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Catching Up With Joan and Melissa Rivers


The mother-daughter duo dishes with Out about the new season of their reality show, gay weddings, smoking weed and plastic surgery

Imagine what it would be like to live with Joan Rivers. It would be amazing, right? You'd have an Oscar-watching partner, for one (one-liners on everyone from Cate Blanchett to Bjork), but most importantly, you'd never be able to leave your house in a half-baked outfit. Joan would stop you at the front door, confiscate your car keys until you change, and burn the thing after you leave. You'd be looking fly 24/7.

But what would it be like to have Joan Rivers as your mother? That's the conceit of Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?, which begins its second season on WE tv tonight. The first season had its fair share of mother-daughter drama (and plenty of laughs), so we were expecting more of the same when we attended a screening of the second season premiere The screening, a mostly-low-key event held for WE staff, press, and apparently Alex McCord of Real Housewives fame ("I didn't invite her, but that's lovely that she came," said Joan), did not disappoint: the premiere, which chronicles Joan's latest plastic surgery, is just as funny and dramatic as we hoped it would be.

To find out more, we spoke with Joan and Melissa. Here's what they had to say about the episode and the upcoming season (and why they love the gays):

OUT: Joan, there's a great moment in the first episode, right before you go into surgery, when you're telling Melissa that you've had a good life together, that you've had a good run, etc. This is after Melissa and some friends held a "skintervention" for you earlier in the episode, where they told you they were worried you might die in surgery. In that moment before surgery, did you actually think that you might not make it?

Joan: Oh, absolutely! You don't take surgery lightly. I don't take surgery lightly. You're really testing your body, so I think it's important to make your peace before any kind of operation.

At the end of the episode you tell Melissa that you're through with surgery. Were you serious when you said that?

Joan: Oh no! No one is ever done. I mean, you see how great Jane Fonda looks and you go, 'Oh, I have to look like that, I have to be more aware of how I look.'

So you feel a lot of pressure to keep getting surgeries?

It's the business! And anyone who tells me it doesn't matter is just silly. Of course it matters. We're a youth-oriented business, and we like to look at pretty people. It's true for gay men, and straight men, and gay girls, and straight girls... everybody. No one wants to look at someone who's unattractive.

And what about that teaser for upcoming episodes? It looks like Joan is taking a bong hit.


Melissa: Yep, that's what it looks like.

Are you a secret pot-head, Joan?

Melissa: That's the second episode. My mother's having a tremendous amount of stress, and decides that she needs some medicinal marijuana.

Joan: It's California...

At the screening, someone asked you how you felt about the word 'tranny' not being politically correct anymore, and you said...

Joan: 'Who the fuck cares?' I'm just sick of all this. We all are. You know, gay men are now getting married--we've come a long way. So who cares about the 'tranny' thing? I have tranny friends who call themselves trannies. So who decided they shouldn't?

30 Rock just satirized last summer's Tracy Morgan scandal. Did you feel the same way about the public's negative reaction to Morgan during that whole debacle?

Joan: He was trying to be funny, and controversial...

Melissa: ...but there's a line which you can't cross. Was that the best choice of words? No.

Joan: Also, if you do want to stab your gay son, then at least make sure to stab him in the stomach so that he can have a nice flat stomach. It gets rid of the fat. Then, people can go 'Ooh, look at that definition.'

After the screening, you said you wished your grandson was gay.

Joan: And I wasn't even joking! You know how I love gay men. So it makes me terribly sad, I'm not kidding, that nobody in my household cares about Judy Garland. All they care about is who's gonna win the Super Bowl. You know, no one around here gets excited when I say 'I saw the original Follies!' Basically, I wish Melissa had two would be Cooper, and he'd be Mr. Athletic as he is, and she would be happy. But then she'd have another with a wonderful name like Percy. And he would sit with Grandma and we'd just talk about how great Eleanor Lambert was.

Does this season have anything in store for Tony Tripoli, the gay comic/Fashion Police head-writer who appears on your show? A boyfriend, maybe?

Joan: No, but he should get one. He has his own act in Provincetown, he plays there every summer and he's terrific. He also performs for a lot of gay cruises. But he hasn't hooked up with anyone.

Melissa: He's a bit unlucky in love.

Speaking of gays getting together, do you guys have any favorite gay couples?

Both: Modern Family.

Good choice. What about celeb couples?

Melissa: Well, we don't have many choices... David and Elton, Ellen and Portia...

Joan: Oprah and Gayle.

Melissa: I just like seeing happy couples. And, you know, my friends who are gay have more stable and solid relationships than my friends who are straight. They just last longer, they seem to survive the test of time.

Joan: It's all turning. When we look around, we see gay couples everywhere...some of our friends have been at it for 50 years. And we've gone to a million gay weddings this year.

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