Official Presenting Sponsor of the
2018 Sundance Film Festival

Joan Rivers is about to enter the pantheon of gods in my addled mind


Joan Rivers is about to enter the pantheon of gods in my addled mind that is only occupied so far by Cher and Barbra Streisand, aka The Survivors Club. So I finally saw JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK last night at the Sundance Film Festival and it is perfection.

Seriously, amazing. Every woman should see this movie. And then, after at the Q&A Joan showed up (none of the bullshit “I can only spare one day and two interviews to promote my movie” for her. This woman is a professional workhorse and is millking this for all it’s worth). She teared up the other night about Johnny Carson and his lack of humanity, as she called it, but last night she only got upset when someone asked her about her former manager Billy, whom she had to fire after he went “missing” again for several months (a recurring habit of his over the years). “Billy. I miss him. He was the only person who had been through everything. He was there for my marriage, through Carson, for Edgar’s funeral, everything. He was the only person I had in my life I could turn to and say, ‘remember when…’ and that’s all gone now. I have no one to remember things with because they’re all dead. I hope he will be in my life again one day. But until then… Oh yeah, he’s suing me too.”

An audience member asked her what she thought about the Conan/Leno debaucle and Joan snapped, “Conan’s numbers were going down, he was going to be fired at the end of the contract. Now everybody loves him, he’s got $40 million and he’s going to get a show on Fox. He’s the luckiest white man alive.

“As for Leno? It’s perfect. We all love to go to sleep to him. He’s better than an ambien! Who can name one good line in the past 25 years? (Silence) see?! He’s fucking boring!” (PS: she’s right. Fact, Leno is dull. Unless you’re over 90).

Other good lines included:

  • I don’t want to hear, ‘I can’t,’ I’m too old, I’m a woman. Stop whining and get on the plane. Or find a rich husband.
  • I don’t want to be a cougar. I don’t want to wake up, look over and ask did I give birth last night? (prompting one hot young guy to stand up and say, “I’ll marry you!”)

Joanie puts it into perspective. She’s 76 and still shilling jokes in Queens while much younger, less funny and less daring men get $40 million contracts. And it’s kind of infuriating. Especially when I wake up to read and read:

“According to one Hollywood agency’s stats so far this year, 33 comedy pilots have been picked up by CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX. Only 3 are written by women. And 36 drama pilots have been picked up by CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox. Only 6 are written by women. This is being called ‘the worst year in a decade’ for female writers and showrunners.’ ‘Created By’ is a credit where the money and power is — and women are being denied it,’ one source keeping track tells me. ‘Nina Tassler, Les Moonves, Christina Davis, Steve McPherson, Susanne Patmore, Channing Dungey, Angela Bromstead, Kevin Reilly, Peter Rice need to comment on why they all gave women the sack this year.’”

All this AND every exec acknowledges that women control the remote in 90% of families. And they wonder why their pilots/shows fail. (And don’t give me that Christopher Hitchens’ bull about women not being funny – just go see Joan’s doc). Nice to see that while chivalry may be dead, misogyny isn’t.

So anyway, the Sundance Film Festival is clearing out. The streets are emptying and I have to confess, I am exited to go home tomorrow. And not just because Karl the Wonder Weenie has started a hunger strike. Sometimes Sundance feels like a night at Les Deux. Oh look, there’s Gerard Butler hitting on a gaggle of guidettes! Bradley Cooper? Huh, where? Adrien Brody – does he look stoned? And on and on. You can’t get to the bar without a taser, people talk through performances by legends like Lyle Lovett, and it’s … exhausting.

Last night I went out to drinks with the awesome Sundance Channel team I’ve been working with – and literally fell asleep at the table. You know it’s time to go home when you can’t even hang with people you actually like! Heh.

So am seeing Joey + Rory today at the Ascap Café, having one more dinner with the Sundance Channel/Rainbow Media peeps, packing and heading back to NYC, where I belong. Where’s there’s no snow – or at least not six foot piles of it, no hippies, no agents acting like it’s spring break (Hey – just cuz you take off your wedding ring doesn’t mean I can’t see the tan line where it usually sits!), no rude Access Hollywood anchors, no more string cheese and beef jerky breakfasts…. But then again, no more great nights with really awesome people I never would have met anywhere else (Danny, Jody, David and Matt – I’m talking to you! Shout out to Elton, David and the Rainbow Media peeps!), no more great films that make you laugh and cry within five minutes, no more magical encounters with cross dressing moose and bear-ish trannies, no more awesome concerts every night….

Sundance, I’m gonna miss you. But my liver won’t.