Joan Rivers always brings a lot to the entertainment table. From being a comedian to television star to actress when you get to know the lady behind the makeup she is anything but plastic. She had a gay following before many comedians followed in her stand-up footsteps such as Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho. She was a talk show host before Oprah and was the first woman to break into the boy’s club nightly television circuit by hosting The Late Show.
This pioneer continues to be one of a kind on E’s Fashion Police and the second season of her reality show WE tv series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best.
We caught up with Joan and Melissa before the new season was about to start.
Jerry Nunn: Hello, ladies.
Melissa Rivers: How cold is it in Chicago?
JN: Bitter cold!
MR: I feel very connected to Chicago because of Giuliana and Bill Rancic.
JN: I love them! I interviewed Giuliana and Kelly Osbourne both from the Fashion Police last year.
MR: What about George?
JN: I need to.
MR: There you go so you can have all of the playing cards!
JN: Perfect. This is my fourth time talking to Joan.
Joan Rivers: I would think so, yes. We were talking about it today.
JN: My first time meeting Melissa. I watched the first three episodes of the new season of Joan & Melissa and really enjoyed them.
JR: Which is plastic surgery, marijuana, and what is the third?
JN: There was a big fight.
MR: With me and my ex-boyfriend.
JR: I don’t know which order they are all airing in. The network can switch it all around. Well so far so good!
JN: I was looking for Carol Burnett because I had interviewed her last week.
JR: She was wonderful and amazing. She is coming on a little bit later.
JN: Have you had a favorite moment from this season?
JR: You start talking about it and like you say the first one is so good with the plastic surgery, then the pot smoking on the second episode…
MR: Which I will tell you the pot smoking episode will be singed into my memory for many years to come!
JN: You got to be the adult in that one, Melissa!
MR: You know I am the adult a lot of the time.
JN: The plastic surgery showed no makeup on Joan and an emotional moment between the two of you.
JR: Well, that is what reality should be. Everyone forgets what reality started out to be which is reality. It is mothers and daughters, it can be sad. Now it has become getting punched in the face and be drunk or sit at table and fight with ladies. I think our show is a success is because it is back to basics.
MR: Relationships have many colors and lots of levels. You see families on TV now in my opinion that are becoming one-dimensional.
JN: The two of you seem very different.
MR: Well, we are.
JR: We are.
JN: Different sense of humor…
JR: …With everything.
JN: In what ways are you like?
MR: I think we both realize the importance of family. We are both loyal.
JR: Once we make a friend we stick with our friends.
MR: I think in a lot of ways I am very much in temperament like my father. My parents were married for 20 odd years, which makes for a very balanced relationship that worked with my mother. So I think my temperament is good for my relationship with my mother.
MR: We live by the rule that only one person can be crazy at a time. I think that is a good rule for any relationship. Is today your day or my day? (all laugh)
JN: How do you work together? I can’t imagine working with my mother for even one day.
JR: We have always worked together. Everyone forgets we started the red carpet. We go back 15 years together. It is funny when I am not working with Melissa in a sense. She is a great producer and I let her be the producer.
MR: We have such a short hand. There are three different careers, there is the Joan career, Melissa career and the Joan & Melissa career. It is funny because the Joan & Melissa one is such a part of the pop culture phenomenon.
JN: You balance each other so well. It was neat to show behind these scenes and see how you work on Fashion Police together.
JR: It is a madhouse there, I don’t know if they put it all in. It is 5 a.m. when it is happening. We get there very early. We start taping at 8 a.m., which is very strange for a television show. It is working together with morning crankiness.
JN: Congratulations to you both with that show. It has done very well.
MR: Thank you and now we are going to an hour.
JN: Are you?
MR: (sighs) Yes, we are…
JN: You are going to have to keep those jokes coming, Joan.
JR: I know. As long as they keep making dresses like Sarah Michelle Gellar there won’t be any problem!
JN: What did you think of the Golden Globes this time?
JR: Most of them looked beautiful but they were not ones you want to throw up at to make a good show.
MR: Even with a similarity to the palette there were a lot of styles represented. You had Stacy Keibler in a traditional red Valentino all the way over to Piper Perabo in a deconstructed ball gown. Everyone was in that similar color palette but lots of different variations on actual design.
JN: Do we have any frontrunners for the Oscars? Have you ladies seen any of the movies?
JR: I have seen so many. I think if Meryl Streep doesn’t win they are fools because I think she is so head and shoulders above anybody this year. Just get out of the way. I think she will win.
MR: I think The Artist is adorable.
JN: I haven’t seen that one yet.
JR: Oh, it is really charming.
MR: George Clooney is charming, talk about charming.
JN: They are saying he will win.
JR: He should, just that body of work and the upholding of the Hollywood tradition. He is single handedly taking over for Cary Grant.
MR: I love it when you said, “He allows himself to be vulnerable in the movie.”
JR: Yes, very much so. He also did that a lot in that movie when he was flying around whatever that was called…
JN: Up in the Air.
JR: Yes, he is such a good actor that you sometimes forget.
JN: I noticed on Twitter you went to see Porgy and Bess on Broadway.
JR: I adored it. I am so sick of people bitching about it. “Oh it’s not big enough.” “They should add a larger cast.” You want to know something? You sit there and that Gerswin music comes on and you go, “Oh my God!”
MR: You said that Audra McDonald hit it out of the park.
JR: Again, she has to win the Tony. There is nothing to compare with it so far this year.
JN: I am talking to Lily Tomlin again soon. You mentioned her on one episode of the reality show.
JR: Oh, give her my best. We go way back forever together. We go back before either one of us were successful so really a long time.
JN: I got to see you in Skokie this last time.
JR: I remember yes.
JN: You run around that stage back and forth like a hamster.
JR: That is my work out. I love being onstage because I get to perform, and work out. I like multitasking.
JN: You always do a big shout out to your gay fans.
JR: Yes, yes yes. I am coming back to Chicago for my one-woman show. I want every gay man that is alive to be there! They are filming it for Showtime the end of March.
JN: Anything else about the Mother Knows Best?
MR: Yes, watch it! Set your TiVo and your DVR. They will be talking about it at the water cooler the next day.
JN: Carol Burnett told me she has it on her TiVo.
JR: She is brilliant.
MR: She has that cameo on our show so you have to watch it.
JR: It is a very funny turn.