It’s hard to think that less than a month ago the world lost a comic genius and now it loses another who blazed the way for women comedians. Joan Rivers passed away yesterday at the age of 81 at 1:17 pm. I was a huge fan of her work for a long time. I’ve seen all her movies, I LOVED her TV show, Joan and Melissa, enjoyed her books so it was hard to know there is one less comedy show every night now.
This was a woman who never stopped working and she taught me alot about (show) business, and that is if you want to work in show business you have to go out and create your own work because if you sit around and wait, the world will pass you by. That is how I live my life in all that I do. I don’t wait to get a paycheck from someone I go out and create the work that people want and give it to them. She proved that by winning celebrity apprentice and Donald Trump’s tweets showed his gratitude for it yesterday, read all three of his here (Tweet 1, Tweet 2, Tweet 3.)
Joan River’s humor was unlike any other. She didn’t like political correctness and you can tell by the jokes she would tell.
– My best birth control now is just to leave the lights on.
– I have no sex appeal. If my husband didn’t toss and turn, we’d never have had the kid.
She was fearless in her jokes and it is what made people come to see her speak. Joan knew her limits when she started but always tried to push it to the line and it’s what made her edgy. I remember watching her movie, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” and thinking how hard she works to keep herself busy. One of her friends remarked about why she is always so busy and shy she worried about her calendar being empty. She said that she gets scared when she sees empty slots. Joan’s remark to always being busy is the same as a mother who is always busy taking care of her family, to Joan being busy meant people still cared about her.
Business Tips from the Pro
Tip 1. If you are not getting any work, create your own
In the show, Joan and Melissa: Joan knows best?, Joan talked about wanting another TV show where she could interview people again to find out what others are doing in the industry. She was having a hard time getting studios to pick up her idea but when someone told her that she could use YouTube to create her own show and not have to worry about censors stopping her from saying what ever she wanted it was a no brainer. She created her show, In Bed with Joan, to sit in bed with industry friends to talk about what they are up to and any news they would like to share. She made 72 episodes all on her own in her daughter’s house, Melissa, after she moved in. Bottom line, if you need work, go out and create it for yourself. Give the world what you are good at.
Tip 2. If something isn’t working, change your method right away
In another episode of the show Joan and Melissa decide to start a food trunk, Joan sees that her products are not moving like she thought they would so she went out to other customer’s and stole them from the lines. She knew she had a great idea but it wasn’t moving so the thing Joan does best is thinking on her feet and she went out and get customers to start coming over, not without controversy though. You can watch the clip here about how she did it.
Tip 3. When Selling, Always Develop a Story to Tell (& Act it Out if Need Be)
Joan understands that when you sell something you have to give the person something to work with. The best thing she knows is telling stories because that is what comedians are great at, they can make up stories right then and there and have it mean something in the end. If you ever watched her on the Home Shopping Network, she doesn’t just talk about the details she explains the whole idea of how that product came to be. In another episode where she had to sell a house she knew she needed a great presentation so she hired a team to make the house look amazing on the inside. Presentation was everything but only a small part, you had to create an environment the people interested in buying the house could see themselves living in. After all that she takes them room by room talking about their life and explaining how each room could fit their way of living.
Tip 4. Talk and Meet with Anyone who will Talk with you about Business
What made Joan such an amazing person was that she would always take the time out to chat with her fans and take photos with them. This was so common during the show, she would be walking along in public and people would come right up to her and ask for an autograph and she would be happy to do it real quick. Many times she would run into people in the business and find out what is going on with them and if she could land a meeting with them she would take it. It meant the chance of getting more work.
There was a time when she was auditioning for a role and it called for an older lady who looked very much like a grandmother. Before meeting with the director for lunch she hired a make-up person to fix her up, went out and got some clothes to make her look older and look the part with grey sweaters and a purse with stuff grandmother’s would carry, like hard candy. She treated the whole lunch as if it was an audition, making the other person very uncomfortable, but that is what you have to do if you want something bad enough, show you are serious. In order to convey to anyone looking for her in the news she was looking the part but of course in show business public image is everything and sine she was part of fashion police, a show that points out people breaking all the fashion rules, it was hurting her image. When talking with her personal manager he made it the point to say to her that she couldn’t go out looking like she was poor, people were used to seeing Joan River’s wearing very elegant and fancy clothing. After that she changed.
