So That's What Makes a Woman Amazing

01 September 2008 - Cosmopolitan  www.cosmopolitan.co.uk

Comedian and columnist Shazia Mirza, wouldn't have got where she is today without inspiration from a Jewish lady who just won't shut up...

Joan Rivers - the Queen of facelifts, the big blowdry, a huge gay following, and a ribald and candid humour that I've seen no other 75 year old grandmother pull off.

She's a survivor, a strong imperious woman from a conservative background rather like my own. My parents wanted me to be a Doctor, her father was a Doctor.

Joan was never expected to be a comedian, who fought tooth and nail extension to get onto American Television only to be told things like, she was too old and as a woman she couldn't be the host of a prime time American TV show. It was only her determination that got her, her TV show in the end.

My parents never wanted me to be a comedian, they thought of it as shameful and a hindrance to me getting a husband. They were right. They felt it was not a respectable job, and I was the apotheosis of the good Asian girl. I have turned all this into material, and tell strangers about it every night and hope to continue till I'm dead. You may never know it, but Joan had much tragedy in her life. Her husband Edgar Rosenberg was a TV producer, who also produced her TV show. When her show failed, her husband committed suicide by taking an overdose of Valium. Typical Joan- she turned this into material.

If Joan can turn her husbands suicide into comedy then surely ‘Why my cousins won't marry me' can be a routine too.I THINK WE NEED TO GIVE MORE DETAIL ABOUT THE SUICIDE EARLIER IN THE PIECE AS IF YOU DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT JOAN YOU'LL BE WONDERING WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT, Despite her age, the knock backs, insecurities about looks, she keeps going and she's still funny. Her own face may not be moving, but she's still moving other people's.

She's still having fun, and still wearing heels and G- strings at 75, proving you ain't dead till you're well and truly six feet under. Joan who was inspired by the likes of Lenny Bruce, herself still has the power to shock. Her recent swearing incident on ITV's Loose Women made the headlines, but Joan was just doing what's she's always done, which is to say exactly what she thinks.

Every time someone refuses to give me a gig, tells me I'm not funny, tells me to give up, or writes a nasty spiteful review about me to try and destroy my career- I think of Joan Rivers. She faced resistance, negativity, and knock backs but she didn't quit ever, till she got what she wanted, which was to be a huge star.

There are many female comedians these days. When Joan started there were fewer, and her recalcitrant personality was seen as unattractive for a woman. She is a trailblazer, raw, brave and any woman that does a routine called, ‘Women take your guys for everything their worth' deserves any award.

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