Joan Rivers filled many a Depends diaper with a bit of laughter-induced pee last night at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood. The filthy, brilliant old broad spent her whole set telling the audience who was allowed to stay and who had to go. The Fashion Policer decided that nowadays, she's choosing the crowd she wants to perform for. The gays? They stay. Beautiful Asian ladies? They had to leave.
Her voice over the speaker asking us to take no offense, to just laugh until she got to our particular ethnic group: "We're just doing fucking jokes." She said, "Calm down." This was before opening act Brad Zimmerman took the stage and charmed the Boca and retirement crowd with hilarious Jewish mom jokes. (Interestingly, before working with Rivers, he used to open for George Carlin, but only after spending nearly 29 years as a NYC waiter. Intense.)
Rivers was divine. There's honestly nothing like seeing a 78-year-old woman lie on the floor, thrusting her pelvis to mimic having sex with Aristotle Onassis. She charmed the crowd with her irreverence while saying some of the grossest, most tasteless things any of us had heard probably all year. From farts to Parkinson's, nothing was off-limits. To give you a true taste -- a grody mouthful -- of her raw but so perfectly crafted humor, here is a list of some of her best bits.
10. For some reason, an orchestra remained onstage throughout the show. There was a guy sitting at a grand piano, violinists, and even a dude on bongos. They played probably three songs. One of which was the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," which blared as Rivers came to the center-stage, glittering in her black-and-gold feathered robe. She walked out graciously, glamorously, turning to the band to say, "Shut the fuck up!"
9. Rivers claimed her "Indian name" is "She Who Walks With Herpes." You know, because we were at an Indian casino.
8. After winning Celebrity Apprentice, she claims she's supposed to pitch new TV shows. Her ideas: "The Price Is Right with Winona Ryder" and "The Deadliest Snatch" with Snooki.
7. She asked us the name of "the one" who "makes the little asshole heart" with their hands. Taylor Swift.
6. When asking old people -- the majority of the room, including Joan herself -- to get out of the room (remember, she was curating her crowd?) she yelled, "You just depress me!"
5. The gay men? They could stay, but not without some jabs. She called them "the best goddamn audience in the world, because they laugh at anything, they're so stupid!" Needless to say, they laughed, and we all laughed.
4. People she called ugly included her good friend Barbra Streisand
and her goddaughter Chaz Bono.
3. On Naomi Campbell achieving one of Rivers' dreams, "to be able to slap a servant..." She said wistfully.
2. Called the show she watches now that she's old Law and Order: STD.
1. On Tom Cruise: "He's been in the closet so long, I'm going to take him to Goodwill."
And these weren't even her funniest bits. Those were longer, more complex jokes that truly managed to do something spectacular -- they made us all laugh at ourselves and one another without any disdain or discomfort. At the end of the performance, she handed out potted orchids from the stage to people in the front row. But they should have been throwing flowers on the stage. Joan Rivers, she's as old as the hills, but, man, she's still got it.
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