Sunday, November 23, 2008

Joan Rivers at the Cutting Room



"You think you're getting a show?
You're getting the ramblings of an old lady."

For a couple of years I've been hearing comedians on talk radio rave about Joan Rivers' sets at a tiny midtown club called the Cutting Room. The other night curiosity got the best of me and we checked it out.

It's an irrisistable prospect: Here's the most sold-out, face-lifted, television-mediocrity, QVC-embarrassment, walking punchline in the world, and in her 70's she suddenly gets the standup bug again. And instead of taking it to Broadway to soak the same rubes who buy her jewelry, she does sets every week she's in town at a little performance space filled with locals who are going to make her work for it.

And work she does. She's on the attack from the word go. Her pop-culture references are mostly 20 years out of date, but who cares, it was as brutal as I'd been led to believe. She started with the California wildfires and just got darker from there, not neglecting to riff on 9/11, the Holocaust, or even her own no-talent daughter along the way.

The crowd eats it up, but a lady at our table did find the Anne Frank material a touch offensive. As Rivers would say, "Is she here?"

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