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I saw this movie when it first came out and was really surprised by how NOT funny it was. But it was not funny in a really good way. It featured the real Joan and who she was as a person. She's often just seen as a funny and brash comedienne, but she was 1,000 times bigger and better as a human being.

This documentary brings up a lot of interesting things. For one, she says that no man had ever told her she was beautiful, not even her husband. She had a good marriage but he never said she was beautiful.

She says that she was never anyone's first pick for anything in her life – always seconds. I find this inspirational because, despite never being "chosen" first, she accepted the offers and showed the world who she was. She didn't feel pretty, she didn't feel first, but she used what she had (a lot of smarts) and made lemonade out of the lemons. Big time. I always thought she was very attractive and had a lot of style.

There are parts of this film that made me want to cry. She says at one point in the film that any time a car showed up for her to take her somewhere, she always said thank you and felt gratitude for what she was given in life. That is a poignant moment in the film. Joan was an extremely generous person and cared for everyone who came into her life. She paid her staff excellent salaries, put all of their children through school (including college) and covered all of their healthcare. Even after her death, Melissa is still taking care of these people, per Joan's wishes. She was a great lady.

Melissa appears in the documentary but more briefly than expected. It is important to note that Joan raised a daughter who also embraces the same values and continues her mother's legacy. Between this documentary and the series, Joan and Melissa, I think you get a good picture of the kind of person Joan was, behind all of the jokes and gags.

Joan was a rare celebrity who actually remembered from whence she came. She didn't have to die when she did. What a travesty.

Definitely recommend.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 17, 2010
Waited patiently for this movie on DVD as it was not in wide release in the Chicagoland area. It's a stunning personal look at a wonderful person, Joan Rivers. I saw her in the airport and in first class on my flight and she was witty, fun, posed for photos, and never once seemed put off by the attention. Not at all a diva, she exemplifies an ethos that is now forgotten: hard work at a craft you love will pay off, and the fans are to be relished, cherished and treated as human beings. Joan was this in real life, and her charm and sincere heart comes through in spades on this excellent documentary. Her insecurities about her looks, her lack of true male love in her life (she and Edgar were more of a business relationship as portrayed in this film), her geographic distance from her only child Melissa, and her tireless work ethic are sparking gems in this well-paced movie.

Before leaving the airport, we had a lay-over, and Joan shopped alone in some of the stores in the terminal, dressed to the nines, hair perfectly coiffed and absolutely charming and gracious to everyone from the shop clerk to the janitor waxing the floors. The DVD is inspirational for the way to treat others. Joan truly does practice this even off camera,

Thank you, Joan. You're not only a comedy icon, you are a deep and thoughtful person, and it's my pleasure to get to know you.
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on April 15, 2013
Joan Rivers passed away on September 4th, 2014 and for every person who held her in the highest regard as myself, this came as an altogether shock. If we will all take the time to listen and laugh at all she added to our lives (in particular this honest Blu-ray of her life), I feel it would be a tribute to an unreplaceable woman, a star in her own right and a woman, mother and grandmother that gave our lives so much humor, joy, and laughter. "A Piece of Work" shows Ms. Rivers with all her personality, her helpful nature while visiting, and talking with people in New York City and the love and drive she had for life. Joan Rivers was truly a pioneer for women in comedy and she will always be so missed.

"Can we talk?"... As Joan Rivers takes the stage in her own docudrama, you are immediately drawn into her private conversations. She boldly starts confronting the issues presented in her life; the comedy and love of performance that defined her while she stared at the empty spaces on her calendar's booking schedule. With an unshakable drive and a heavy focus on staying on top, Ms. Rivers gets right back into the game without batting an eye.

She is discussing her life here, letting us know how she got her big break. That vehicle was 'The Tonight Show' Starring Johnny Carson. She took the opportunity to blow away the audience with new and fresh comedy and a special intention towards women and issues that mainly went unsaid, until then. She was brazen, honest, acerbic and so extremely funny that Carson promised her that she will "Be a star". Her injected pieces of stand-up bits are unapologetically raw, irreverent and hysterical...I have viewed this so often and still find something even bolder than the previous time.

"All stand-ups are innately insecure" adds her daughter, Melissa, to this discussion. Joan got down to the real nitty-gritty here and completely targeted her own emotional vulnerability. The issue is her husband's suicide, the crushing pain she was obviously still carrying, and her relationship with Melissa through all of this. When asked if she is angry, she counters, "If you're not angry about things then what are you talking about?".

The ambitious workhorse that was Ms. Rivers would not tire. The pacing of the documentary and her own life is consuming as she takes on a city after another city and a gig after another gig. Joan asks for no apologies either, as another show is what drove her.

Altogether shocking, altogether real, altogether Joan's "Piece of Work"...

A true trailblazer; she will never be replaced nor forgotten.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 26, 2010
While I know many find her abrasive and even obnoxious, I've found Joan Rivers to be an enigma, sometimes too quick to make harsh comments - but there is no doubt that she is one smart lady. Long before I watched her perform comedy, I remember how she always knew the answers when she appeared on game shows. She rarely gave a "fake" answer and could be relied on to know even the most obscure information. It isn't hard to believe that she reads voraciously. Or course, she isn't going to suit everyone's taste. Even so, detractors should give this film a chance. If nothing else, she reveals far more than viewers might expect, including a vulnerable side.. Her tough persona is just that and underneath it all she has endured personal pain, including a husband who committed suicide and an ensuing estrangement from her daughter (now reconciled). Those blows could have taken her down for years but she kept on going.

