Come west, funny woman: Joan Rivers talks tattoos, military men and staying sexy in her 70s

From Weekly Volcano



Since her days on The Tonight Show in the 1970s, Joan Rivers has been a comedic icon. Now 78, Rivers, as captured in Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (last year’s film documentary about her life) seems to fear just one thing: a blank calendar. Co-host of E! Entertainment TV’s Fashion Police, she also stars with her daughter, Melissa, on their reality show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? – which has been renewed for its second season on WE network starting in January. When not lambasting celebs for their sartorial mishaps or videotaping Melissa in the shower, Rivers travels the country performing stand-up. Ahead of her gig Nov. 4 at the Pantages, Rivers dished with the Weekly Volcano.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: Joan, lots of people in Tacoma have tattoos. Do you think tattoos are sexy?

JOAN RIVERS: Tattoos are no longer a sign you are low class, just a sign you are an idiot. Then again, I work with Kelly (Osbourne), who has tattoos. But what about in 10 years when you start to fade and sag? Melissa has a tiny bumblebee (tattoo). (The name) Melissa comes from the word honeybee in Greek; she has a blue bee because of her name and Cooper (her son).

VOLCANO: One of the country’s biggest military bases, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is located outside Tacoma. Would you ever date a military man?

RIVERS: I have dated military men. I used to do USO shows – but only for the Confederate side. … Seriously, one of my big charities is the Wounded Warrior Project. Unbelievable the way (service members) come back and people just forget about them. And they’re all 19 years old. I hope the country is worthy.

VOLCANO: Maybe some service members will come to the show.

RIVERS: That would be wonderful. … At least the gays in the military will probably come. And their uniforms will have ruching.

VOLCANO: Can we talk politics? Who do you like for president?

RIVERS: I think they are all horrific. I’m sorry. I’m for abortion rights and freedom of thought. I’m so much against what the Republicans and the Democrats are standing for. … My parents had the spirit of the immigrant and wanted to make life better for their children and thought education was the way. There’s no aspiration anymore. Now everyone’s aspiring to be Snookie.

VOLCANO: So maybe Melissa knew best when she decided not to pose topless for Joe Francis (creator of Girls Gone Wild)?

RIVERS: If you want to be in the business, that is part of it. But she was true to herself and good for her. I want to slap her, but good for her.

VOLCANO: On the show (Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?) Melissa comes across as really down-to-earth.

RIVERS: She has lived a privileged life and it has not affected her. She’s sensitive and an incredible mother and friend. She’s smart as a whip. She’s producing Fashion Police and she has a new website called

VOLCANO: Any advice on how to stay well dressed and sexy into your 70s?

RIVERS: Number one – don’t think about your age. I do not hang out with people my age. Most of my friends are younger. I don’t discuss doctors and operations.  You have to live in a big city; otherwise, you will get really comfortable. Staying young is about, ‘Let’s go to Italy for a weekend.’ …  I am in my 70s so I can do whatever I damn please. … You can wear a short skirt if you’ve still got good legs, just not as short. (Nowadays) being grandma has a different look. … Then again, I’m sure my grandson Cooper and his friends think I’m resurrected from King Tut.


BONUS: There’s a meet and greet with Joan Rivers and Brad Upton to benefit Gilda’s Club directly following the Nov. 4 show. A limited amount of $175 tickets are available through the Broadway Center box office.

Joan Rivers

with Brad Upton
Friday, Nov. 4,
7:30 p.m., $42-$74
Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma

This entry was written by and posted on November 2, 2011 at 9:03 am and filed under Features.