A wise person once said that Joan Rivers acts inappropriately for a living. OK, so it was me who said that. But I don’t think even Joan Rivers would deny that being brutally honest about sexuality, sometimes to the point of being outrageous, has played a major role in her incredibly successful career. The problem is, not everybody gets the joke. Which is why one of my Mom’s employees is suing her for—are you sitting down?—sexual harassment. At first Mom thought the whole thing was just a big joke. Then she found out that when it comes to sexual harassment she’s legally liable not only for her own behavior, but for the behavior of all of her employees. That wiped the smile off Mom’s face faster than a truckload of Botox. Now, my Mom doesn’t have to talk about sex to be funny, but I’m not so sure that’s also the case with Tony. And when Tony opens for my Mom next week he’d better be squeaky clean on stage or else there’s going to be hell to pay– and my Mom’s going to be the one writing those big checks.
Things haven’t been the same around here since sexual harassment reared its ugly head. (Perhaps “head” is a poor choice of words…) It all started when one of my employees accused me of sexual harassment, which is ridiculous. She’s not even my type. Everybody knows I like my women the way I like my petroleum: light, sweet, and crude. OK…just kidding! But because of this we all had to take a sexual harassment awareness course where I learned I can be sued if one of my employees harasses someone! Tony-who’s opening for me this week-is an example. (And when I say “opening”…see how quickly it happens?) If Tony does anything overtly sexual as my opening act—like, for example, his act– I could be in big trouble. Meanwhile, our newfound awareness of sexual harassment has made us all so uptight we’re afraid to even hug each other or make friendly, innocent comments like, “Nice caboose, sex machine. How much?” Here’s the point: I know sexual harassment is a very serious issue, but how much more aware of it can I be before I stop being Joan Rivers?
“My Fat Pet” is a show idea that Joan and Peter came up with together after discussing how fat Peter’s dog had become. Joan loves dogs, and loves any fun idea that she thinks will sell. So it was no real surprise that she wanted to pitch this dog as an idea for real. Melissa was mortified – imagining her mother slogging around town with an obese canine trying to sell this idea. Joan already has two successful shows on the air, a line of clothing and jewelry, not to mention a nationwide touring schedule with her comedy act. It’s not like she has extra time to be pitching to various cable channels. But pitch she did. (And knowing Joan, she fully understood how funny the visual it would be for us to follow her as she pitched this lunatic idea). Even as I write the word “lunatic” I realize that I’m probably wrong. With shows like Hoarders and My Dog Ate What? and Cup Cake Wars, is there any idea that is too crazy to believe would make it? Not to mention one that features pets. People love that stuff.
The various executives agreed to be tapes if we did not show their names or their networks. The dog that Peter brought was a total pain in the neck. Not only did he refuse to walk with Peter, but he pooped after every pitch. Luckily outside. Joan was not deterred by the fact that most of the responses varied from tepid to shocked. She knows a good idea – and like a chubby dog with a bone – she will not let up on the idea. She still brings it up with our production company hoping that we will shoot a tape to help sell it. It’s very funny the way she describes the tape – like the opposite of that Humane Society spot where Sarah McLaughlin sings. “Won’t you help them get thin?” I have to say that I have a sneaky suspicion that somehow Joan will sell this show. I imagine that my next blog will be written from a dog park, where 8 competing pooches will be chasing after the same ball – slowly – as their eager owners counting down calories with each step their puppies take. Perhaps I should start overfeeding my Bernese Mountain Dog Harlow now, in hopes that one day, she and I can compete for a trip to Vegas and a trunk of chew toys.