Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)

Starring: Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Kathy Griffin

Directed by: Ricki Stern & Anne Sundberg

R. 84 mins

Piece of Work chronicles a year in the life of the fiercly intelligent, driven, and hilarious Joan Rivers. Her comedy polarizes an audience but the beauty of this documentary is that even if we aren’t compelled to like her any more or less, we damn well learn to respect her. Rivers is an inspiration and this is a very honest portrait of a celebrity and the industry she desperately needs to love her as much as she loves it. Except for her staff, Rivers is essentially alone and underneath all the makeup there is a very kind and fragile woman. It takes guts to stand up on a stage, alone, and expect people to laugh at you. Rivers feeds off this energy and often says that without her work she is rendered useless. What’s that Marilyn Monroe quote? Ah yes.. “A career is wonderful but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.” This is an honest portrayal of Rivers and ‘the biz’ that is like no other – * * * * 

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