The time Joan Rivers took on the heckler

Joan Rivers died today, and my friend Ryan posted this quick video of Joan taking on a heckler a few years back.

Wow. I’m not entirely sure I’d call the man a heckler. He was, rather, a ticked off father with zero sense of humor. This was, after all, Joan Rivers. Everyone is fair game, including herself. And so long as the joke is told with love, and is obviously not seriously meant to hurt people, I think almost anything is fair game.

Still, damn.

joan-rivers-heckler

I did some googling, and in fact Joan River’s mom went deaf later in life. Rivers’ interview with Joy Behar is really interesting. She gets into a lot of the controversies she created, or at least that surrounded her, over the years.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Palto

    OH PLEASE STFU. Joan was great and you are nobody’s nothing.

  • wmforr

    As a university professor, I have had to give colleagues etiquette lessons on dealing with deaf students. Elementary stuff like, “Look at the student and speak directly to her. Don’t look at the interpreter and say, ‘Tell her that there will be a test…’.”

  • wmforr

    I’m sure one of the things “Thomas Crown” hates about the Left is that they are not all good Christians like him.

    If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, he would be rolling in that tomb.

  • cinorjer

    Anyone who goes to see Joan Rivers knows what she does, knows her type of jokes, and has no right to get pissy just because he hears a Helen Keller joke and has a deaf son. I’ll bet he laughed loudly at her other jokes. That’s like someone going to see Richard Pryor and then yelling out they didn’t like him using the “N” word in his comedy. Or a very religious man going to see George Carlin and yelling out he doesn’t like those remarks putting down religion. If you know what their act is to begin with, why would you pay to go see it if it’s going to make you upset?

  • woodroad34

    I agree. She was on a morning talk show and someone made a silly observation about her and her daughter and she got all pissy and said “This interview is over” and walked off the stage. sounds like she can give it but not take. She’s sometimes funny–but her barbs aren’t really done with “love”, they’re done with viciousness as a catharsis for her bitter life.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Where’s the joke in that?

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Agreed. She wasn’t mocking deaf children. She was mocking herself for not liking children (which probably isn’t even true). Comedy is often rough and crude. If you are easily offended, you probably shouldn’t go to comedy shows.

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    I side with the heckler in this debate. I’m not one that thinks anything said in the name of comedy is okay. How different would the conversation be here if we were talking about a heckler telling Tracy Morgan his joke about stabbing his gay son to death wasn’t funny?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com Bodhi

    “let’s dwell on her good contributions to our lives.” OK, let’s start with zero.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com Bodhi

    Never loved her——she was viscous, vulgar, and never even remotely funny. Even so, RIP.

  • BrandySpears

    That wasn’t the full joke. Michelle Obama is a tranny and Obama is gay. And it was funny.

  • RMNCB

    Love her, even when she offended me.

  • http://wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wicca.htm Colin

    Joan was telling a joke that did not work as well as I am sure she wanted it to.

    RedState contributor “Thomas Crown”:

    I repeat: Should the entire American Left fall over dead tomorrow, I would rejoice, and order pizza to celebrate. They are not my countrymen; they are animals who happen to walk upright and make noises that approximate speech. They are below human. I look forward to seeing each and every one in Hell.

    The rightwing are not joking.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    When you keep a microphone in front of a person as they enter their 70s or 80s, the probability that they’ll say something offensive approaches 1:1.

  • Henson

    And I’m not sure why that posted as a reply to you. It was not directed at your post.

  • http://heimaey.tumblr.us heimaey

    It’s incredibly difficult to be insulting and a good person – although it isn’t as we’re all hypocritical and have double standards. She owned it better than anyone. Laugh at EVERYTHING and EVERYONE because life is too fucking short.

  • Henson

    So many hurt fee-fees here. Sheesh.

    Don’t speak for me, or my family, most of who are hard of hearing or deaf. I myself was knocked out of the Navy for bad hearing. If anyone should have hurt fee-fees, it be me, k? And the bit was funny, her defense of herself was spot-on (comedy is therapy, people), and the recovery shows just what a wit passed this week.

    Lewis Black eulogized her best on twitter: “She had a mouth that never stopped. The silence is deafening.”

    When you refuse to talk about – and joke about – a subject, you give it the power to make you less than human.

  • Russ

    Yeah, I like the one where she joked about how “gay” Obama is. That was HIL-AR-IOUS! Yeah, her 15 minutes were up 30 years ago.

  • nicho

    Joan Rivers: “Palestinians deserve to be dead.” Now, there’s a knee slapper. What a dame!

  • SkippyFlipjack

    RIVERS: I said, at the end my mother was deaf. I never do a joke unless I`ve had personal association.

    BEHAR: Oh your mother was deaf. Yes.

    RIVERS: At the end she lost her hearing. She got — so don`t tell me about it because I know what that`s like.

    I don’t think Joan has to defend individual jokes, and probably shouldn’t, because she winds up making bullsh!t excuses like this. Going deaf at the end of your life, which many people do, is not at all like being deaf as a child, or having a child who’s deaf. “I’m sorry your daughter died, I can totally relate, my hamster passed away last week.” Just shut up.

  • Drew2u

    But those are your own kids, too. The guy obviously took it as a personal slight when it wasn’t meant to be and I’m sure, depending on the kid’s age, the father made a few fatherly comments about his own son. It would be like gay guys calling each other fags or something. Though as I said in my own post, neither side came off well. It’s more unfortunate than anything.

  • Drew2u

    From Wisconsin?? Now I got to watch.

    I can’t say either side came off well in the clip. I stopped the video just as she was walking off the stage (in regards to kingstonbears’ comment). Growing up with a deaf sister and with how controversial Joan Rivers’ humor can be, I was expecting something worse, but I just understood it as Hellen Keller at face value and not, “yeah! Deaf kids!”
    With that said, I do get frustrated when, say, a popular local-ish morning radio show host thick-tongue-bleats in imitation of a deaf person or the deaf-and-dumb mindset that is somewhat pervasive in the collective unconscious.
    (but Osama Bin Laden on dialysis? hilarious!)

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I know what the guy was feeling. It’s terribly easy to fall into the protector mode. Then I remember some of the things I have said about my own children. I remember saying I wanted to bury them when they were twelve and dig them up when they were twenty. I remember saying I was waiting for them to turn back into human beings. I would hope I would remember these things if a comic said something that upset me, but who knows?

  • kingstonbears

    Definitely NOT one of her better moments, and her comments at the end? Talk about self-serving. But for now let’s dwell on her good contributions to our lives.

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