We’re mourning the loss of Joan Rivers, who passed away today at the age of 81. Though, of course, nothing could compare to seeing the grande dame of comedy perform live, we’re grateful that some of her best work lives. We will continue to remember her through these hilarious (and poignant) performances which you can watch (or re-watch) on Netflix.
In this riveting 2010 documentary directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg, Rivers bares her best and worst qualities for the camera, making her even more likable. As Eric Kohn wrote in his review at the time: “‘A Piece of Work’ is ‘The Wrestler’ of stand-up comic portraits, a snapshot of getting over the hill and attempting to regain balance again and again. Still, the documentary also functions perfectly well as a showcase of Rivers’s comedic abilities, which haven’t aged a bit. Freely unleashing gags about physical disabilities and anal sex, she rises above (or, to paraphrase Mel Brooks, rises below) the modern boundaries of good taste.”
“Joan Rivers: Don’t Start with Me”
In this 2012 stand-up special directed by Scott L. Montoya, Rivers shows that even at 78 years of age, she hadn’t slowed down a bit – or lost her bite.
“Louie” Season 2, Episode 4: “Joan”
When a big casino gig disappoints Louie, Joan Rivers gives him an attitude adjustment and some geriatric booty. Classic hilarious Joan: “I wish I could tell you it gets better,” she told a down-and-out Louis C.K. “But it doesn’t get better. You get better. I’ve gone up, I’ve gone down, I’ve been bankrupt, I’ve been broke, but you do it. And we do it because we love it more than anything else.”
When Louie kisses her in gratitude, she initially fends off his advances before giving in. “What the hell,” she said. “Just don’t tell anyone. I’m thinking of you, not me,” she adds. “No one likes a necrophiliac.”
For more fun, you can also check out Joan’s performances in her old buddy Mel Brook’s “Spaceballs” and look for her in “The Muppets Take Manhattan” alongside Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. And if you’re really desperate for more Joan, watch the forgettable magazine industry satire “The Intern,” directed by Michael Lange.