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:
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.
Published by Berkley Books, 2012