Last night I went to see Joan Rivers stand up at a supper club on 42nd street. She performed for an hour to about 120 diners… She donates the proceeds from these events to charity. So I was thinking, why is this awesome 79 year old woman standing up in front of a crowd of people, busting her ass for free? Well, because she has to. She loves it. It’s who she is. And then I thought this is why any of us do anything…. we paint, blog, make, design and create because we have to. Did you read the article a few weeks ago in The Times Magazine about Jerry Seinfeld? How he’s still performing to small crowds and large ones, nursing jokes for years until they are honed to perfection… Well WHY? Because when you get into something for the love of it, the end goal is not monetary success. The action is the end goal. It’s like the story about the fisherman with one boat. He works extra hard, saves his money and buys two boats, then three, then ten and  eventually creates a fishing empire… only to retire to some tropical island and sit on a single engine boat to fish for his dinner.

For the love of the craft you often end up right back where you started.

So, how was Joan? She was awesome. I mean, she was one part loopy grandma who says whatever she wants, one part hard hitting zinger layer, one part truth saying yenta. It was very casual and conversational, and she did lose her train of thought a bit but it was part of the charm. What I love about Joan, is her un-compromising sense of humor about herself. I mean, she said- “How lucky would you all be if I dropped dead tonight? You would have a story for the rest of your life!”  And what she loathes and ridicules in others is ALWAYS their ridiculous self importance, lack of self awareness and denial of privilege. At one point she was mocking one particular ethnic group as being ugly. Some people in the audience groaned, so she said: “Oh yea, you’re groaning, who here has ever looked at a picture of X group and said, wow I want to look like that.” One woman raised her hand. So Joan says: ” OH YEA, the woman with the blond hair and the tiny nose wants to be part of X group. There is always one WASP who doesn’t know how lucky she is.” Sure she claims to hate cripples, ugly people, children and various races, but if you listen to what she’s saying its: I hate when people don’t have pluck, I hate when people don’t have a sense of humor about themselves, and I hate when people pretend, posture and pose (see Lea Michelle). She’s the perfect foil for the artifice of Hollywood.

Anyway, she has had a fascinating life, and I really admire her. GO JOAN.

If at 79 I’m still writing this blog…. well, WHAT? I don’t even know what to think about that. I still cant believe I’ve been doing it for this long. But I get it.


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  1. Love Joan! She is freaking hilarious and how can you not admire a woman her age still doing her thing?! HAHA down the line there will be a community of 80 year old bloggers making art all day!

  2. Lauren says:

    How could you not like Joan Rivers? She’s great!

  3. Hi Nicole! I really like this post. I’ve actually had this same thought. My boyfriend is very into stand up comedy and we have watched about a bajillion documentaries on the art and most of them show very well known comics that can sell out a huge venue still trying out their new jokes on a small crowd. Those are the best shows I think. Anyway, I totally agree with you about doing something because you have to. I am learning this for myself right now as I am in the process of making a career change. I haven’t acted on it yet, but have finally decided (and in the process of accepting) that I have to move into the design field (I am currently a speech therapist by day, but want a more creative career, but the decision to actually do something new/different is scary!), even if I may make less money than I do now. I love all types of art and design and although my blog is new, I absolutely LOVE blogging! I don’t even know if anyone reads the thing, but I just keep posting away because I enjoy it and ultimately that is all that matters :) Thanks for the insightful post.

    • Nicole Cohen says:

      SO glad you liked the post! When I started the blog, literally 50 people read it a day for about a year! AND I thought that was GREAT! Do what you love, right?

  4. I absolutely loved this post. You are so right that when your find your “zing” that makes you happy, you can’t NOT do it. I wake from dreams about potential paint colors and fabric options. It’s just who I am. It’s a little sick to actually see it put in words here but it’s true! Ha ha!