Eight months after her beloved mother’s death, Melissa Rivers is learning to laugh again. Releasing her series of essays on life with the late Joan Rivers, called The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation, the Fashion Police executive producer said in a May 13 HuffPost Live interview that collecting reflections of her mother proved to be cathartic.
Rivers, 47, waited three weeks after her mom’s September 2014 death to explore options for the book’s release, and said it was important in her grieving process not to write a memoir. “When I found out [how much I’d get paid] . . . my mother would have killed me if I didn’t do it. It’s the one thing I did right.”
Curating the collection of stories, letters, and other mementos in the book “gave me permission to laugh,” Rivers said. “It made it okay to laugh and think about good times and funny times when I was writing.”
Reflecting on the tumultuous few days between when the Joan Knows Best star was placed in a medically-induced coma after her endoscopic procedure and when she died, Rivers said the first time she laughed after her mom’s death was at her funeral. “I spent time with my mom alone and I started to giggle. I thought about what a bad day my dad is having, because she’s there [in heaven] and she’s pissed,” Rivers said, referring to her father, Edgar Rosenberg, who committed suicide in 1987. “I was much more at peace with the anger [of his suicide] than she was. I started to giggle and I’m like, ‘My dad is just having a bad day. He’s thinking ‘Oh s–t.'”
Following her mother’s death, Rivers was inundated with condolences from Hollywood, including one from Courtney Love, which the mom of Cooper, 14, called her favorite. “She put out a post along the lines of ‘I haven’t finished looking like a mess yet, you can’t be gone.’ Katy Perry‘s was ‘what’s the point of wearing these stupid outfits if Joan isn’t around to criticize them?’ . . . Those are the ones I loved because it meant they got it – they loved her and saw the humor,” Rivers told HuffPost Live. “They understood it wasn’t personal and was funny, and the fact that we could talk and joke about you meant you were relevant.”
“I loved seeing that outpouring from women — especially those who took the heat on Fashion Police — because it meant they got it. One of the reasons my mother was able to say what she said was because it always came from a place of ‘isn’t this fabulous?!'” Rivers continued. “It’s not saying you’re a bad person. If we don’t like one of the 20 dresses you got for free that you wore this week? Lighten up! My mother would say that when you make yourself laugh or allow yourself to laugh, it was like taking a mini vacation.”
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