Can we talk?

 

Before Amy Schumer …

Before Sarah Silverman …

Before Bridesmaids …

Before Chelsea Handler …

Before Kathy Griffin …

Before Sex and the City …

Before Roseanne …

Before Gilda, Jane and Laraine and all their Saturday Night Live daughters …

Before The Golden Girls …

Before Rhoda Morgenstern …

Before Bette Midler …

There was Joan Rivers.

And when she walked out on a stage and said, “Can we talk?,” she wasn’t really asking for anyone’s permission to be loud. To be raunchy. To be abrasive, sexually forthright, honest, ambitious, Jewish, herself.

Most of all, she wasn’t asking for anyone’s permission to be funny, or to be a woman. And in telling, not asking, she became a being so powerful that some men in her field still deny that such a creature exists:  A funny woman.

Because of her, we’ll never stop talking.

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Can we talk?

  1. Milo Miles September 6, 2014 / 4:58 pm

    The piece you wrote about Joan Rivers for the Phoenix was one of the most perceptive and hilarious articles I ever read about anybody. The last lines are etched in my (ever-softening) brain: “Are you kidding? The woman gargles with razor blades! Her first toy was a Klaus Barbie doll! Oh shuuuuure!”

    • Joyce Millman September 7, 2014 / 12:00 pm

      I can’t find that review among my clips! And I can’t believe you remembered so much of it! I think I was more into “showbiz” types than others on the staff, so reviewing Joan was right in my wheelhouse. Sigh, it’s been a tough few weeks for comedy.

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