Joan Rivers famously asked, "Can we talk?" So the question for her daughter, Melissa Rivers, author of the anecdotal "The Book of Joan" (Crown Archetype, $26) is "Can she write?" The answer is, clearly, yes. Rivers' reminiscences of life with a comedy legend is not a memoir, she insists, and that's fair enough: Subtitled "Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation," it stars the outspoken Joan with Melissa as her lovingly exasperated sidekick. Book? It's more like a buddy movie.
Rivers, 47, an executive producer of E!'s "Fashion Police," will sign copies of the book Monday at 7 p.m. at Book Revue in Huntington. She recently chatted with Newsday.
When the publisher came to you, shortly after your mom's death, did you think, "Too soon"?
I thought, "This is way too soon." And then I thought, my mother would absolutely kill me if I didn't do this right away. Her joke was always that she wanted us to write a book together called "Comedian Dearest," a kind of spoof on "Mommie Dearest," and have it ready to go so that the minute she died I could have a book to publish. Obviously, we never did that, but she was serious. I probably should have told that story in the book.
You tell a lot of funny stories in the book, which makes it hard sometimes to know what's real -- like the part about Joan carrying bacon bits and fake blood onto airplanes to throw onto terrorists so that "they'd never get their 72 virgins in heaven." Really?
Yes, that part is true. Which was nice, because whenever [my son] Cooper has a baked potato, he likes bacon bits. So if we were ever anywhere and he was having a baked potato and they didn't have bacon bits, Grandma could just reach into her purse.
Speaking of Cooper, you compare older parents to teenagers, in that they can be defiant and do whatever they want. Do you think you'll be different, or will Cooper be saying this same thing when he writes "The Book of Melissa"?
Oh, Lord, I have no idea! He's only 14 and God only knows what's going through that little 14-year-old brain. But I think it's true. . . . Everyone has, or everyone becomes, that character who just speaks their mind. I think one of the great things about aging, if there are any, is the freedom it gives you.
Gotta say, the book is funny. Ever thought about being a standup?
Oh, God, no, they're a breed unto themselves. I don't have that kind of courage. I relate to them, I understand them. Could I get up on stage like them and say laugh at me? No. No way.
WHAT Melissa Rivers signs copies of "The Book of Joan"
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Monday, Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington
INFO Free; 631-271-1442, bookrevue.com