Tip 5. Do what it Takes to Win and Never Accept No for an Answer
Celebrity apprentice really put Joan in the news for a long time after winning because her methods on the show were so unorthodox. She had no problem getting in people’s faces about what it she was doing. If she had to sell Hot Dogs, she didn’t wait behind the cart she would stop people and talk to them and find out if they were hungry or interested in trying one of her “delicious” hot dogs. If she got a no then it meant she needed to try something different. Maybe move her cart to another area where there are lots of people, and to hell with permit rules. She made it a point to show that you must do everything you can to get the attention of people if you plan to sell, plus it doesn’t hurt to know other celebrities in the industry that you can bring in to help raise money, which in the end is what helped her to win after she raised more than $150,830 dollars for a charity that provides meals to the seriously ill. It was her determination and energy that Donald saw in her that made her the 14th Celebrity Apprentice to win.
In the upcoming session of celebrity apprentice it is said that Joan will have two appearances.
When Costco tried to ban her book from their stores she took to the store to promote the public’s awareness about what they were trying to do to her. You can see just how passionate Joan is when anyone tries to interfere with the work she has done. She knows how to make the press and she did it by bringing her own film crew to broadcast the event. You can read about what she thought about the event and watch how it all unfolded here.
Tip 6. Take Whatever Work You can Get if it means getting your name out there Faster
The night before her throat surgery she was doing a hour and a half show at the local comedy club. That was the thing about Joan she loved those little comedy clubs and she would pop in on them all the time asking if she can do a routine she just worked on to test it out. It wasn’t that she was just testing out her stuff it was also that she was putting her face and name out in the public. She talked about that on the show as well and why those little comedy clubs were so important to her. It was more important to stay busy as a comic and take any time slot you could get if it meant keeping your name fresh in people’s minds. When a comic doesn’t do as many shows anymore it might signal to the public that they are slowing down or switching careers.
The other thing she did was write a lot. She was always concerned about her next book deal and as of this writing, all her books, movies, and even TV show on amazon were sold out. There was a 90,000% spike in sales for anything she was in and wrote. The last book she wrote was a collection of jokes she had. I remember watching in her movie when she showed in her New York penthouse, the filing cabinet where she holds all the jokes she has ever written. This might mean there will still be more books of her jokes to come. I was amazed at how detailed and meticulous she was about her jokes, they were all neatly filed according to subject matter and even had a date on the corner of when she came up with it. That was one serious organized business lady.
She was involved in social media in every way, she had millions of followers on twitter, thousands on instagram, and millions of views on her youtube channel. This lady knew how to use everything she could to get her name out there and she taught herself how to use each of them.
Joan Rivers leaves behind an amazing, and thriving, television and comedy career and it goes to show that she was always busy with her career. She was always thinking about who she was having lunch with the next day, what press events she needed to attend, and where her next show would be at. Infact, Joan’s schedule for this fall was full, leaving a very sad Sarah Silverman without a partner in a show she was to perform with in two weeks based on her tweet.
Whether you never watched any of her work or read any of her books, this was a lady that told the world she wasn’t done. In another episode of her TV show, Joan talked with Melissa, before a minor plastic surgery operation, that if she was to die right now she would have no regrets (article). She lived an amazing life and always told everyone she cared about how much she loved them. On the show she always told Melissa and her son, Cooper, just how much she family met to her and how much she loved them.
I looked forward to the next session of Joan and Melissa but will cherish all the laughs you gave me from everything before. You had so much more to give to the world and I had hoped to hear your thoughts on what you thought of being in a coma but I’m sure it would have had something to do with what you were wearing. In a statement left by her daughter and grandson, they said they were grateful for the outpouring of love the world has sent their way. Joan Rivers said how she wanted her funeral to be, a very lavish affair and so I hope she gets her wish. NYTimes reported how the event went on her memorial service.
If you have never seen the show Joan and Melissa, WeTV will be airing their favorite episodes this sunday (Sept 7), the day she will be buried, starting from 9 am until 3 pm (central time) so please watch it to see just how funny, business smart, and charming this legend was.
TVland will be airing How’d You Get So Rich from 5 – 9 pm, a show where Joan visited some of the richest people around to find out how they got so rich from 2010.
Thanks for showing me another way of seeing how funny this world can be. You will be missed.
Joan Rivers part of documentary MAKERS: Women in Comedy, airing on PBS September 30
The Roast of Joan Rivers
I hate everyone….starting with me
Diary of a Diva
Bouncing Back : I’ve Survived Everything…and I Mean Everything…and You Can Too!
Men Are Stupid . . . And They Like Big Boobs: A Woman’s Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery
Don’t Count the Candles: Just Keep the Fire Lit!
From Mother to Daughter: Thoughts and Advice on Life, Love, and Marriage
Having a Baby can be a Scream
Murder at the Academy Awards
The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz