July 13, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 13, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

It has been a very sad time for comedy. A few weeks ago, we lost the quintessential comic Robin Williams. The irony of how he died, sad, depressed, and alone, only makes us realize what a mask he was wearing for the rest of us, a mask that allowed him to give us such joy, huge belly laughs, and the opportunity for bringing a smile to our faces just by seeing his. It was simply tragic that he wasn’t able to bring that same joy and humor to himself and his life, but that is the disease known as depression. But with tragedy will hopefully come hope and help to others who face a similar obstacle, that obstacle being such severe depression that you think you are too down to ever get up. Now, however, perhaps people will learn that they are not alone and that there are those willing to listen, to try and help as best they can.

And then, there is Joan. Joan Rivers. She was the pioneer of female stand-up comedy and my personal role model. “I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking,” she once said. Yup, I say what everyone is thinking, but I have yet to succeed in doing so. In fact, I get into a lot of trouble for it. Yes. Make money from it? No (but I am still hopeful). She did stand-up about being a single woman when it was a topic not to be discussed in public. Oy vey, how did she ever get married with a mouth like that?

Years ago, my parents took my cousins Sarah and Bernard to see her at Kutchers. I remember my mom telling me that they had to walk out because my cousins were so refined and soft spoken that they didn’t even get most of Joan’s humor…

“I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my bath toys were a toaster and a radio,” was another Joan classic. If anyone else were to say that, the kid’s parents would be arrested and DYFS would be called in. But she said it and people laughed.

And this one, for my dad, who was never guilty of doing this. “My obstetrician was so dumb that when I gave birth, he forgot to cut the cord. For a year that kid followed me everywhere. It was like having a dog on a leash!” How could you not love a woman who makes a joke like that?

“Fat jokes aren’t relevant, but they are hilarious when you find them.” Yes, Joan, they are…self-deprecating humor was the bread and butter of some of her earlier acts and even later on. “I was so ugly,” she began, “that they sent my picture to Ripley’s Believe It or Not and he sent it back and said, ‘I don’t believe it.’”

There was a show on television called Nip Tuck and Joan had a guest appearance as a woman who wanted to undo all of the plastic surgery she had done. She was amazing on the show, but the picture of what she would look like was a tad bit frightening so I am pretty sure she decided to keep her face. Another one of her famous lines was that she always wanted a twin sister so she would know what she would look like if she hadn’t had so much surgery. “I have had so much plastic surgery that when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware.” Poor Joan.

But when I heard that she died and under what circumstances, all I could do was think about the last conversation she probably had. There she was, lying on the table getting ready to have an endoscopy. The anesthesiologist is about to give her Propofol to put her out and she says, “Hey, isn’t that the stuff that killed Michael Jackson? What are you trying to do? Kill me too?”

Everyone in the room probably laughed, the nurses, the doctors, because she was Joan Rivers and that is what she did, made people laugh. I had read that she even performed somewhere the night before her ill-fated procedure. How lucky those folks were to be a part of history, of Joan’s history, of a culture of laughter at the expense of others, a culture that will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace…

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles