Who doesn't Joan Rivers hate? She hates old people, young people, fat people, thin people, Helen Keller. The bottom line is that everyone is on her shit list, and that's just the way she likes it. Returning to New York for a new season of funny business, comedian Joan Rivers plays a series of six dates this summer at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on 42nd Street. |
The documentary film Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work just received rave reviews, sparking a renewed interest in Rivers as a comedy icon (though the film seems to suggest she'd scorn this description). After all, she's still out there making people laugh at 77, not resting on her laurels. At a stage in her life when other entertainers are content to rest in retirement, she's up there dragging around her bag of tricks, a veritable Mother Courage of comedy.
For the duration of the hour-plus-long set for which I was in attendance, Rivers worked the crowd with ease. There was nary a dull moment throughout. Though some of the jokes were familiar, especially to those who'd just seen the documentary, others were delightfully offensive and fresh, as if our emcee had plucked them fresh from her signature garbage heap of laughs. Some of the topics on hand included Al Pacino in Shakespeare in the Park, Lindsay Lohan, vaginas, blind people, and Anne Frank.
Those seeking inoffensive comedy should (quite obviously) look elsewhere, but those who are willing to understand that Rivers's brand of humor offends everyone and no one simultaneously will be drawn in by her desire to allow us all to hate each other just a smidgen more - in the hopes that we can all get along with each other a little more as a result.
The Laurie Beechman is an ideal venue in which to see a comedy act like this one. When I attended, Rivers's oversize personality filled the room. Simultaneously, the low ceilings perfectly encased the cloud of the audience's collective bellowing laughter.
By the end of her act, Joan Rivers, who's rather diminutive in size, was sweaty and in good spirits. Clearly, her act had landed. Instantaneously, the crowd was on its feet. Perhaps we were recognizing an icon, but, even so, we were recognizing the fact that she still had "it," and she'd still delivered for us a night of comedy - a welcome respite from a long summer day's responsibilities.
The summer performance schedule for JOAN RIVERS LIVE IN TIMES SQUARE! is as follows:
Weds. July 7 at 9 PM, Thurs. July 8 at 9 PM, Weds. July 14 at 8 PM, Thurs. July 15 at 8 PM, Thurs. August 5 at 8 PM, Thurs. August 19 at 8 PM, Thurs. Sept. 9 at 9 PM, Thurs. Sept. 16 at 8PM, Tues. Sept 21 at 8PM, Weds. Sept 29 at 8PM. Tickets are $30 with a portion of the proceeds going to Joan Rivers's favorite charities: God's Love We Deliver and Guide Dogs for the Blind. There is also a $15 per person food or drink minimum. For reservations call 212-352-3101 or visit www.SpinCycleNYC.com.