Joan Rivers: Don't Start with Me Scott L. Montoya

Joan Rivers: Don't Start with Me Scott L. Montoya
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Joan Rivers (who will be 80 this year) has opened many doors for female comics, regularly appearing on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show before women were embraced within comedy. She's also had a non-stop career in almost every avenue of the entertainment industry, hosting her own talk show, appearing regularly on game shows like Hollywood Squares and commentating at various award shows and industry events. There's no denying that the woman is a talented legend with a biting wit, but her first stand-up comedy DVD release, Don't Start with Me, doesn't demonstrate this at all. Starting the show with a backstage defensive remark about media criticisms that suggest she's lost some of her skills with old age, she indirectly points out why her act is desperate and strained, reaching for the offensive card without any context or clever observation, trying to modernize herself in an awkward manner. She frames the act by acknowledging every piety in the audience, saying that the brainless gays can stay, but the humourless lesbians have to sit at the back. Asian women, being thieves of married men, aren't welcome at the show, but fat people are more than welcome to stick around. She also has some choice observations about Mexicans, blacks and "retards," which, on their own are fine, but for the most part, she just makes a broad racist statement and a "Where's Arnie?" noise without framing it or giving it a bigger social context so that it actually comes off as funny. She does make an effort to poke fun at herself, discussing her lack of sexual flexibility as a septuagenarian, but since she's stuttering all the time and jumping between topics without any flow, it's difficult to discern any sort of intention. Within Don't Start with Me are some tidbits of insightful comedy gold, but Rivers doesn't know how to deliver any of it anymore. No supplements are included with the DVD, which isn't unusual for a comedy DVD. (eOne)