Joan Rivers' Diary Is As Entertaining As You Hoped

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Diary-of-a-Mad-Diva-coverPhoto: Courtesy of Penguin Books.
Joan Rivers is 80 years old. She ruffles feathers, makes pointed jokes at the expense of other celebrities, and, honestly, does not care what you think about her. She's never courted public favor and she rarely apologizes (even when we think she might have crossed the line) — and no matter what you think of said jokes, you've got to respect her for playing by her own rules in a world of ear-to-the-ground celebrities ruled by PR machines and spin doctors.

Also, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard, made a name for herself on The Tonight Show in the early days of Johnny Carson, got her own late-night show in the '80s (even though we are still bemoaning the lack of female presence in late-night today), and then stood her ground when FOX wanted to make staffing changes — even though she ended up losing the show over it. Like we said: The woman plays by her own rules.

So, naturally, her latest book, Diary Of A Mad Diva, reflects all of that, skewering everyone from network execs to Kristen Stewart to the president. And, never without a kernel of truth at the heart of her jokes. Ahead, an excerpt from the book (on sale July 1), for your reading pleasure.

SEPTEMBER 17

Dear Diary:

My old agent, Steve Levine, has set up a couple of pitch meetings for me at different networks. Some mainstream, some cable and some you can only get if you live in a glass house located where the 40th parallel bisects the International Date Line.

I hope one works out, and then maybe next summer Cooper won’t have to go to South Africa to work in the diamond mines wearing pants without pockets.

Yes, dear diary, I worry about Cooper’s future. From the start, I loved being a grandmother. It was wonderful to finally have something to bounce on my knees besides my boobs. And to this day, I am still hoping he will grow up to be a man of character, integrity and principle; in other words, someone who will never be president of the United States.

SEPTEMBER 18

Dear Diary:

I’ve come up with a couple of great show ideas to pitch to the networks. Yay, me! I’ve been thinking...the creative people who run TV networks are lawyers and accountants who weren’t creative enough to make it as lawyers or accountants, so they became television executives. They wouldn’t know a good idea if it sat on their face, the way their twenty-year-old development girl/secretary/personal assistants do, so give them ideas they can understand. Don’t pitch them anything original or groundbreaking. Pitch them new takes on old shows. So I decided to combine some hit shows that are already successful. For example:

1. Tiny Stuffers: I’ve combined Little People, Big World with Hoarders — families of dwarves who live in filthy dollhouses, cluttered with footstools and stepladders. In the pilot, we visit tiny Grandma hoarder and find a dead Chihuahua blocking her driveway.

2. Honey Boo Boo SVU: Two very good-looking detectives try to find out who had sex with Mama June, and rather than arresting him, they give him the Congressional Medal of Honor for getting it up.

3. Larry King Sorta Live: Larry hosts a call- in talk show on the days he isn’t on life support or taking his meds. Every call starts with, “Hello, Forest Lawn...”

4. Dancing with the Biggest Loser: The cast of Biggest Loser tries to win the dance competition. Watch the fun begin as we wait for Derek Hough’s legs to buckle when he tries to dip Massive Mona. And Bruno says, “You are so light on your hooves for a morbidly obese, six-hundred-pound Guernsey cow! You go, Elsie!!!”

Reprinted from Diary of a Mad Diva by Joan Rivers, by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, Copyright © 2014 by CCF Productions, Inc.