Bravo Media via Getty Images
Odds have it that you’ve been put off by Joan Rivers at one point or another. Just a few weeks back, before health problems took way for the 81-year-old comedian, a good chunk of society took umbrage with a her expression of antipathy for the Palestinian civilians killed in a military attack. Throughout her years in film, television, the stage, and every red carpet we can remember, Rivers has taken heat for a wide variety of jokes that the world deemed too crass, insensitive, or otherwise politically incorrect. But Joan, who believed in comedy above all else — whose principal devotion was not to any one individual, group, or political leaning, but to the very idea of the laugh — never let up.
Rivers must have understood that this was the kind of attitude — no, ideology —necessary to weather the challenges of starting a career in the boys’ club that was the comedy world of the 1960s… hell, that remains the comedy world to this day. But the vigor with which Rivers established herself was wholly important for not only the future of women in comedy, but for the very idea of comedy altogether.
This bravado demanded that her targets be indiscriminate: she’d mock individuals as beloved as Elizabeth Taylor and Adele, mine comedy from events as sensitive as the Holocaust and the Ariel Castro kidnappings. With each new “crossing of the line,” as it were, Rivers would face more and more backlash. Rivers carried through in the face of professional setbacks — like the cold shoulder of Johnny Carson (after she accepted a television series opposite The Tonight Show) and 18-year-long banishment from the late night institution where she got her start — as well as personal tragedy, notably the suicide of her husband Edgar Rosenberg. Throughout all, Rivers entrenched herself in comedy and vice versa, proving often that she was her favorite thing to make fun of.
It is unlikely that Rivers, an active force in comedy for more than half a century and riddled with tenacity up to the end of her life, didn’t offend each of us at one time. While her legions of watchers and listeners might hold true to the ideals of sensitivity, compassion, and courtesy — all perfectly legitimate values, in fact — Rivers’ allegiance was to one thing only, and she held true to this maxim without a hiccup. Whether it was a conscious decision to remain strong and convicted in the face of adversity, attack, and the relentless erosions of life, or simply the nature of the acerbic and cunning Brooklynite, Rivers wore the philosophy like a glove: making people laugh is what she was here for. And she sure as hell made sure to do it.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
Outlandish comic Joan Rivers is refusing to apologise after she came under fire for making a joke about the Cleveland, Ohio kidnappings. The funnywoman made an appearance on America's Today Show on Tuesday (22Apr14) and was talking about living with her daughter Melissa for their reality show Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best? when she said, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space."
The quip was in reference to the three females who escaped kidnapper Ariel Castro in May last year (13) after being kept imprisoned in his home for many years.
A lawyer for two of the women, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, subsequently fired off an angry statement slamming the comedienne and branding her comment "beyond shocking and disappointing".
However, Rivers is refusing to back down, and has made another joke about the three victims' ordeal, telling TMZ.com, "They got to live rent free for more than a decade. One of them has a book deal. Neither are in a psych ward. They're ok. I bet you within three years one of them will be on Dancing with the Stars."
In another statement to Ohio newspaper The Plain Dealer, she adds, "I'm a comedienne. I know what those girls went through. It was a little, stupid joke. There is nothing to apologise for. I made a joke. That's what I do. They're free, so let's move on."
Actress Kate Mara has dismissed false reports suggesting she is to star in a TV movie based on the shocking Cleveland, Ohio kidnappings. The House of Cards actress had reportedly been tapped to play Michelle Knight, one of three women who escaped kidnapper Ariel Castro in May last year (13) after being kept imprisoned in his home.
However, Mara subsequently took to her Twitter.com page to distance herself from the project.
Alongside a link to an article, she writes, "Wait. I did? I should call my agent..."
Actress Kate Mara is reportedly in talks to portray Ohio kidnap victim Michelle Knight in a TV movie. Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus hit the headlines last year (May13), when they were rescued from their Cleveland captor's home after a decade-long ordeal, when a neighbour heard their screams for help.
Knight, who was sick Ariel Castro's first victim, claimed she suffered five miscarriages while she was held captive, and producers at Sony have been keen to adapt her desperate story ever since the dramatic rescue.
A source tells the New York Daily News, "They feel that Kate would be able to capture Michelle's vulnerability and psychological pain."
They are also looking to cast a "reasonably known TV actor" to play Castro and are reportedly considering Lincoln's David Costabile and Emilio Estevez for the kidnapper role.
In August (13), Castro was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years in prison, but he committed suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet in his cell the following month (Sep13).
Convicted killer and rapist Ariel Castro has been found dead in an apparent suicide. The 53-year-old former bus driver was reportedly discovered hanging in his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, on Tuesday night (Sep13).
Castro had spent the last four months behind bars, and was sentenced in August (13) to life in prison plus 1,000 years, with no chance of parole, for kidnapping Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus and sexually assaulting them while keeping them captive in his home for more than a decade.
A statement from The Department of Corrections reads, "Upon finding inmate Castro, prison medical staff began performing life saving measures. Shortly after he was transported to OSUMC where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 pm. A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation."
Rapper Nelly invited kidnap victim Amanda Berry on to the stage at his gig in Ohio over the weekend (27-28Jul13) Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held captive at a home in Cleveland for 10 years and were finally freed when a neighbour heard her screams in May (13).
The 27 year old made her first public appearance since she was reunited with her family at Nelly's concert at the The Roverfest venue in her hometown, and he pulled her up on stage to pay tribute to her strength and courage.
He said, “I wanna make sure we get a chance to thank you cause I know it’s a long time. I can’t even imagine the type of courage and strength it took to keep it going so, I commend you and thank you.”
The appearance came as her kidnapper Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to hundreds of charges as part of a plea deal, which will see him spend the rest of his life behind bars with no chance of parole.