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The Joan Rivers Show on Decades

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I highly recommend watching and/or re-watching Joan's 90s daytime talkshow.  It is on 3pm pacific on Decades which is a CBS over the air sub-channel (I think it is 56 in Los Angeles)


I started watching during Wendy Williams's recent hiatus and the similarities are remarkable.  Joan started the show with Gossip Gossip Gossip; it is so funny to hear what predictions the gossip people got completely wrong.  The audience is exactly like Wendy's except it is thirty years ago and the guys all have mullets.  She gets through an enormous amount of guests in an hour but also has certain stars for the whole show.  The intro is incredibly anachronistic with images of Trump whispering to Roseanne who whispers to Bill Cosby.  However, they showed the Paris is Buring episode and she was remarkably inquisitive and respectful.


Yesterday she had a classic Joan Collins post-Dynasty interview for the hour.  Collins bemoaned that Valentino and Chanel had promised her that skirts would be lower, but they remain too high on the thigh for a lady to sit nicely.  She further stated that young women often wear their skirts too short when they are "too heavy" and it is appalling.  One rarely gets to see this sort of diva-dom today and it was so fun to watch.    

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Nice! I'll have to do a hunt for this. Later this year, I was hoping to visit and revisit a few talk shows. Would you believe I've never seen a full Merv Griffin?

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1 hour ago, Franko said:

Would you believe I've never seen a full Merv Griffin?

I don't know that Merv or Mike Douglas really hold up well over time.   


Both guys always reminded viewers of their past as big band singers and would often do a pop standard with their band at the beginning of their shows.  I have a vivid recall of Merv attempting Earth Wind & Fire's Got to Get You into My Life; what it lacked in soul was made up for with groovy lighting. 


There is a Hollywood legend of what Merv liked to watch men do while sitting on his glass coffee table (don't Google it at lunch because it is NSFW) and that would be slightly more entertaining than watching him sing his old hit, I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts.

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I would love to see full episodes of Merv, Mike Douglas, and Dinah from the 70's and 80's. They had great guests. There are small snips and interviews here and there on youtube, but not too many full shows. John Davidson also had a talk show in the early 80's and clips of that show up from time to time.


Speaking of Merv, someone uploaded a bit of a 1981 show where The Carpenters are on promoting their latest album Made In America. They perform " Want You Back In My Life Again". Karen looks so emaciated, and it is so sad to see her in that condition. Olivia Newton John (Karen's best friend) and John Travolta are also guests and they all sit on the couch and chat. Karen tells a funny story of her and Olivia going sailing. 

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  • 1 month later...

If you are not watching The Joan Rivers Show on Decades than you are truly missing a cultural relic.  Today she had Ed Asner, then she talked to three gay men who sleep with straight men, and two women whose husbands had slept with gay men.  The three gay men consisted of one guy in a beaded top and a tiny diamond earring in each ear and a guy who identified as a porn star (didn't recognize him) with orange spiked hair.  Joan was flabbergasted to find out that there are straight men who slept with gay men, but she didn't demean her guests, she just wanted to know their stories.  Then, she did a segment on soap opera gossip with Mimi Torchin.


She spits out content like watermelon seeds.  Today, Wendy has two to three guests per week, and Ellen usually only has one interview segment a day.  Joan changed her Chanel jacket, threw on a QVC pin, and spoke to at least three guests a day.  In retrospect, it is an interesting bridge between Merv who would have four to five guests per show (all thematically connected) and Rosie who would talk about her activities the prior evening for the first segment.  There is a Geraldo influence in her social topics, but she doesn't allow the studio audience to get involved and she was very open to listening to people from different backgrounds.  Her interview with the stars of Paris is Burning is legendary, especially when she can't believe that they would want to do daytime realness because she was only familiar with female impersonators.  As a backstory, Joan had once sued a female impersonator in LA for stealing her act.  So, the idea that the people in Paris is Burning actually had a political angle to their story was interesting to her.


Go watch it, you'll see why she got an emmy in her first year.  Also, there are daily notes about Trump which totally predicted his presidency, including yesterday when Liz Smith tried to dismiss him as classless, but Cindy Adams predicted that he was a cultural force.

Edited by j swift
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