As Tom Cruise stated in Jerry Maguire, “We live in a cynical world.” Yes we do, Tom, and no one is more pleased about that fact than comedian/TV host/fashion diva Joan Rivers. She loves it! No one enjoys a smart put-down more than Rivers, and she can dish it out as well as take them. (Oh, and by the way, Tom Cruise, Joan hates you, too. She doesn’t like the fact that you’re 5’8” and always smiling. Something about that just doesn’t sit right.) Celebrities are just a small faction of the myriad of things Joan hates. There are so many things to cover, she had to catalog them. So much to hate, so little time.
"This is for fans of the no-holds-barred, calls-it-like-she-sees-it, no-BS comedian who has earned the right to hate this much."
But for those of you who think that “hate” is a very strong word, Rivers agrees: “You’re right, it is, but I use it as an umbrella term, the way mental-health professionals use the word schizophrenia as a catchall for any particular brand of crazy they can’t identify…if you think this makes you a better person than I am, good. You’re the idiot that actually paid for this book.” According to her, too many people have gotten a free ride for too long, and it’s time someone took them down.
It started with her childhood. As Rivers states, she “was the only baby in the maternity ward who had to take a bus home.” Her parents used to encourage her to “Take candy from strangers! Ask the guy in the raincoat if he owns a van.” Tough crowd, indeed. It only strengthened her resolve, and with her razor-sharp wit as her only weapon, Rivers held court with the best of them, starting out in the clubs of Greenwich Village (which is one of the few things she likes. She hates villages as a rule, though Greenwich Village is not a village, per se, and is the sight of her early comedy ascendancy. What’s to hate there?).
Rivers delineates a special section for dining out, emphatically stating that she hates paying cash. She always tips more on a credit card because it “feels like I’m spending Visa’s money, not my own.” And she goes on to say that “…technically, I’m right because, according to federal law, if you die with a balance on your credit card, your family is not obligated to pay it off.” (Reviewer’s note: check into this to see if it’s true. If it is, hang-gliding lessons, here I come!”) She also hates the old and the infirm, yet loves obituaries and funerals (to her, a funeral is just a “red carpet show for dead people.”). Nothing and no one is off limits.
Bear in mind, this is not a book for the faint of heart. And if you’re looking for a nice gift for your sweet, elderly aunt, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY might be a less scandalous choice. This is for fans of the no-holds-barred, calls-it-like-she-sees-it, no-BS comedian who has earned the right to hate this much. Although some of the jokes may be recycled and a little outdated ("Mahatma Gandhi once said, 'I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.' Apparently Gandhi never tried to get a table at Spago."), she can still spar with the best of them.
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on June 22, 2012