In an exclusive interview with ET Canada’s Roz Weston, Melissa Rivers opens up about carrying on the memory of her late mother, Joan Rivers, with a new book, Joan Rivers Confidential: The Unseen Scrapbooks, Joke Cards, Personal Files and Photos of a Very Funny Woman Who Kept Everything.
Rivers, who previously wrote about her mother in the 2015 book The Life Of Joan, spent time collecting intimate monologues, letters from famous friends and personal mementos of Joan for her new book which comes three years after the comedian’s death. For Rivers, she’s still going through the grieving process that comes after losing a parent.
“I think people expected me to have a very heightened grief process, maybe because it was public, maybe because people felt such an attachment to our family and to my mother. The loss of her was so palpable to so many people – but I believe that grief is normal,” she explains. “I think I’m right where I should be at three years.”
Rivers, 49, and her mother had a close bond in front of the cameras, but she says it was just your average mother-daughter relationship.
“I’m lucky that I had a great relationship with my mom but it was very normal,” she says. “We had our ups and downs and our disagreements and our arguments… It was the best mother-daughter relationship because it was so normal.”
Part of their private life is revealed in Rivers’ new book, a project she is very proud of but admits it wasn’t always easy.
“I’m really happy with it. It was a tough project, on a lot of levels. So, I am surprisingly proud of it, because I’m not proud of much of what I do,” she tells ET Canada. “I’m always, ‘Well that was good, how do we do it next time better?’ I don’t cut myself any slack.”
The always outspoken comedian would have had a lot to say about today’s political climate, according to her daughter.
“Honestly, she would be very troubled and very sad at how much anger and unhappiness and hate there is in the world right now – especially in America,” Rivers says. “She would also be very frustrated I think by so much political correctness, that everybody’s forgotten how to take a deep breath, and how to laugh.”
She continues: “No matter how different you are from someone, and no matter how diametrically opposed your opinions or beliefs may be, if you can find common ground through humour, you can’t hate each other. Because when you think of them, the first thing you’re going to think of is laughing.”