Joan Rivers has no regrets over a close-to-the-bone joke about Whitney Houston that appears in her new book, I Hate Everyone…Starting With Me. The Village Voice spotted Rovers’ gag in the travel section of the book. It reads:
“I hate Houston. It’s crawling with bugs. Oh, wait, that’s Whitney Houston; I’m sorry, my bad. (Can I just mention that Whitney looked fabulous at the Grammys? She was in mahogany from head to toe.)”
Houston died of an accidental drowning in her Beverly Hills hotel room the night before the Grammy Awards. Despite the proximity of her death, Rivers clearly considers her a reasonable target for gags.
Indeed, the 78-year-old comedienne, who also presents E!’s Fashion Police, has always viewed the singer with little affection. Houston was one of the celebrities mocked in an episode of Fashion Police that aired just days before her death. The network pulled a later reairing of the same episode out of respect, but Rivers was less regretful when asked about the cancellation while backstage at the Badgley Mischka runway show. She told Women’s Wear Daily:
“When she’s alive, she’s fair game. It’s part of being a celebrity. Am I sorry she died? Of course I am, for God’s sake. But when she was alive we would talk about her just as we would talk about Anna Wintour or Angelina Jolie. If Angelina Jolie died tomorrow, I would still say she was anorexic.”
Is this a joke too far, too soon, or do you feel comedy shouldn’t be restricted by such boundaries?