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Ladies and Gentlemen this is al of wire presenting another comic artist close up. You're not ready. A lot of trouble because not only was. Michigan State University radio presents the comic arts and essay and sound on the humor of our times featuring the comic the humorist the joke writer the clown the Dauntless individuals who work in the world of comedy. One of the most delightful personalities on America's contemporary comedy scene is comedienne Joan Rivers her comic style is both charming and feminine as well as funny. It is moreover based on genuine individual experience and viewpoint. As Joan herself explains it funny things just happened to me. Joan's show business story follows a
typical pattern many hired years of obscure experience then a break through to fame and stardom in early 965. Miss Rivers is interviewed by Earl Peters of WRVA New York in a conversation touching many facets of her life and career. OK about marriage. All right about now how can you not be married. Haven't I met her. And let's get rich why do you my boy has been supporting me. Well tell us about something on the bonds of marriage and your career and reaching this point which you now are you know are going to be on Johnny Carson regularly regularly and he is by the way not anyone cares. The most marvelous performer in the business is the nicest person I've ever met in this business. He does things that no other star would do. He has a show and he lets them take him off camera and just keep the camera on the guests and you'll never see that in anybody else's show. Everybody else it's always the star
with the performer you know and the star will move away that the camel the star and Johnny Show. He says you know focus on the people you rob this man. That's fascinating. Yeah. Wake up wake up. Well it's like well you know the marriage you're right you're married I married an Englishman which is why I hold who's very conservative. US pajamas with vests you know very quiet man and he doesn't know him. He's the two it was I'm quite used to each other and it's great you should get married when you know you. I met him. Ha. I was a writer before as a comedian. And the minute I got on the Johnny Carson show talk about writing they laughed. So I became a comedian and then I became a comedian they called me up to write movies which is always the way. And the movie people called me and I said How would you like to write it. Jack Lemmon movie. I said you're putting me on and they said Great title it's me. And we met my husband a lot of the movie people you
know you could have gotten to her he said. He never had me spoke to me for 20 minutes. You have to do something with me. Cheap him Harry. I think you also went to Barnet. Yes I was when I saw the trials. Nothing except I never had a date at bar and I I was a very late bloomer you know. And all the other girls were of the Columbia boys and I had I made up a boy finally because everyone said I'm going to Colombia I'm going to Harvard you know. So I met a boy and I said simply Yeah. And I got very popular and I one day one of the girls met me in the bathroom and said like look out because my boyfriend asked her out. Girls lie I didn't tell that well it's true. She married him three children name of the Mont. If you really wanted to be a writer. Seriously I just want to be happy. I thought I was a kid through Barnard
and majored in history of arithmetic and they didn't know what to do with me and when I got out I want to I want to be an actress. And nobody cared you know. And I used to play strip joints. I went out I played all these g string over my dress. To below I would come on stage at these burlesque have are just terrible places that I give back to take it off and yeah that was showbiz and that was my big career. And then I didn't get booked for a long time so I became a writer by mistake because a friend of I was asked to write it's over the top of the tiny mouse for the whole mess and he didn't want to write it so he said do you want to make $500 fast. I said yes he will come right for the mouse. And I wrote the script I never seen the mouse which was good because it was very fresh and Sullivan said gee you know that's a whole new personality. That was the first job right into the major leagues. But
if I had wanted to be a writer I never would have it right. You know I mean yeah because any start at the bottom and you can't get any place. And it was just a fluke. The transition from the life of a relatively unknown performer to the status of star presents an enormous personal challenge. Joan Rivers talk in stride but admits it is a dazzling experience. Well look at what happened with me. I was around for seven years and nobody could care less. I mean I worked I was USO and Second City and little thing that a lot of little television shows but. Now if they did then all of us and I was on Johnny Carson everything was right the next day. I start again $4000 a week office from Las Vegas who became. You know insane but that's the business and the wild part is that you have to be ready when it happens. If you're not ready or and a lot of trouble because it's not going to happen more than once. And when things do happen it happened suddenly so fast you had to be
prepared. If you like a lot of people they go crazy they saw behind things like you know they just go off the deep end they don't know how to cope with it. And I was I became a nervous wreck. It's only you know I've been doing well and the first three months I lived in terror that we all disappear. You know I was certain because what you had not been you could always live in your fantasies. But the minute wrestling to lose here should be very tight. Why how do you you know you said that you write every day every day how do you decide what works. Do you experiment with the audience every night. I improvise I go down to the club down them stairs. And I do two shows and I do all the stuff I'm thinking about and I tape it on a tape recorder. Plus anything that comes to mind and sometimes you get 10 minutes of stuff that's just there you know. Yeah you have to change a lot of it when the audience is right and you're right. And I got on the next day I listen to the whole tape I type up what I
