Growing up I wasn't fully aware of Joan Rivers and her legacy. I knew her name and her voice (Spaceballs, hello), but wasn't familiar with her iconic stand-up work. I think my first true introduction to her was when she took over red carpet duties at E! in the mid-90's. I absolutely fell in love with her; she was utterly unimpressed with celebrities and talked shit about everyone. But what was so amazing about her, was that no matter how bitchy she was towards other people, she was as equally if not more self-deprecating. While everyone was raking Joan over the coals for calling celebs like Kate Winslet fat (come on, she did look chubby as hell that year), they failed to remark that she was just as vicious about her own looks. It evened the playing field for me, I never found her offensive.
Over the years I've become far more knowledgeable of her place in comic history, so I couldn't wait to see Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. It's probably one of the best documentaries I've seen all year. Not only because it paints such a vivid picture of Joan, but of the world of comedy as well; the ambition, the drive, the fear, the raging insecurity and constant search for approval... It also does an outstanding job of fleshing out her history and her many career ups-and-downs (Johnny Carson, her husband's suicide, etc.) I would recommend this to fans of Joan and even to people who loathe just the sound of her voice, it will definitely open your eyes.
And most of all, the film gives me hope. This tramp is 77 years old and still working her ass off like the rent is due. I make it a point to catch Fashion Police every Friday and Joan never fails to make me laugh.