Joan Rivers is My Grandmother

The first time I ever did stand up comedy was also the first time I ever wore drag. Dressed in streetwalker makeup and leopard print everything, I took the stage at Moorpark College’s Improv Comedy Showcase and delivered my monologue about all the cats I owned, their crazy names, and how I could not live without Siegfried and Roy.

I was 18.

I was playing my Grandmother. She was in the audience that night and thought the show was “fabulous!” (Her words, not mine).**

She came to LA in the early 1950s from Wheeling, WV, a town that I’m pretty sure just installed their 4th traffic light.

My grandmother always knew she was obsessed with show business and has done everything she can to stay on top… the gossip. The only person I’ve ever met who has an actual subscription to the National Enquirer, she still knows more about what’s going on with Lindsay Lohan than you. Yes you. Also she just purchased an iPad. What other family you know where the grandmother is the tech savvy person?

My Grandmother and and Uncle. Notice the couture.

And she likes cats, lots of them, and Las Vegas. Due to health problems she was unable to make her annual pilgrimage to the Mecca of Vegas-obsessed cat ladies: Siegfried and Roy at the Mirage. Roy was then mauled by a Tiger. She has never lived it down. We went to console her in the hospital but she wouldn’t let us see her without makeup.

So imagine my surprise when I went to my local arthouse (read: on campus) theater the other day to watch Joan Rivers swear. Alot.

Joan Rivers won’t let anyone see her until she’s put her face on. She doesn’t want to see HERSELF before putting her makeup on. She wears a lot of gawdy clothes. She is completely obsessed with celebrities. She sounds like she uses the word “fabulous” alot. And most importantly she lives how she wants.

Joan Rivers always knew she would be in show business and has done everything she can to stay on top and relevant.

You guys. Joan Rivers is my Grandmother.

Both have taught me important lessons in comedy. Sometimes your best bet is to be outrageous and not give a shit what others think. Wear what you want. Say what you want. And whatever you do, do NOT leave the house without first putting on your face.

**Yes, I am aware of what rumors this undoubtedly brings. Story of my life.

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About Joe Faina

Rhetoric & Media Professor, Writer, Humorist

Posted on 07/23/2010, in Cats, Comedy, Grandmother, Joan Rivers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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