like. And do things throw at the stuff I don't like go down that night to the club. I memorize it do it all over again plus that living listen to the tape the next day just goes on and on and on. You try things on your husband. Yes but it's very unfair. Now at home I'm so busy cooking and killing chickens you know. Keep it clean I am not a housekeeper you know I tie rags to my legs I run around dusting and if I have no time to be on it. Does does vacuuming the bathroom you know it's a busy day. How does he respond to what I guess could be considered a typical American type of humor. He shudders. He's so bright. I don't know he's so bright he's that I think you'll like my humor because when he met me he'd see me first on television and asked to meet me. So I think he likes American
humor and I know he loves Woody you know Billy has the right records you know. But I don't know. We try I try to talk comic too much it's so unfair you know over the roast beef to make a little joke. But how does this work. Good morning. Do you think it's funny to say you know shut up. How are your parents. Thank you. Insanely good. My father's a doctor. And they just automatically expect me to marry a doctor. You know it's like a legacy or a lawyer or CPA depending on your age or if you get a little older and take a dentist. If you're 25 you can marry a druggist. Twenty eight year I made an error in my family. And when you hit 30 as long as he walks the talk and can crawl to your door you grab him. But nobody becomes a comedian. You marry a professional man. When I say I'm going to become a comedian they didn't talk to me for a year.
One solid year my brother threw me right out of a cow back. And so that hit her mother to cry like a baby. She's so gentle but she won't be a comedian now. Now of course. Agent used to call me up my mother would say Do you really think she's spiny very popular approach. But now they're hysterical. Now my father. As a comment on everything you know my mother carries clippings like a baby you know. And in my father's office it's like office hours one to three you know. Today special appendectomy. I was a big sign that says watch Joan Rivers on any list. Everything I'm going to be on you know that but you've been exposed which I think you have been caught on television and do people come up to. Me. How do you take this. It's great but today as I said before you know I was visiting friends and it's
so it's it's still very exciting to me when they come up to you and say like oh. I think you off funny you know I don't like when they come up and say you think which people have attended who is not in the club. There was a woman that I used to think you were funny. She was so whacked out. DRUG. Trial you know it was so hard you know how would you know what I guess. Well I hate that you don't want to hurt a nice drunk. Usually people are drunk. And if they're really nasty because. You know but every professional Never thought up. Every professional ular line that you can absolutely tap them plus if you want quick to begin with you wouldn't be a performer. But no matter what they're going to say you know to be able to tap them and really put them down. But when they most the time when they're drunk. In my case they think they're helping me. You know. And. Our bills were a joke and right before I think the
line you kind of build tension there come in with something that really doesn't matter you know an actor very often after a show with a terrible drunk the comeback with a boy I was in that band and we have a good time you know. I like this woman last night I'm sure I'm sure she thought she was really helping us because. She was just a dead drunk she wasn't being mean she just she was turned kind of as risky. The audience was fascinated as they threw her out and if you do that this year I just came back from there and it's rainin. And terrible weather. And it's funny because the owner of the hotel met me and he said Are you superstitious. And I said why and he said because it's been raining for 40 days and 40 nights. And the guests are starting to pair off. It's true. Tribal route through the room and through you know it's quite
intimate. Yeah and I love that I have played I've already played the Americana which I hope never to return to again. It's just too big for me. You know it's a lot of people coming in with Hawaiian leis. And with brown socks and white shoes in the winter time you know very weirdo people a lot of people out west guys say Hi I'm from the peat moss convention you know and they don't. They always come back to me. You know which I take with me. Become a Druid. I don't like those who I like. San Francisco and the Kellys in Chicago where I am now hold 90 people and it's tiny and really together. It's just great. It becomes absolutely one to one relationship. I like to stay there forever I'd like never to leave.
And that sentiment is shared by her audience which gives this fine comedienne for her great performances and warm response to a warm and winning personality. Rivers. Portions of this program were prerecorded. This is Alan Grier inviting you to be with us for the next personality close up on the comic acts. The comic art series with al the wire is produced by Michigan State University Radio in cooperation with the humor societies of America program consultant George Q. Lewis the music by Jerry Tillman. Your announcer can be cheaper.
The comic arts II
Joan Rivers
Producing Organization
Michigan State University
WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3529. This prog.: Joan Rivers: Everything Really Happens
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Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-29-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:49
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Chicago: “The comic arts II; Joan Rivers,” 1968-09-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 20, 2022,
MLA: “The comic arts II; Joan Rivers.” 1968-09-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 20, 2022. <>.
APA: The comic arts II; Joan Rivers. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from