Joan Rivers scared the crap out of me!

March 21, 2011 So I’m working on wigs at Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein at Lakeland Civic Center, when my boss tells me Joan Rivers will be performing there the next night and she needs a really good seamstress, because she’s really fussy… Can I do it? Um, well, crap, really? Ah, How much? …$XX hr… Ah, wow, really? OK, YES! I’ll do it!
Crap. What was I thinking. OMG! Joan Rivers? Fashion Police? Red Carpet Fashion Critic? Comedian Joan Rivers? Crap! What have I gotten myself into? What the heck am I going to wear? OMG! What if I screw something up?
I arrived the next day at the venue about an hour early. Nervous as heck. This was really, truly the first time I had been asked to work directly for a celebrity, one on one like this. I was absolutely terrified. Was I really that good? Good enough for Joan Rivers? Holy crap. Too late. She’s on her way to the venue now!
Before I arrived, I stopped at Joann’s and spent about $50 on every sewing supply and notion I thought I could possibly need and didn’t already bring with me. I had my sewing machine ready to go. I had worked this venue before, so at least I knew my way around and where things were!
So finally, she arrives. I was introduced to her and her assistant of about 20 years, who travels with her. She was shorter than I expected. As we were unpacking her bags, she explained she needed everything hung and steamed, there would be one costume change and that was about it. Then, out came a few long fancy duster style over coats she said she just had made, some cute fancy outfits with pants and this giant bright pink feathered floor length jacket I can only describe as Big Bird vs P!nk and the jacket won! It’s was pretty crazy. Pink Feathers were everywhere!!
She asked me to make sure no one used her restroom, including me. She traveled with a can of Lysol, which was sprayed everywhere to disinfect everything. She wrote my name down on a piece of paper, along with the hair stylist who’d be doing her hair. She laid out all her make up including a Sharpie type marker, she used as eyeliner!
As Ms. Rivers began to unpack her things I realized, she wasn’t the critical, judgmental, super star celebrity I feared… She was a kind, gentle, sweet, little old lady who reminded me of my grandmother!!! What a relief!!!
As I began my work, I was prepared to mind my own business, but she was very chatty. She asked me about myself! Did I have kids? Where was I from? Normal people pleasantries. Wow. OK. I can do this! Whew!
After her clothes were steamed, we went out to the stage, where she walked the band and house crew through a quick rehearsal of her show and where the quick change was for my reference. She asked a few questions of the locals, like who were the local politicians and so on, which she would incorporate into her act.
We took a dinner break, then she began getting ready for her show.
As Joan’s show began, I was backstage in the dressing room, talking with her assistant. We could hear her performance over a sound system backstage. OMG. The woman was as dirty as Eddie Murphy Raw! I must say, I was pretty shocked at the uncensored version of Joan Rivers you don’t see on TV! LMAO! You GO Granny!! When she got really over the top her assistant looked at me and said “that woman ain’t right!” and we both laughed.
As the show continued we moved into the wings of the stage. Her humor was definitely rated R!! Holy Smokes! Not what I was expecting!
It was funny and refreshing to hear her tell it like it is to a packed house that was roaring with laughter.
About 3/4 thru her show, I noticed her fancy overcoat had trim that was coming loose at the bottom and was getting caught in her heel. OMG! By the time I made it over to the other side of the stage, she had already ripped off the failing trim and was cursing the designer who made it!
All I could do was laugh.
Her show continued, we did the Quick Change into the Pink Big Bird Coat and she finished to a standing ovation.
After the show I sprayed everything down with Vodka Spray. (It kills germs, odors, prevents mildew and allows you to travel with a damp garment without stinking up your entire suitcase.) She then offered me the rest of the bottle to take home with me, a generous tip and a pair of her signature sunglasses from HSN!
In addition to that I was able to get my photo taken with her, which is rare in my business!
Wow. Ok. Maybe I can do this for a living. I made more money in one night, than I made in a week at Bloomingdale’s, where I was working at the time.
Face your fears!
Follow your dreams!
Joan Rivers is a pussy cat!
BTW, if anybody sees Julie Johnson wearing my shirt, (above) tell her I want it back, along with my Paul McCartney Memorabilia she “borrowed”, go karma!!




  1. Never judge a person until you really meet them, great experience for you, built up your confidence with someone you thought was gonna be a stickler (she is in a good way). Congratulations on a job well done !!

    Liked by 1 person

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