Tonight my two good friends and I watched the Joan Rivers documentary “A Piece of Work.” I actually loved it. I thought that the filming was artful and that her life is completely fascinating. The most interesting aspect is that the documentary chronicles a relatively low point in her career when she’s faced with long stretches without bookings. She and her staff search relentlessly for comedy clubs, casinos, cruises and other venues for her to get some facetime and money. In one of the scenes where the team laughs off disappointment my good friend Erin said that she would be Joan Rivers’ assistant. She thought it would be fun.
I don’t think I would want to be somebody’s personal assistant. I’m thinking of people who I idolize or respect deeply, and while I like them, I still don’t think I would want to be a PA. It’s not that I can’t handle the PA tasks like making phone calls or picking up dry cleaning. I’ve worked in some jobs that suck and sometimes you do mundane things for your paycheck. The biggest trouble for me would be watching somebody else do what I wish I could do every day (even if I respect the person). I can be be a bit jealous. I think it would get the best of me eventually. I think I would start to resent the situation.
I want to always make sure that I am the person Doing. I don’t even mean Leading, Governing or Starring. I just mean Doing. I want the chance to leave my unique mark instead of assisting somebody else to leave theirs. With the words of Sister Acts‘ Sister Mary Roberts I ask: “Does that sound like sin to you? like pride?”
Joan Rivers is proud. This entire documentary is about how she won’t yeild the spotlight without a fight even after 45 years of work, plenty of money, and the label of Comedy Icon. I want to be hot shit, but I expect that someday I’ll give it a rest. Ideally I would make some art, make some comfortable money, make some connections, have some great experiences and once I’ve had my fill I will sit at home, eat all day and watch Jeopardy. I would like to make my mark to show that I can and then immediately embrace some sort of earned rest. I also want Jeopardy seasons on DVD.
So. I should probably go to bed so in the morning I can wake up and conquer the world. Then as soon as I’ve conquered it I’ll give it back and lead a quiet life. Watch the Doc. It’s good work.