Joan Rivers’ old jokes about Palm Beach discovered by author


While Scott Currie was co-writing “Joan Rivers Confidential: The unseen scrapbooks, joke cards, personal files, and photos of a very funny woman who kept everything” with Rivers’ daughter Melissa, he discovered these jokes about Palm Beach in her files. An interview with Currie follows.

JOAN’S PALM BEACH JOKES

Christmas in Palm Beach is different. The nativity scene in front of Neiman Marcus has a concierge, a room service cart, a manicurist…

Palm Beach is one of only a few places where plastic surgery falls under the category of “City Beautification.”

Contrary to popular belief, money does not grow on Palm Beach trees. Gold leaf does, though.

I love The Palm Beach Post. Their international coverage includes what’s going on in Riviera Beach.

The temperature today in Palm Beach is (TEMPERATURE), which is also the average age of the people living here.

Palm Beach is different. The cops here will ticket you for driving a car under fifty thousand.

I got a ticket for driving without a chauffeur.

Palm Beach has no traditions. The oldest historical landmark here is (OLD LOCAL CELEBRITY)

The bad news is that one-third of the roads in Palm Beach need restorative work. Even worse is that one-third of the people do, too.

***

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

Joan Rivers loved that quote.

She’d recite it often while selling her jewelry collection on QVC.

Perhaps she repeated it so much because the person she was cheering on was herself — little Joan Molinsky from Brooklyn, who claimed to have stolen a book from the Brooklyn Library called “Your Career In Show Business” when she was 8.

By the time she died in 2014 at 84, Rivers had joked, scraped and climbed her way to the top of show biz, TV retailing and red-carpet fashion policing.

She was a true “Piece of Work,” as the 2010 documentary about her was called.

One fascinating piece of the Joan puzzle: For a woman who cherished the present and seemed in a perpetual state of forward motion, she left a trail of bread crumbs to every part of her past.

Well … more like a trail of bread trucks.

Rivers saved everything.

“After my mother died, I found myself swimming in boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of all her stuff … not to mention the storage bills and storage bills and storage bills and storage bills to store all those boxes,” Melissa Rivers writes in the new book, “Joan Rivers Confidential: The unseen scrapbooks, joke cards, personal files, and photos of a very funny woman who kept everything.”

Melissa co-wrote the book with Joan’s longtime friend Scott Currie, who spent more than a year sorting through the piles of memorabilia — every joke (typed and printed on index cards), every program, every note from a celebrity, every transcript from “The Tonight Show,” and on and on.

Currie pored through it all, creating binders of Joan’s stuff, one for each decade.

“I picked things that moved me, things that told a story,” Currie says. “Every day was like ‘Sophie’s Choice’ — it was very difficult to narrow down what we could fit in the book, and what would reveal a hopeful, inspiring story about a little girl who always wanted to be famous.”

“She was in on the joke”

What Currie and Melissa created could be the funniest self-help book of the decade.

Yes, it’s a self-help book — even though it’s not billed that way.

If you look through it and don’t feel encouraged, you’re “dried up,” as Joan might crack.

Cue a Joan joke: “At my age, I drink a menopause cocktail. Vodka and estrogen. A Dried-Up Mary.”

Each of the 336 pages is filled with joke cards, photos and notes — it’s a real scrapbook, providing personality and context you can’t get from an email string.

Currie was inspired by Rivers’ own scrapbooks — 55 of them! — which she had kept since she was a child.

“Her first performance program is glued in there! Proof that she was going somewhere,” he says. “And she kept so many things from the National Enquirer. It was so hysterical. She was in on the joke.”

Currie will be in West Palm Beach on Thursday to talk about his friend and sign books at the Kips Bay Design Show House.

Rivers visited Palm Beach so often, she kept a joke file on the town: “Palm Beach is different … I got a ticket for driving without a chauffeur.”

Currie met Rivers at one of his first jobs out of college, when he became associate producer of her daytime talk show.

“It was almost the lowest rung on the totem pole,” he says. “I wore white socks when I met her. I dressed like I was going to a cocktail party.”

Still, the fashion police must have approved. Rivers sensed a kindred spirit in Currie — “we were on the same page” — and became a second mother to him.

For the last 15 years of her life, they spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the Jewish holidays together, with Joan hosting soirees in her Marie-Antoinette-style Manhattan apartment.

He’d also go for late-night snacks with her — her favorite? “Altoids” — after her regular Tuesday-night gig in New York.

Rivers’ last chapter of life brought her new success and a “New York family” that would be by her side to the end, including Currie and style expert David Dangle, who now produces and sells the Joan Rivers jewelry and clothing lines on QVC.

She won the 1990 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show host, and her speech brought the audience to tears, because they knew her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, had killed himself three years earlier, and Johnny Carson had broken off his ties to her, after their longtime association on “The Tonight Show.”

“Two years ago, I couldn’t get a job in this business, and it was my husband, Edgar Rosenberg, who said, ‘You could turn things around.’”

Her entire essence was about turning things around — a trait that changed Currie’s life.

“She was very focused on moving on, moving ahead, having three irons in the fire,” he recalls. “Every time things didn’t go right in my life, she’d tell me: ‘Deal with it. Cry a little. Then move on. You solve nothing by wallowing.’”

“I still believe that life is like a movie…”

Rivers’ ability to reinvent herself — and her face, thanks to her well-known plastic surgery — oozes throughout the book, even as she’s joking about celebs like Elizabeth Taylor:

“Liz told me she ate something that disagreed with her. Kansas.”

“Oh, sure, Liz isn’t fat. Her dress model was the Hindenberg.”

“If Liz Taylor filmed ‘Cleopatra’ today, they’d have to widen the Nile.”

Of course, Rivers turns the same blade on herself:

“I was a huge, fat baby. I was born June 1, 2 and 3.”

You get the idea.

For young people who know Rivers only from NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” — where she was “hired” by Donald Trump — or from her red-carpet critiques on “Fashion Police,” this book is a powerful tale of how tenacity, work and wit can propel a lifetime of success.

“Your mother meant so much to me and touched so many people in her lifetime, and I knew there were some who didn’t know how much she had accomplished from her early days through to ‘Fashion Police’,” Currie writes to Melissa in the beginning of book.

He closes it with a photo of Rivers and Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show,” with Fallon’s hand-written note — “Joan!!! Welcome back!!! We love you!” — and Currie gives his friend Joan the last word:

“My alternate career has been pulling myself up from rock bottom,” Rivers said. “I had survived being called a bitch, a no-talent and a has-been. I had survived being told that I was unfunny, that I was too funny, that I was too young, and that I was too old. I had even survived tumbling from the top of the world. I still believe that life is like a movie and you have the power to write your own script.”



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