I guess you either loved Joan Rivers or not. She was in public a fighter – no topic untouchable. She was never hired for her calm demeanor or gentle fun. She was cutting edge and never lost her grip on the outrageous. For a not so young, very closeted gay man she provided a way around the anguish of finding a place to fit in.
When her husband ended his life just a few years after my brother ended his, there was a bond of a shared experience. Still Talking seemed more like a declaration of independence than just a title of her memoir. It was good advice.
I don’t think there was ever an Aids related fundraiser that Joan Rivers turned down, long before it was a fashionable or pc thing to do. One of the events she attended here in San Francisco was “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” on September 9, 2006 to mark the 15th anniversary of the National Aids Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. Even though her plane was two hours late and she had a show that night, she came to the Grove and was shown around by Tom Jensen a member of the Board of Directors. She would have been justified in saying, “Sorry I can’t make it.” But she didn’t because she cared.
The Folsom Street Fair has always been cutting edge. So when they wanted to have a formal banquet they dubbed “Leather and Feathers” who else to have as featured entertainment than Joan Rivers. She didn’t disappoint. The evening was great fun.
I think Joan herself would have appreciated the irony of her death being caused by a procedure that was suppose to improve her vocal cords. She died on her terms – with her wit and wits intact. I’m sure that she and Robin Williams are having an improv duel in heaven that has even God laughing.