Laugh & Live

Joan Rivers makes a Houston crowd gasp at outrageous comments, but lets her serious side shine

Joan Rivers makes Houston crowd gasp at outrageousness, shows heart

Komen Houston team with Joan Susan G. Komen Houston luncheon with Joan Rivers June 2014
Komen Houston team members with Joan Rivers. Photo by Rena O.
Staci Adams, Betsy Clardy, Margo Wolanin and Dixie Mullins at Komen luncheon featuring Joan Rivers
Staci Adams, from left, Betsy Clardy, Margo Wolanin and Dixie Mullins Photo by Rena O.
Reba Ritter-Rooter Susan G. Komen Houston luncheon with Joan Rivers June 2014
Reba Ritter-Rooter. Photo by Rena O.
Janet Morgan, Linda Bills, Kim Friedman, Janine Morrell and Sandra Thiem at Komen luncheon featuring Joan Rivers June 2014
Janet Morgan, from left, Linda Bills, Kim Friedman, Janine Morrell and Sandra Thiem. Photo by Rena O.
Vivian Dugger, from left, Hanh Tran and Anne Meyn Susan G. Komen Houston luncheon with Joan Rivers June 2014
Vivian Dugger, from left, Hanh Tran and Anne Meyn. Photo by Rena O.
Joan Rivers and Lily Jang at Komen luncheon June 2014
Joan Rivers and Lily Jang. Photo by Rena O.
Emiliy Graybal, Leah Ashley, Laura Knauth and Ashley Szczpanski at Komen luncheon featuring Joan Rivers June 2014
Emily Graybal, Leah Ashley, Laura Knauth and Ashley Szczpanski. Photo by Rena O.
Danny and Betsy Kamin with Joan Rivers at Komen luncheon June 2014
Danny and Betsy Kamin with Joan Rivers, center. Photo by Rena O.
Joan Rivers Susan G. Komen Houston luncheon with Joan Rivers June 2014
Joan Rivers. Photo by Rena O.
Komen Houston team with Joan Susan G. Komen Houston luncheon with Joan Rivers June 2014
Staci Adams, Betsy Clardy, Margo Wolanin and Dixie Mullins at Komen luncheon featuring Joan Rivers
Reba Ritter-Rooter Susan G. Komen Houston luncheon with Joan Rivers June 2014
Janet Morgan, Linda Bills, Kim Friedman, Janine Morrell and Sandra Thiem at Komen luncheon featuring Joan Rivers June 2014
Vivian Dugger, from left, Hanh Tran and Anne Meyn Susan G. Komen Houston luncheon with Joan Rivers June 2014
Joan Rivers and Lily Jang at Komen luncheon June 2014
Emiliy Graybal, Leah Ashley, Laura Knauth and Ashley Szczpanski at Komen luncheon featuring Joan Rivers June 2014
Danny and Betsy Kamin with Joan Rivers at Komen luncheon June 2014
Joan Rivers Susan G. Komen Houston luncheon with Joan Rivers June 2014

Houston organizers of the 2014 Susan B. Komen Foundation Impact Awards Luncheon knew what they were getting when they invited outrageous comedienne Joan Rivers as featured guest: A lot of risque jokes guaranteed to make the ladies who lunch gasp.

In that respect, the 81-year-old star of Fashion Police didn't disappoint during her 39-minute stand-up routine, as she covered everything from how gay men fake orgasms to vaginal piercings and Bruce Jenner (don't ask). Rivers rushed into the Royal Sonesta Hotel ballroom about 20 minutes late, complaining that the Mercedes limo that had been sent to pick her up broke down on the way from the Bush Intercontinental Airport.

"The Germans can kill 6 million people and you can't fix a carburetor," she lamented as the audience of 400 tittered with laughter.

 Rivers limited her most outrageous jokes in favor of an inspirational speech that encouraged cancer survivors and those facing challenges to put aside "doom and gloom" attitudes and learn how to laugh at any situation. 

But, surprisingly, Rivers limited her most outrageous jokes in favor of an inspirational speech that encouraged cancer survivors and those facing challenges to put aside "doom and gloom" attitudes and learn how to laugh at any situation. She recalled that the lowest point in her life, in the 1980s, when her husband committed suicide, her daughter wouldn't talk to her, her talk show was canceled and Johnny Carson, who had once been her mentor, continued to shun her — all within a few days.

"Things were horrific. I was 50 years and I suddenly realized I had to start over. I knew I had to pull myself together. And now 30 years later, I have the No. 1 show on E! . . . I am more in demand than ever," she said.

Her secret to success?

"You must, never, never, never forget in your darkest moment that things turn around. Push forward. Don't dwell. I always say give yourself a "weekend wallow." Get in bed and pull the covers over you head. And then move forward. Think of yourself as a racehorse with blinders on and worry about your own race. Never mind what's going on around you."

Before she goes to bed each night, even on the worst day, Rivers said she lists three good things that have happened to her. "Sometimes it's as bad as 'My manicure still looks good' or 'Thank god I wasn't married to O.J. Simpson,' " she said.

And always remember to laugh, she said.

"If you laugh at something it's not so terrible. It changes everything. I read in the New York Times where 100 laughs a day is equal to 10 minutes of exercise. What would you rather do? Work out on some awful treadmill or look at the mirror naked?" she asked as the audience roared.

Before Rivers arrived, a dozen individuals and businesses were honored for their contributions to the fight against breast cancer. Those who received recognition included Leah Ashley, Lourdes Hernandez, Anne and Clarence Cazalot, Daniel Quiroz, Christine Carbo Marziotti, Nurith and Marty Schonberger and Trish Nguyen, as well as Amegy Bank, The Methodist Hospital Foundation, Nabors Corporate Services, National Oilwell Varco and Kroger.

Also on hand were Channel 11's Lily Jang, who emceeded the luncheon, Komen Houston board president Anne Meyn, Komen Houston executive director Adriana Higgins, Brenda Lightfoot, Brenda Pattillo, Chuck Bowman, Hanh Tran, whose bracelets were sold at the event with proceeds going to Komen, Vivian Dugger, Betsy and Dan Kamin, Theresa Roemer, Carol Barley, Kristen Barley, Staci Adams, Betsy Clardy, Margo Wolanin and Dixie Mullins.