Joan Rivers looks for laughs at Book Revue, The Paramount

Joan Rivers on May 14, 2014. Joan Rivers on May 14, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images / D Dipasupil

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Joan Rivers can't stop working. This legendary stand-up comedian is 81 years old, and her schedule almost rivals Donald Trump's. From her Web series, "In Bed With Joan," to her highly rated E! TV show, "Fashion Police," to her new best-selling book, "Diary of a Mad Diva," Rivers is in demand.

When she comes to Huntington on Friday, she'll do a signing at Book Revue at 4 p.m., followed by a stand-up show at 8 p.m. at The Paramount with an encore performance on Saturday. Can she talk? The answer is a resounding "Yes!"

How does your drive continue as time goes on?

I don't know, but it's as big as it was the first time I went looking for an agent. I have a calling. I'm like a nun with better clothes.

Do you feel vindicated because you've gotten over so many hurdles?

Don't worry, another one is coming. I always say to my daughter, Melissa, "Something terrible is going to happen, so you better enjoy this sandwich now."

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When did you get to the point where you stopped holding back?

That came slowly, and with the times changing. On "The Ed Sullivan Show" I couldn't say I was pregnant and I was seven months along. I was wearing a tent with a bow. Melissa's feet were already out. It was so stupid. I remember NBC censored me when I said the joke, "My husband came home and I had wrapped myself in Saran Wrap. He opened the door and said, 'Leftovers again?' " That joke went all the way up to the vice president of NBC. It was crazy.

What do you make of all these public apologies?

Not this chicken! If you want to apologize, then you shouldn't be in the business. There's nothing to apologize for.

What's your impression of Long Island?

It's beautiful. My parents came from Malverne. My father was the first doctor there back in the '30s when it was a one-horse town. Half of my friends are from the Five Towns. I never lived on Long Island, but I dated a lot of boys from there.

What do you make of the current state of comedy?

It's a wonderful time for comedy because you can really say what you want -- at least I do. I like to think of myself as the last one to hold out against political correctness. I think it's my job to say to everybody, the emperor has no clothes.

Because you came from an era of true stars, does it sadden you to see the state of celebrity today?

My big pet peeve is that no one dresses up. C'mon guys, I don't want to see Halle Berry in sweats. If you're a star, be glamorous. When you leave your $25 million house, have one of your servants dress you.

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What kind of impact did the documentary "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" have on your career?

It was part of an upswing. I was actually taken seriously for the first time. Up to then I was just known as a "Smutty Vegas Comic."

On the red carpet, why do some stars embrace you while others fear you?

The bigger they are, the more secure they are. Meryl Streep or Tom Hanks or Bradley Cooper will talk to you. The difficult ones think they are very important, but two weeks ago they were selling pizza. Kristen Stewart -- get over it! You are a very lucky, ordinary actress.

How would you describe your relationship with your daughter, Melissa?

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We have a good, solid mother-daughter relationship. But, we have arguments. For example, the other night she told me I was junking up her house.

What did you get out of writing your new book?

It was so much fun to do because I was laughing as I was doing it. It was the only book I had a good time while writing.

How come you called your new tour "Before They Close the Lid"?

Because people better come see me now. Who knows what's going to happen? My show is a lot of fun. But if you are waiting for something nice, go see Donny and Marie.

 

JOAN RIVERS

WHEN | WHERE Book signing: 4 p.m., Friday, Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington; stand-up: 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington

INFO Book signing: book purchase ($26.95, plus tax), 631-271-1442, bookrevue.com; stand-up: $40-$110, 800-745- 3000, ticketmaster.com

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Late-night Rivers

For decades Joan Rivers has been a fixture on the late-night TV scene. She was the permanent guest host on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in the early '80s, and in 1986 she ventured out on her own with "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers" on Fox, which caused Carson to ice her out. Today she is still known as a firecracker guest. The bottom line: Joan knows late night.

"The landscape is getting very crowded," she says. "Jimmy Fallon is brilliant. David Letterman is the most cerebral of them all. Jimmy Kimmel is great, too. But how many more do you need?"

When asked why she thinks there are no women in late night, Rivers says, "You need a very strong personality. It's a very difficult job. It can't be Ellen , who dances around like everything is wonderful. It can't be Wendy because she's too, 'Hey, girlfriend!' They haven't found the right person yet."

After she left "Tonight," she says, she never spoke with Carson again. She tried, but he hung up on her. If she had a chance to speak to the late-night TV king before he died, Rivers says she would tell him, "What a fool you were to spend 21 years being angry. It's silly and a waste of energy."

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