This week I am going to depart from our usual format in order to pay my respects to Joan Rivers upon her passing. Joan Rivers, in my estimation, is a woman who, over the years, has demonstrated unconditional love to her family and friends. For this wonderful trait, I think it is fitting in our blog to remember her. (Before I continue, I want to address the fact that, in her live performances, Joan did digress into some unsavory dialogue, which I did not support; nevertheless, there was much more than her stand-up comedy to admire about Joan Rivers, hence the tribute.)
For the past two years, our family has enjoyed watching Joan Rivers and her daughter, Melissa, on their reality TV show, “Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” On the show, Joan, who was not ruled by the opinions of others, was hilarious as she carried out wild antics, much to her daughter’s chagrin. In every episode, Melissa and Joan sparred about Joan’s newest plot, as Melissa tried to prevent Joan from engaging in another extreme escapade. Melissa was always unsuccessful in holding Joan back from pursuing Joan’s radical plans. Nevertheless, the love and respect between the two women during their skirmishes was undeniable.
It seemed that whatever Joan planned, it was way over-the-top. For instance, in a recent episode, Joan was planning a vacation with her grandson, Cooper, to tour the historic sites on the east coast of the U.S. Other guests on the trip were to be her daughter, Melissa; Cooper’s best friend, Julian; and Joan’s good friend, Martyn (whose long time partner had just passed away). It was just like Joan to remember a friend who needed some cheering up.
Joan told everyone she would hire a van and a driver to chauffeur the five of them from city to city. The plan seemed reasonable (for a change), but with Joan involved, you knew it wouldn’t play out that way. The van turned out to be a full-size, rock star, tour bus that had once been used by Steven Tyler, and other famous recording artists. The bus was elegant, comfortable, and HUGE (way too large for five people, but this is how Joan did things)! On this trip, we saw more of Joan’s usual comedic antics, but we also were privy to some very private moments between Melissa, Cooper, and Joan as they remembered the passing of Joan’s husband, Edgar.
Certainly, Joan was the consummate comedienne who could elicit a chuckle out of most anyone. But she was also a woman of multifaceted emotions, which were evident throughout the “Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” reality series. It was clear that Joan had strong family values, which she carried through to her friendships. She was loyal, generous, and fiercely protective of her family and friends. They all knew they could count on Joan’s assistance in most any situation (and, even received it in circumstances in which they did not want her help).
Joan supported Melissa through serious emotional, romantic disappointments; and she showed the same devotion to her grandson when he was involved in childhood problems. Joan was always willing to extend a helping hand to her friends, even if it was an imposition to her. For example, she let her friends who were comics open for her in her shows. She even taught them how to develop a strong comedic act. It meant nothing to her to give of herself when she was helping a loved one.
Isn’t this what unconditional love is all about, to be patient and kind to others, and to love them even through all their foibles? Joan Rivers was a wonderful role model of U Love, and, in that regard, I applaud her. During her entire career, her heart’s desire was to make us laugh. Joan did, indeed, accomplish that. Yet, little did she know, for me and possibly others, she was also showing us how to love unconditionally. Because of that, I truly appreciated Joan Rivers. She