Few entertainers have had a career like Joan Rivers. She’s filled in for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show,” hosted her own talk show, “The Late Show with Joan Rivers” and won a Daytime Emmy in 1990 for her work on “The Joan Rivers Show.”
Even after five decades, Rivers has remained in the public spotlight through her victory in “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2009, guest work on TV shows like “The Simpsons” and “Louie” and the release of her book, “I Hate Everyone … Starting with Me,” in 2012. She’s best known for her sartorial opinions expressed alongside her daughter Melissa on the red carpet, as well as the TV show “Fashion Police” alongside Kelly Osbourne, Guiliana Rancic and George Kotsiopolous on E!.
Rivers comes to Chandler to perform at the seventh Comic Pain Relief show at the Chandler Center for the Arts on Nov. 15.
Q: What got you involved in this event?
A: [It’s about] chronic pain, which I think after they see my act will be the entire audience, and I think that’s why they booked me. Because I think once they hear my act, they’ll all be in such pain they’ll give and give generously.
It’s a very interesting cause, seriously, because you deal with things that are immediacies … I have a sister who had bad knees, it sounds so stupid, but it crippled her up for 10 years. She was in pain all her life, the last 10 years of it. And it’s a very serious, sad thing to happen to people, and it doesn’t just happen to old people.
It’s a very good cause. My favorite cause, however, is toys for trots, and that’s what I do as soon as the holidays start. I just worry about prostitutes who don’t get good gifts.
Q: What are you looking forward to about coming to Chandler?
A: I love that part of the country; I love the look of the desert when it blooms. I’m very fond, so I can’t wait to see you guys. I’ve never seen it in the fall … it’s going to be great to see.
Q: What are you more proud of as an accomplishment: raising Melissa or winning “Celebrity Apprentice”?
A: The proudest thing in my life is I’ve survived in a very difficult business, and I’m still very viable at this age. It’s an extraordinary business; I was talking to someone yesterday, and it wasn’t a joke, and he said pet food was cutthroat. And I thought to myself ‘you idiot, you want to know cutthroat? Come into show business.’
I don’t consider raising my daughter well as a great accomplishment; that’s DNA, that’s luck and hard work.
Q: You guys seem to have a terrific relationship.
A: We have a good relationship. It’s very volatile; it’s like every mother and daughter. It’s very hard for two women to live in the same house together (note: Melissa and Joan star on the TV show: “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” on WE tv.) — extraordinarily hard. And I think we genuinely love it; I think we’re very happy 70 percent of the time to be with each other. But I think when the door slams, and I say “See you next week,” I don’t hear boo-hoo behind it. I hear a little tap dancing with one foot; I hear a soft shoe shuffle.
Q: What’s the one moment in your career that sticks out in your career, for better or for worse?
A: Probably the highlight of my career was when I got my Emmy; it was a bouncing back from being fired on Carson, fired on Fox, vilified by Carson. You should read the Carson book (“Johnny Carson” by Henry Bushkin), it’s wonderful, by the way, because it really shows what a piece of sh** he was, which I’ve been saying for years and nobody wanted to believe me.
I got my Emmy, and that was the first time ever, the highest point of my life, because it’s something they can’t take away from you. It was a bouncing back; I’d come back from a lot of trouble, my husband’s (Edgar Rosenberg) suicide, a lot of stuff. I got the Emmy; it was extraordinary. I look at that Emmy and I think it’s not so much what it means in the business. It just means everybody can come back; don’t ever think it’s over honey, because you can redo it, you can move on, and you can push forward.
If you go
What: Comic Pain Relief Show
When: Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.
Where: Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave.