Born ‘Joan Alexandra Molinsky’ on June 8, 1933 in Manhattan, New York. Rivers graduated from Barnard College in 1954 with a B.A. summa cum laude in English Literature and Anthropology. In the early 1960s, Rivers performed at various comedy clubs throughout New York City. After multiple auditions for ‘the Tonight Show’. She finally debuted on the show in February of 1965 and on air Johnny Carson said to her, “You're going to be a star”. In the years to follow she made frequent appearances on shows like ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’, ‘The Mike Douglas Show’, and ‘The Dick Cavett Show’. By 1968, she had a daytime talks-how entitled, ‘That Show with Joan Rivers”. River’s comedy and entertainment career continued to explode through the next few decades. One of her most successful years consisted of Rivers performing at Carnegie Hall, releasing the stand-up special, “An Audience with Joan Rivers”, becoming established as Johnny Carson's first regular guest host on, ‘the Tonight Show’, and releasing the best-selling comedy album, “What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?”, which reached number 22 on the U.S. Billboards and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album. By the end of her career, Rivers released 12 books, had been featured in multiple films, released count countless comedy specials and albums, and became an all-around icon in pop culture and entertainment.
This week, Kaizen Komedy looks at Joan Rivers. She is a pioneer for female comics and had one of the longest and most active comedy careers the trio has covered to date. Since her start, Rivers brought a high energy and engaging performance to her audiences. She challenged her crowds with very strong opinions and used absurdity to release the tension that she built. Through her long career her energy never ceased and her opinions and use of shock and absurdity only grew. Joan Rivers is easily one of the most successful and well-known comedy legends in the history of stand up.
Bits analyzed: Cooking, Anne Frank, Apollo 2013.