If the Kardashians were intentionally funny, they’d be Joan and Melissa Rivers, my favorite mother-daughter yenta duo dominating the nation’s cable box. Their reality show, Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?, just started its second season on WE, and their E! show, Fashion Police, is going to an hour, but amazingly, they found time to kvetch with me on the phone last week.
Hi, you two. Do you actually have a relationship off camera, too?
Joan Rivers: Yes, and it’s gotten much better with the show. We like each other. We get letters from people saying: “I hate my mother. You two have given me the courage to go on.”
Melissa Rivers: I had to learn to listen better, and she had to learn how to say things in a different way, so I could hear them.
J.R.: Yeah, you shouldn’t start with, “Listen, stupid.”
Listen, Melissa, are you really dating a porn guy?
M.R.: He’s not a porn guy. He owns an adult . . . he owns a company.
J.R.: He’s a college graduate. He’s smart as a whip. And he’s Jewish.
Joan, would you gag if Melissa dated a goy?
M.R.: They all were!
J.R.: Take a good look at Cooper [Melissa’s son]. Those are not Hasidic looks.
I know. He plays lacrosse.
J.R.: I don’t understand Cooper at all.
He’s nice to help his friend Russell become a stand-up comedian.
J.R.: Russell is determined, and he has great timing for a 10-year-old.
M.R.: The courage that stand-ups have!
But you had great timing on your mother’s roast. You’d never go into stand-up?
M.R.: No, I’m not a masochist. It is brutal. I shake in front of live people.
J.R.: Don’t come into my territory. I like you very much, but whoa! “Joan, your career is slipping. You’re now gonna open for the new, hot Melissa Rivers! Wait till you hear the things she does on her mother.”
But you’ll both be working for Cooper soon.
J.R.: He’ll forget very fast how Granny was good to him.
M.R.: You’ll get that call at 6:30, at the bottom of the phone list. “Yeah, what do you want?”
Joan, what’s it like living in Melissa’s basement? Isn’t that even worse than Anne Frank?
J.R.: I have total sympathy with the Chilean miners.
M.R.: It is not a basement. It is a lovely guest room.
J.R.: It happens to be below sea level.
M.R.: It is not. It has a patio!
J.R.: It’s great if you wanna fish. I can reach out and get dinner. Anne Frank had a terrace!
But it’s only five days a week, right?
M.R.: Only four now. She’s just “staying with me,” no longer “living with me.” I’ve not found the subtle difference.
I’m sure she contributes to the rent.
J.R.: No! I’ll chip in when the first person that works for her has a green card.
M.R.: Everyone that works for me is legal!
Speaking of legality, Joan, you inhaled medical marijuana on the WE show airing next week to cure anxiety.
M.R.: She doesn’t smoke pot anymore.
J.R.: At my age, you can’t smoke because if you drop it, you can’t bend down and get it.
Did it help your vision?
J.R.: I don’t know how many fingers I have! [Laughs.]
M.R.: We do not have drugs in my house with my son.
While we’re on hallucinations, who looked the worst at the Golden Globes?
J.R.: Sarah Michelle Gellar looked like she’d sat on her Bic. The message: Don’t paint your house in a white satin ball gown. And Meryl Streep is the best actress alive, but she looked like she was wearing the Temple Grandin collection. Meryl, call me.
Doesn’t she always lose Oscars to a younger person?
J.R.: They should give it to the old one because they’re gonna die. I vote for the ones who ain’t gonna be around next year. The funniest thing is, I was sitting next to Betty White, and when they brought up who died, she whispered to me, “Had him, had him, didn’t have him, gay, didn’t want him . . .”
“Bearded him.” Are you dating anyone?
J.R.: There’s nobody left alive. At this age, I don’t need a guy with a designer diaper.
How did you feel when you learned you were gonna be a grandma?
J.R.: I was so happy because I wanted another slave. You can really boss children around until they’re nine. “Go get Grandma’s glasses!” Now he’s figuring out that he doesn’t have to. “Get it yourself, old lady.” I’d like to homeschool this one.
M.R.: Why, so you can warp him?
J.R.: “And now we’re gonna have our soap-opera lesson.”
M.R.: “That is Susan Lucci.”
Susan is going to be on ID channel, which I love.
J.R.: Me, too. And we love Fatal Attractions on Animal Planet.
M.R.: You can fall asleep knowing how it’s gonna end.
With Glenn Close jumping out of the tub?
J.R.: “Michael has been missing for three days.”
M.R.: “His iguana had eaten his arm off.”
Bye, ladies. I love you and want to fuck you.
J.R.: [Laughing.] Too late!