The comedienne strode onto the stage of Redwood City’s Fox Theatre to a standing ovation and, after telling the crowd to save it for the end, she promptly dropped about 10 n-bombs. She followed that with a string of racial slurs against Italians and those of Jewish descent before focusing her venom on those from Mexico.
Who was this acerbic, equal-opportunity-insult star? Sarah Silverman? Lisa Lampinelli?
Nope. This was their role model: the one and only Joan Rivers, who played a pair of Peninsula shows this weekend. Saturday night’s sold-out (or nearly sold-out) show was attended by fans across the age spectrum: senior citizens were in attendance, as well as a large contingent of middle-aged fans. There were even 20- and 30-somethings, obviously intrigued by the woman they’ve seen casting barbs at Hollywood’s elite on her “Fashion Police” television show.
The weak of heart or easily offended need not catch Rivers, who at 80 years old, is still as sharp and caustic as those half her age.
And funny as hell.
She also moved around the stage with relative ease during her approximately one-hour set, incorporating the use of the stool most comics use as a stage prop and even at one point lying on the floor as part of her act before jokingly asking one of the musicians to help her, since he had nothing better to do at that time.
If the last you remember Rivers is as the housewife, conservative-dress wearing, “Can we talk?” coffee-klatch gossiper, that was 25 years ago. Today, she is the grand dame of comedy. Resplendent in a black pants suit, over which she wore and glistening, sparkling silvery, fur-collared coat, she went after everybody: men, women, celebrities, young, old, disabled, abled-bodied, gay, straight. You name it, she insulted them, using the f-word liberally to punctuate her thoughts throughout the show.
She riffed on her commute from Los Angeles to the Bay Area and a trip to Oakland, during which she asked her African-American assistant to wave her hand outside the limo as if to appease the large black community of Oakland.
She went after the late Michael Jackson, touching on his drug use and alleged pedophilia. She then turned her darts to Kirk Douglas and late Dick Clark, joking about their stroke-affected speech. Michael J. Fox was a target as well, saying how he was would cease to tremble during an earthquake, which would alleviate the symptoms of his Parkinson’s disease.
Again, those easily offended need not apply.
Of course, a riff on sex was offered as well. Normally, listening to an 80-year-old joke about different forms of love making would make some cringe, but she pulled it off effortlessly.
The running joke throughout the night was she just had one more thing to say, “ before starting the show,” as if she had some things to get off her chest before she went into her routine.
But that was the routine. And it killed, bringing the crowd to their feet one final time as she said her goodbye.