Comedienne Joan Rivers has not been tickling many funny bones lately as her recent attempts to deliver some racy punch lines have fallen flat and been considered outright not funny and insensitive. The 80-year-old Rivers is never one to filter her words at the expense of a good laugh but her latest remarks have brought a lot of controversy, which Rivers is choosing to merely shrug off.
The latest attempt at a gag that rubbed many wrong was at the expense of troubled actress, Lindsay Lohan. The embattled starlet recently made a very personal and emotional declaration on the final episode of her self-titled reality series on the OWN Network where Lohan announced that she had recently suffered a miscarriage. As Rivers’ schtick is to shock, the nipped-and-tucked sassy-senior, in an off-color attempt to make people laugh, insinuated in a joke that Lindsay Lohan may not have miscarried but rather undergone an abortion. Rivers remarks have been called repugnant by some and an insult to any woman who has ever miscarried a child.
Earlier this month during an appearance on NBC’s Today show, Joan Rivers also received more jeers than cheers over her wise-crack surrounding the three Cleveland, Ohio women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight who were tortured and held captive in a basement for 10 years. The remark sparked action from the legal representatives of two of the Cleveland captives who called Rivers’ comments hurtful and insensitive. The women have asked that Rivers apologize. Not one to be muzzled, Rivers caused further fury by refusing to make an apology and continuing to make further jokes to justify her earlier ones. To disassociate themselves from the controversial spark that was ignited following her appearance, NBC released a statement that they in no way condone the opinions of Ms. Rivers.
Joan Rivers has made a career with her no-holds-barred commentary on any and every topic. The iconic legend has even gone as far as poking fun at herself all in the name of humor. Having been an entertainment fixture since the late 1950’s, Rivers’ career has included stints on Broadway, stand-up, and as the first woman to host her own late-night talk show in 1986.
More recently, the octogenarian is known for reality television, commercial endorsements and her ability to joke with and disarm celebrities on the red-carpet. Rivers makes her comments on celebrity style choices as Host of the E! entertainment program, Fashion Police, where her jokes do toggle between good taste and bad humor. Ongoing jokes about a handful of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Selma Hayak have caused Joan Rivers’ Fashion Police co-hosts Juliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne, and George Kotsiopoulos to uncomfortably squirm in their seats, cringe and shamefully bury their faces in their hands as Joan goes on her comedic rants.
With this latest controversy now playing out in the media, some believe Rivers is getting just what she wants. With so many decades in the spotlight, at this point in her career she may not really care if some thinks she is funny or even makes people laugh. Some believe that for Rivers, the winning punchline is being relevant in the headlines which gives her the last laugh.
By Hal Banfield