I couldn't help wondering if people would be so hard on her if she was a male comedian. I do think she gets unfairly criticized because she is a women who dares to take on any subject. If you've had the chance to see her in person, you know that she connects with individual members of her audience. She also ad libs admirably.

I learned plenty that I didn't know about Joan Rivers from this film, even with all the material that is already out there. She has appeared on a wide variety of television shows, from Celebrity Apprentice to Rachael Ray. Her work ethic is incredible and if she reveals any fear under that tough exterior, it is a fear of not having some place to perform. Work appears to be her salvation, along with her daughter and friends. This is a fascinating documentary about a woman who is far more multi-faceted than she might appear.
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VINE VOICEon February 6, 2011
I saw this documentary twice in theaters, and bought the DVD for my grandmother. I'd read a few reviews claiming the filmmakers were slightly harsh on Rivers, but what I found instead was a heartfelt look at a woman who has put her entire heart and soul into building a career out of comedy and truly believes in the power of laughter to heal. One of the most memorable moments comes when she is heckled by a man whose daughter is deaf. Rivers goes off on him onstage, then rails against those who'd use their seats in the crowd to protest the content of a comedy show in that way, but offstage, we see that she's rattled, that some of that stage persona was, in fact, bluster.

It's this nuance that shines through here; when Rivers is "on," she is completely on, and so much of her life is focused on her career. Seeing her paging through her potentially blank calendar book, then determinedly doing everything she can to fill it up, it's clear that work is her lifeline, and has been, through traumatic events like her husband's suicide, and is what keeps her going through old age. She is not trying to be selfless, but she is extremely driven, and the filing cabinet full of all her jokes shows her work ethic has sustained her for her long and still-enduring career. The filmmakers aren't asking us to emulate Rivers, and, indeed, the appearance of her daughter Melissa Rivers shows that while they love and support each other, there is some tension in that relationship. Melissa works as a great foil here. This is an entertaining look at a legendary comedian who hasn't stopped going going going, and doesn't intend to.
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on September 13, 2014
Wow, amazing!!! I wish I could have known her in person. So beautiful, talented and hysterical! What an amazing woman!!! I am inspired to now embrace each day no matter what it brings since my husband's recent passing. This has lifted me to another level and I am thankful that Joan Rivers shared herself with us. I had stopped laughing and Joan brought it back to me. God bless her and her amazing family. I miss her so much already. Johnny Carson must have been really insecure to do what he did to her. She never gave up. I have such admiration for her and hold her as a true Goddess who always looked phenominal.
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on March 22, 2017
I really enjoyed this DVD. It showed how Joan worked - the massive index card filing cabinet of jokes, how Joan prepped to do a show, the "warts" of live comedy - from hostile fans to crummy clubs. It also showed Joan's private life, and showed her generous moments, which was not something I had known about before watching the video.
If you miss Joan too, I recommend this DVD.
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on September 24, 2014
I liked getting a peek into Joan Rivers life…I had no idea her schedule was always so full and that she disliked have a blank calendar page or she did so many charities. The one scene were she is doing stand up and the guy in the audience gets mad at her for something was somewhat heartbreaking, but I think she handle it fairly well. I love Joan…I've never been a fashionista but she made it fun and I wanted to listen I loved her on the red carpet. Some people disliked her and thought she was mean…people get this through your heads she was a COMEDIENNE…she doesn't mean it. Joan is a comedy legend and its absolutely amazing what she accomplished her life, and surreal that she is not with us anymore. I love Fashion Police…so signing out Joan Rangers…and our prayers are with you Melissa & Cooper
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on March 26, 2015
I saw this in the Theater, now I watched it again on Amazon. What an incredible woman - she knew the secret for transcending pain and sorrow - to LAUGH! - about anything and everything. This film captures her in her hilarity; it also captures her humanity and vulnerability splendidly. I adored her; I'll be up front - she spoke to the ugly duckling outsider in so many of us; and most of all, the need to be loved. If you like her at all, or are undecided, watch this; you'll find a kindness there you never expected, such as her bringing meals to people with AIDS. Watching this again this time has been a bittersweet experience; while the jokes are still good, knowing now that she is gone makes me terribly sad. She was the youngest 81 I have ever seen, she had at least 10 or 15 more years at the top, which is where she was when she passed. She was up to the minute current. RIP, Great One.
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on September 11, 2014
I first watched this documentary about a year ago. I was impressed with Joan's work ethic then, and when I watched it again after her death, my respect for her was enhanced. I have been a fan of Joan Rivers from the time she was first on Johnny Carson's show and have watched her every chance I had. Like Judge Judy, Joan Rivers says what others do/can not. On top of that, Joan is so funny. This doc was made when she was 75; few people much younger than her would be able to keep up with her schedule. It is sad that we lost two of the my favorite comics in such a short time--first Robin Williams and then Joan Rivers--both were my favorites and both gave me years of laughter. My life is a little darker without the Joan Rivers and Robin Williams.
This documentary is raw and real, and I highly recommend it.
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