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Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

A year long ride with legendary comedian Joan Rivers in her 76th year.  JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK peels away the mask of an iconic comedian and exposes the struggles, sacrifices and joys of this groundbreaking female performer.

Director: Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg
Year: 2010
Time: 84 min

 Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
(2010) on IMDb

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Ways to Influence

Share this film. Give others the chance to laugh and be inspired by Joan Rivers. Develop your inner comedienne and find other funny women at Funny Women.

Learn more about the filmmakers of JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK and support their future efforts at Break Thru Films.

Follow Joan Rivers example. She backs a number of charities such as Habitat for Humanity and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which are always grateful for additional support.

Find out more about female comics – do some research and be inspired. If you want to support female comedians, search for Women Hosted Comedy Podcasts.

Related Articles and Resources

Roger Ebert on Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

The late film critic Roger Ebert, a legend himself, reviews JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK with the strong appreciation that only one warhorse can offer another.  Ebert writes about Rivers’ tough-as-nails exterior with equal measures of admiration and wariness. He praises the filmmakers for revealing so many facets of this legendary comic: the good, the bad, and the downright scary.

Read Ebert’s review.

Interview with filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg

In this video interview, the directors reveal how they gained access to Joan Rivers and crafted their vision while following Joan for more than a year.

Women Aren’t Funny?

One of the most controversial articles of Christopher Hitchens’ career, this article set off a firestorm of debate that lingers today.

Rusty Warren: The Knockers Up Gal

Rusty Warren was a 1960’s female comedian who paved the way for women like Joan Rivers. Known as the ‘Knockers Up Gal,’ Warren has been called the mother of the sexual  revolution. She exposed the subject of sex from a female perspective. Her most famous contribution was the song, “Knockers Up” from the 1960 album of the same name.

Hear the song and learn more about this dynamite woman in this video.

And the Winner Is… An Interview with Joan Rivers

“I just thought that the work that these two girls do is extraordinary, and I thought they could really get an honest picture of what it’s like for a year in the life of a performer. And I think they did.”

Read this Q&A in which Joan discusses the documentary, her early career, and her opinions on a variety of topics. Joan’s voice comes through strong and clear and she is as sharp as ever.

Why Do Comedians Become Comedians?

What makes someone get onstage and try to make people laugh?

In this article, Psychology Today explores what might make people go for the laughs, despite facing some pretty tough odds for success.

Joan Rivers: “Surviving Suicide of Loved One”

Learn how the unexpected death of Joan’s husband impacted her. Hear from other survivors and mental health professionals.

Watch it on Larry King Live

25 Female Comedians Everyone Should Know

It wasn’t so long ago that Christopher Hitchens said that women simply aren’t funny. Other male comedians have paid little more than lip service to the struggle women face to be accepted in this male-dominated field.

FlavorWire gives you 25 funny women to consider.


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