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Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
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Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) More at IMDbPro »

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Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work -- A hilarious, entertaining and deliciously dirty look into the fascinating, fast-paced life of the iconic, ground-breaking comedienne Joan Rivers.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work -- A documentary on the life and career of Joan Rivers, made as the comedienne turns 75 years old.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work -- A clip from the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work -- A clip from the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work -- A clip from the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work


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Ricki Stern
Anne Sundberg (co-director)
Ricki Stern (writer)
View company contact information for Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 July 2010 (USA) See more »
A documentary on the life and career of Joan Rivers, made as the comedienne turns 75 years old. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
7 wins & 10 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A very complex individual See more (32 total) »


  (in credits order)

Joan Rivers ... Herself
Jocelyn Pickett ... Herself
Bill Sammeth ... Himself (as Billy Sammeth)

Larry A. Thompson ... Himself
Graham Reed ... Himself
Kevin Brennan ... Himself, Joan Rivers' housekeeper
Debbie Brennan ... Herself
Analie Berthel ... Herself
Sean Foley ... Himself

Emily Kosloski ... Herself
Mark Anderson Phillips ... Himself (as Mark Phillips)
Denis Markell ... Himself
Gilda Frost ... Herself
David Dangle ... Himself

Kathy Griffin ... Herself
Adele Fass ... Herself
George Lange ... Himself
Joy Brown ... Herself (as Dr. Joy Brown)

Melissa Rivers ... Herself
Raymond Rosario ... Himself
Henry Edwards ... Himself
Martyn Fletcher ... Himself
Robbie Yule ... Himself

Nathan Osgood ... Himself
Stuart Slavicky ... Himself
Graham McCluskey ... Himself, lighting designer
Martin Witts ... Himself
Kevin Wilson ... Himself
Kate Forrester ... Herself
Lindsay Hill ... Herself
Joe Castagna ... Himself
Kiki Koh ... Herself
Mohammad Darwish ... Himself
William ... Himself (as William the Fan)
Edgar Cooper Endicott ... Himself (as Cooper)
Jerry Mierzwa ... Himself
Blaine Trump ... Herself
Flo Fox ... Herself
Larry Amoros ... Himself
Marion Rosenfeld ... Herself

Jon Stewart ... Himself (archive footage)

Richard Belzer ... Himself

Garry Shandling ... Himself

Lily Tomlin ... Herself

Bill Maher ... Himself
Alex Homan ... Himself
Denee Collay ... Herself
Sabrina Lott-Miller ... Herself (as Sabrina Miller)
Debbie Green ... Herself
Terry Wayne Danders ... Himself
Brad Garret ... Himself

Greg Giraldo ... Himself
Jeffrey Ross ... Himself

Don Rickles ... Himself
Tony Oppedisano ... Himself
Lucy ... Herself, Joan Rivers' fan
David Muir ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patrick Alparone ... Himself

George Burns ... Himself (archive footage)

George Carlin ... Himself (archive footage)

Johnny Carson ... Himself (archive footage)
Jacqueline Crawford ... Herself

Phyllis Diller ... Herself (archive footage)

Annie Duke ... Herself (archive footage)
Emily Hope ... Herself (voice)
Florian Klein ... Himself
Edgar Rosenberg ... Himself (archive footage)

Donald Trump ... Himself (archive footage)

Denis Leary ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Jack Paar ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Carrie Paff ... Herself (uncredited)

Directed by
Ricki Stern 
Anne Sundberg (co-director) (as Annie Sundberg)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ricki Stern  writer

