R.I.P. Joan Rivers

by John Fund

I only met Joan Rvers once, many years ago backstage after one of her performances. We had a nice chat about politics, which she was careful to note was never more than a bit player in her routines. ”Why alienate half the potential ticket-buyers with political stuff that is usually more sad than funny?” was her pithy explanation.

But no mistake about it: Joan Rivers gave no quarter to liberals or political correctness. ”I am for anyone that will give me lower taxes [and] stop all the stupid spending,” she explained in a 2009 interview. When asked if  the other views of the candidate mattered, she simply responded “Who cares?” 

Of course, she did care. In a recent year she made $6,750 in contributions. A measly $500 went to a single Democrat, $3,000 went to Republicans and $3,250 went to a pro-Israel political-action committee. Just weeks before her death she gave passionate defense of Israel’s actions in the face of Hamas rocket bombing.

Rivers had a knack for summing up her philosophy: “I think if I work very hard, I should be able to gather the fruits of my labor. And I think if you’re not about to work, you should get minimal and leave me alone.”

When it came to comic one-liners and zingers Joan Rivers didn’t leave us alone for a full half-century and more of performing. We are all the better for having her bite, even if it sometimes turned into bile. All of it was funny because we knew she was being her outrageous self.