I was a little girl when I first discovered Joan Rivers. I don’t remember where, or how exactly but I do remember that from the very start she made me laugh. When it came to television I was never heavily censored by my parents. I enjoyed watching T.V and was allowed free range when it came to sitcoms and current pop culture. From Benson, to Mr. Belvedere, to Family Ties, to Mel’s Diner to One Day at a Time, I fell in love, regularly, with all kinds of weird wacky adults onscreen. Joan happened to be one of them. From a young age I recognized that she was brilliant. Hilarious in the way I didn’t know women in real life could be. I watched her on award shows and rooted for her on Hollywood Squares. Her razor sharp wit, her notorious humility and heart, stealing the show no matter what the nature of the stage. She was funnier than the rest. Period. And to me, even as a kid, it counted for a lot.
More recently, I fell into the routine of washing dishes in the evening, or cleaning house in the morning to recorded episodes of E’s Fashion Police. It was one of the only reasons we clung to our stupid cable suspicion. A decade long devotion to Direct Tv being the brunt of my annoyance for quite some time now due to being overpriced and under-watched in our household. Yet the thought of being without Joan, and her crew, whoever they happened to have on sitting beside her, on the nights when I needed something easy, and funny, and slightly absurd to keep me company through the last hour of my painstaking plight of late night clean up, was not something I was ever really willing to fully sacrifice. So, we paid our 88$ bill, and I had Joan, on point, slicing celebrities in their designer mishaps, when I needed her most.
White noise, with a killer face lift and a million dollar one liner.
About a week ago I was delighted to come across one new episode of fashion police on my DVR. I had a couple hours to kill, in between school pick ups so I put it on while I cleaned the floors and loaded the dishes in the washer. I don’t recall what it was that she said that made me stop and take note, but I do know that I paused to admire something crass, and thought to myself, man, this woman is 80 something years old and quit as a whip. Something in my head dared imagine her passing but I was quick to shoot it down, dwelling instead, on her obvious vibrancy and unmatched wit.
Then yesterday, after an amazing night with my best friend in L.A, seeing a band I love, we drove back to grab some groceries for a late night sandwich before I headed home. A vague text my friend received in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s hinted at Joan’s passing. A fact I would wait the entire night, to finally validate, on my own, online, at home.
Tonight, after a long week, with all boys at their grandmother’s for the night and the baby fast asleep after a long bath, I wandered down stairs to finish up the regular: stack the barstools, sweep the floors and wipe the counter tops. I vacuumed, and moped. I took out the trash and put away what groceries were still misplaced from the trip yesterday, in a stone cold, quite house. When it was all put away, I made myself a fresh squeezed lime margarita and sat on freshly wiped granite countertop and realized, under a stark neon bulb, with nothing but the air conditioning humming overheard, just how much I will miss that lady, and our late night’s together, when all the world was waiting on me to pack their lunches, and her to sucker punch those starlets with a grace no one else can ever possibly manage. And that cable subscription, come Monday, is good as gone.
R.I.P Joan Rivers