Produced by
Molly Abrams .... field producer
Seth Keal .... field producer
Seth Keal .... producer
Charles Miller .... field producer
Ricki Stern .... executive producer
Ricki Stern .... line producer
Ricki Stern .... producer
Anne Sundberg .... producer (as Annie Sundberg)
Original Music by
Paul Brill 
Cinematography by
Charles Miller 
Film Editing by
Penelope Falk 
Makeup Department
Adele Fass .... makeup artist
Raymond Rosario .... hair stylist
Sound Department
Brad Bergbom .... additional sound
Brad Bergbom .... sound designer
Brad Bergbom .... sound editor
Tom Efinger .... sound re-recording mixer
Tom Efinger .... sound supervisor
Seth Keal .... sound
Jeff Seelye .... assistant sound editor
Visual Effects by
Yorgo Alexopoulos .... animator
Yorgo Alexopoulos .... visual effects designer
Amber Kusmenko .... motion graphics assistant
Camera and Electrical Department
Seth Keal .... camera operator
Guy Mossman .... additional cinematography
William Rexer .... additional cinematography
Editorial Department
Anderson Boyd .... on-line editor
Gilbert Carreras .... color timer
Stewart Griffin .... colorist
Caitlin Tartaro .... digital intermediate producer
Music Department
Amber Rubarth .... composer: additional music
Robert L. Smith .... score recordist
Other crew
Yorgo Alexopoulos .... title designer
Abe Halpert .... production assistant
Hannah Robins .... production assistant
Karen Shatzkin .... legal services
Matthew Bauman .... thanks
Dallas Brennan .... thank you (as Dallas Rexer)
Debbie Brennan .... special thanks
Emerson Bruns .... thank you
Edgar Cooper Endicott .... special thanks (as Cooper)
Frank DeCaro .... thanks
Rachel Dratch .... thank you
Mark Efman .... thanks: Z Rock
Mark Farrell .... thanks: Z Rock
Amy Foote .... thank you
Flo Fox .... thanks
Kathy Griffin .... special thanks
Paul Kloss .... thank you
William Ivey Long .... thanks
Tony Oppedisano .... special thanks
Bari Pearlman .... special thanks
Jocelyn Pickett .... special thanks
Joan Rivers .... special thanks (as Ms. Joan Rivers)
Melissa Rivers .... special thanks (as Mellisa Rivers)
Bill Sammeth .... special thanks (as Billy Sammeth)
Toby Shimin .... thank you
Howard Stern .... thanks
Donald Trump .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for language and sexual humor
84 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:MA15+ (2010) | Canada:PG (British Columbia) | Canada:14A (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | USA:R (certificate #46077)

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful.
A very complex individual, 3 October 2010
Author: John Gilpatrick (jlg310) from Bethlehem, PA

The problem I usually have with documentaries is that, while I find them enlightening, I rarely connect to them on an emotional level. My intellect is stimulated, but I don't usually feel anything. The last documentary that made me feel anything was "Sicko." "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" succeeds in the same way. Here's a woman who is a bit of a joke and an easy Hollywood punching bag. But she shows herself to be quite a complex individual. She's of course funny and a workaholic. She's also quite vulnerable and doesn't take criticism well at all. At times, she's quite likable and very sympathetic. Other times, she seems twisted and self-absorbed. I suppose the real Rivers is a little of both. She's also a joy to spend 90 minutes in a theater with, should the opportunity present itself to you.

The film opens with a shot that tells you everything you need to know about this film and its intentions. The shot is an extreme close-up of Rivers without any makeup on. For someone so presumably consumed with her looks, this is a surprising image that tells you this film is going to show you the real Rivers. Like her or not (and many won't), this is her.

The rest of the film is loosely broken up into three sections. The first introduces us to the woman and follows Rivers as she develops an autobiographical play and performs it in the UK. The second follows her during her time on "The Celebrity Apprentice." And the final one shows her on the road across America doing comedy shows. Interspersed with these segments are sidebars about Rivers' past—her marriage, her time with Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show," her relationship with her daughter Melissa, and her annual Thanksgiving charity work.

The two biggest things I took away from the film are that Rivers is obsessive (desperate?) about working and that she is incredibly insecure—perhaps the two complement each other. At one point, she is trying to book a commercial. She tells the ad agency's representative that she'll wear diapers, anything, to land a gig. After seeing this film, I believe she would. She's also incredibly self-doubting. When her play opens in London to good, not great, reviews, she immediately decides it won't see the light of day in New York. She says she wouldn't be able to bear the criticism. And when she agrees to do a Comedy Central roast—well, let's just say, it's not pretty.

One of the most enlightening, and in some ways off-putting, scenes in the film is when she gets heckled at a show in rural Wisconsin. Rivers makes a joke about hating kids but thinking Helen Keller would be tolerable, and a man yells that he thinks she isn't funny, but mean-spirited. Rivers lays into him. She doesn't hold back at all, and while I hold the belief that comedians should be able to defend themselves as they see fit against hecklers, her expletive-laden tirade crossed a few lines. What was so telling about this scene, though, was just how insecure Rivers is. When one man, a nobody in her life, criticizes her, she viciously lashes out.

I really did find this film fascinating for just how complicated it made its star seem. In addition to that, it's also quite funny. Rivers hasn't lost much in 75 years. I'd argue that her best bits are the more recent ones. Most documentaries are intellectual exercises, but not this one. It felt refreshing—not at all like sitting through a lecture. I wasn't a fan of Rivers before. I'm not sure I'm a fan of Rivers now. But a can definitely say I'm a fan of "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work," and I would recommend it to just about anyone.

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