastic face, you'll do well to know that Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg's documentary is quite remarkable indeed. Chronicling the 75th year in the life of the indefatigable and utterly incorrigible Rivers, Stern and Sundberg locate the comedienne's demand for the spotlight and increasingly desperate schedule alongside an illuminating trip into the archives of her distinguished career.
Upon witnessing the impressive strides Rivers' took in what was really a man's profession, as well as the personal tragedy experienced en route, it becomes difficult to dismiss her as merely that loudmouth on the red carpet; she is patently so much more. Complex, driven and oftentimes downright hilarious, Rivers can quip about living in more luxury than Marie Antoinette, yet she too fears when the crowd will turn (as one riveting stand-up scene shows all too well). This documentary leaves no doubt that Joan Rivers is a piece of work, but she wouldn't have it any other way.
Screening in limited release at the Chauvel and the Hayden Orpheum from October 7th.
Published in Concrete Playground
Click HERE to read my interview with Ricki Stern.