Review of “I Hate Everyone…Starting With Me” by Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers attacks everything and everybody in her sometimes hilarious but almost always vulgar and vitriolic misanthropic observations about who and what annoys her.

I wasn’t always offended by her attacks – after all, she doesn’t leave anyone out, not even herself. And she makes a point of frequently interjecting remarks so outrageous it is clear she is only joking. Still.

At times, she tackled subjects that just would have best been left alone. I’m not one to find humor in making fun of, for instance, handicapped people.

Also, I do admit to wishing she hadn’t employed foul language so freely. (Although she quite rightly goes after hypocritical people like me who say “f-ing” but get all freaked out over people using the full “F word.”) But I did feel squirmily offended by her frequent gratuitous use of words that are not only crass and deprecatory but, in addition, sexist when referring to females: does she really have to call Anne Frank “that bitch” or call other women the “c-word”?

It’s very interesting to me that so much of what is considered funny today involves sex and/or vulgarity. Certainly for years and years comedians made people laugh through witticisms like clever puns, or lampoons, or even insults, without resorting to raunchiness. Joan Rivers seems to think that her flagrant use of obscenity is funny in and of itself. And sometimes, it is in fact an essential part of the joke. Take this example by Rodney Dangerfeld, who gave his impression of a New York echo as:

Helloooo!

Shut the fuck up!”

But for the most part, I don’t find profanity inherently amusing. Maybe it is so to many people, but I sort of prefer more content to my social satire.

Rating: 2/5

Published by Berkley Books, 2012

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13 Responses

  1. She must need some extra cash for another facelift or something, because why else would she do this? Very little redeeming social value. I can only take her in very small doses! The only thing positive I can say about her is that she IS self-depricating.

  2. I think she is pretty funny, but in very small doses.

  3. I’m not a fan of Joan Rivers at all – I find her crass, overbearing and vulgar. There are plenty of funny people who don’t act that way – Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Cosby, to name a few. I think I’ll skip this book.

  4. Wasn’t there a time when we found Joan Rivers to be funny and appropriate? Now I wonder if she uses the c-word simply to be noticed. She has a show on style that I have watched in snippets; I end up regretting it every time.

  5. I also don’t think unending raunchiness and vulgar language is funny, and think there is so much more to comedy than that. I wouldn’t be one to read this one, but I am glad that you gave me the full scoop so that I know this. Very perceptive and thoughtful review today, Jill.

  6. I can take Joan in 5 minute increments. I’m sure I could not make it through a whole book.

  7. I have an audio review copy (unsolicited) and I’ve been hesitating over this one for just these reasons. If I do listen I’ll be sure to use my headphones. She can be funny in small doses; not sure I’d last hours though.

  8. She is an odd duck. As for Rodney Dangerfield; he is the actor that I find the most annoying and repulsive of all time. That being said, I think the quote you added was probably the nearest thing to funny I’ve ever seen by him.

  9. I’ve always loved Ellen Degeneres because she’s so funny without needing to swear all the time. My daughter used to want to be a stand-up comedian, and it was great having Ellen’s comedy videos to watch as a family – great role model, and we’d laugh so hard, our sides hurt!

  10. I think Joan could be better … she isn’t a dumb woman.

  11. I can’t take all the vulgarity either.

  12. Good to know I don’t need to bother with this. Could never figure out how vulgarity is s substitute for real humor.

  13. OMG…I couldn’t handle this one:) LOL

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