joan rivers one

An American Woman



flash heat heat-seeking
seek missile tons of money
ton scratch zipper
comedy legend upside down
empty breast calling
real explain whiner
hate hug just like
invite A-list grow/grew/grown
grow up indeed see the likes of
mentor protege eventually
fired compete commit suicide
bulimia depression meltdown
melt bounce bounce back
end up stage low-point
onstage offstage increasingly
shock perhaps appendectomy
funny nerve have the nerve



Video One



Host: Here’s Joan Rivers!

Joan: My hot flashes are so bad, I was hit by a heat-seeking missile. You don’t know.
Joan: If I want to see three people who make tons of money, and they have no talent, I will not watch you guys; I will watch the Kardashians.

TV Host: What happened to your eye? What happened?
Joan: I scratched it on Al Roker’s zipper.

Host: And now it’s time to bring out the man of the hour: comedy legend, Joan Rivers!

Joan: I drew an upside-down glass because I have not seen a shot this empty since I saw shots with Tina Lowhead.

Joan: I’m sure some of you out there are wondering if my breasts are real. Okay let me just explain to you: this one is; this one isn’t.

Joan: What we do is a calling my dear; we make people happy. It’s a calling.

Video Two



Joan: I hated China! I hate whiners! Oh, I hate dead people!

Joan: I thought marriage would be hugging and kissing just like in the movies.

Journalist: Joan Rivers wrote a book. It was called I Hate Everything, Starting with Me.

There’s a good reason she didn’t get invited to many of Hollywood’s A-list parties.

Born Joan Molinsky, she grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Her big break was the Tonight Show in the 60s. America, indeed nowhere had seen anything like Joan River.

Eventually she got her own late night show, competing with her old Tonight Show friend and mentor, Johnny Carson. What she hadn’t done was tell Johnny Carson; he never spoke to her again.

Within a year, she and her husband, Edgar, who was producing the show, were fired. Edgar committed suicide. Bulimia, depression and career meltdown; it was a low point.

But she bounced back. She was still performing in her 80s.

Joan: I mean this is depressing: 40 years in the business and this is where you end up.

Joan: I mean these are good pages. These are really good pages: 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock, 12 o’clock.

She believed in work, both onstage and increasingly on that face.

Joan: I have a friend who just got married. This woman is 32 years old. She had 14 appendectomies if you know what I’m telling you.

Journalist: She loved to shock. Indeed the reason we can perhaps these days talk about anything is because people like Joan Rivers really had the nerve to say the unsayable—and really make it funny.


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1. Who was Joan Rivers? Did she change her name?

2. She was always famous. True or false?

3. Was Johnny Carson married to Joan? Was Johnny Carson Joan’s husband?

4. Joan’s career and life had always been a success. Is this correct or wrong?

5. Were people shocked by Joan? Had audiences seen anyone like Joan before? Why wasn’t she invited to A-list parties?

6. Was Joan a pioneer, a ground breaker?
A. Who are some popular comedians in your country? Describe them.

B. Is it okay or taboo to tell nasty or offensive jokes on TV or at clubs?

C. I know people who are like Joan. I know people who behave like Joan. Yes or no?

D. What will happen in the future?

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