“When I die (and yes, Melissa, that day will come; and yes Melissa, ever thing’s in your name), I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action….I want craft services, I want paparazzi, and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way. I don’t want some rabbi rambling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents. I don’t want a eulogy; I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so that even in my casket my hair is blowing just like Beyonce’s.”
I first saw her with my parents on our black and white Zenith tv (which tells you how old she was, and how old I am). We all loved her. I remember thinking it interesting that her persona was sort of that of a housewife. I’d only ever seen men be funny.
I love to laugh more than almost anything, so I have been a Joan fan throughout the numerous second acts this woman has had, so many in fact, I half think she’s going to come back from the dead today. There was her early phase, before plastic surgery, where she knocked the socks off Johnny Carson, who told her after the first time she was on the Tonight Show, “You’re going to be a star” There was her late night phase. There was her surviving-the-suicide-of-her-husband-Edgar phase, her talk show, her down fall, her rebirth, her winning The Apprentice phase, her jewelry line for QVC, her red carpet “What are you wearing?” phase. There was her reality series with Melissa, her documentary, and of course the lauded, always brash, brave and funny Fashion Police phase. Not to mention her books, live stand up shows and talk show appearances. You gotta hand it to Joan, she was no slacker. This woman was commuting from New York to L.A. every week to film Fashion Police. AND SHE WAS EIGHTY FUCKING ONE. That is all.
But of course, it’s not all (not at all). It has to be said that Joan, while polarizing, and often down right mean to celebrities, she did whatever she did in the name of funny. This woman was a ground breaker, a glass ceiling buster, a genuine pioneer. She was prolific (in her documentary, she shows off her filing cabinets full of 30 years worth of jokes she’d written). She was honest. “I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die, I’m going to leave my body to Tupperware, ” She was a survivor, always creating another destination for herself, a new place to go. If she was working, she was happy. If you like Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, and so many other women comedians, well, thank Joan, because she plowed her way right through the boy’s club, for them to do what they do.
It’s hard to believe someone so spirited and bawdy and lively could be dead, but what a nice way to go. She went to sleep and didn’t’ wake up. At 81, health, vital and still excited by life, I’d take it. Bye, Joan. YOU WERE THE FUCKING BEST. No joke.