New York Post Theater Critic Michael Riedel Remembers Joan Rivers

New York post theater critic--and Sarasota Magazine contributing editor--Michael Riedel remembers Joan Rivers.

By Sarasota Magazine September 9, 2014


If you're like us, you're probably feeling like the world is a little less sparkly--and snarky--now that Joan Rivers is gone. But we take solace in the fact that Joan stories will live on for years--like this one from New York Post theater columnist--and Sarasota Magazine contributing editor--Michael Riedel.

"I ran into Joan at Clive Davis' birthday party, and she told me she'd become a critic. I asked where. She said, 'The Beverly Hills Courier.' She'd seen every show on Broadway that season and was raving about Phil Hoffman in Death of a Salesman" and several other productions. But when I asked her about some duds -- the revival of Jekyll & Hyde, for instance--she held her purse, a little black Chanel number, up to her mouth.

"A few months later, I asked her to join Peter Marks of The Washington Post and Ben Brantley of The New York Times on our end-of-season critics' panel. 'But you can't bring your purse!' I said. 'You have to render a verdict on both the good and the bad.'

"She didn't hold back, as you can see on the YouTube clip. In fact, I thought her judgments were sound and, when necessary, as bitchy as anything John Simon, the famously mean critic from New York magazine, might say.

"My favorite moment was when I asked Joan where she placed herself in the tradition of theater criticism.

"'I am the voice of the people,' she said.

"Peters Marks laughed and said, "The voice of the people? And you write for the Beverly Hills Courier?"

"'Yes,' Joan said. 'My people.'"

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