WordPress is slow today. I’m guessing millions of people are writing about the news that Joan Rivers has passed away.
Hubs told me when he heard it on the radio. I started crying straight away. Not just for Melissa and Cooper, but for me. I can tell you exactly the first time I became aware of this tour de force: The Muppet Show, her skit with Miss Piggy at the make-up counter. Sending up herself, sending up Miss Piggy, sending up show business.
For so long she’s been one of my heroines; she’s been a huge part of my life. Not just knocking on the doors of comedy, misogyny, feminism, but blasting them off their hinges. Fashion Police was one of my guiltiest pleasures, I loved that she was un-merciless about bad dresses on the red carpet. For me, it was less about the celebrities being roasted, but more that the industry was being roasted. Poking fun at how stupid it is to be promoting your work, but being asked what you’re wearing.
Today I’m in jeans by Jeans West, tucked into my favourite brown boots from Next. I’m in a simple white long sleeved t-shirt and a Sweaty Betty grey marl hoodie. My glasses are by FCUK, wedding ring is white gold, my earrings are simple silver studs. Do you see how stupid it is?
Do you see how awful it is that we continue to judge women in particular by how they dress and look, not by what they do? In the shower and getting dressed this morning I was thinking about how to write about this woman. How to explain my passion for her. How do I share with you my thoughts on her, all the while the first tweet came in saying she’d died doing what she loved, having surgery.
That got me so cross.
Did anyone stop to think that if women were allowed to grow old, grey, gently lined with love and laughter it could have been different? Because all the time, someone younger, smaller, skinnier and usually blonde is coming up right behind you. Joan Rivers was frank about the surgery she’d had, admitted she was chasing being the cute girl that she never was. Yet unlike some celebrities, she never attempted to hide it. Unlike many more celebrities in the wonderful documentary she made A Piece Of Work, she let the cameras watch her get ready, no make-up on.
I was so sad this morning, I was weeping, Peanut asked me what was wrong. I tried to explain that I wasn’t upset with him, that someone I loved had passed away. He doesn’t understand, but I needed to try to find the words for him.
Joan Rivers made history because she was saying what people were thinking, she divided people, she upset people, and yet she was so vivid, so effervescent it was hard to remember she was 81 years old.
The thing that I loved most about her? That the people who worked for her, she paid for their children’s education. She took dinners round to people who couldn’t afford them for Christmas and Thanksgiving. She took her grandson with her to show him, not everyone has enough. To show him, when you have a little bit more, you share, you give.
Darling girl, you made me cry with laughter, my sides ached. Today the world is a little dimmer without you in it.