I have this re-occuring dream. I’m inside Christopher Nolan’s mind. Inside his brain while he sleeps. There are two labeled doors, one conscious. The other sub-conscious. Already, I’m bored, but I hear music through the cracks in the sub door, so I push it open. It’s a Japanese mansion with a smoky lounge with a room full of strange people all listening to Stevie Nicks. She’s onstage, says some rubbish about just having smoked weed. Cackles, showing lots of age lines. Leans into some familiar chords on a dulcimer.  A drum machine keeps the beat.

I have to admit, I was not really a Joan fan. In fact, her “can we talk” shrillness used to make my shoulders tense when I would hear it. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for brash, uncouth, in-your-face behavior. As a former New Yorker, even her accent didn’t get under my skin. I think it was a quiet desperation that I intoned, something underneath her poking fun at celebrities, bristling at housewives, and most of all, her self-deferential slant that gave me pause. I just really never tuned into her Late Show debacle, or her Joan Rivers Show on television, though it ran for five years. And then, just when I might have given her more credit, she started the heinous mother-daughter alliance for which she has become known since the 1990s: the red carpet pre-award hosts for cable channels like E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channel (yes, imagine that, even they have a channel!). There has also been several guest spots on TV shows I don’t watch, like Nip/Tuck, QVC Shopping Network, and Celebrity Apprentice in which her daughter, Melissa, appeared in the same season and lost. Joan went on to win. During all this time, Joan has had some, shall we say, adjustments, in the surgical arena. Whether you endorse this practice or not, it’s difficult not to judge someone that you only know through a TV image or in a magazine, and they appear so completely altered. Like a puppet, a shard of one’s former self.