Joan Rivers Talks to PND About Annie Duke and Celebrity Apprentice
This weekend, comedian Joan Rivers will square off against archrival Annie Duke in the finale of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. The three hour episode airs at 8:00pm ET. Rivers sat down with Poker News Daily to discuss her mindset headed into the finals.
Poker News Daily: Why did you sign up for Celebrity Apprentice? What was appealing about the show?
Rivers: The fact that Melissa and I could have five weeks together was very appealing. The challenges of the show were also appealing. I love a challenge. Celebrity Apprentice has been very good for my charity, God’s Love We Deliver. It’s a local charity for me and I’m very involved with them. We’ve raised over $125,000 for them.
PND: Had you watched previous seasons of the show?
Rivers: I have never seen it before. I knew it was about raising money for charity, but I thought it was actually doing tasks to help your charity out, not pulling out a list of contacts and making calls. I got my Rolodex real fast.
PND: You’ve had an ongoing clash with poker player Annie Duke. In your opinion, when did the feud start and why?
Rivers: It started from the very beginning. Annie is a very good poker player obviously, but plays people like poker. Poker should be kept at the poker table. God knows I love poker. If you look at that painting with the dogs playing poker, I’m the fifth one on the right. Suddenly, it evolved into “Joan doesn’t like poker players.” I started in Las Vegas.
My downstairs neighbor plays slots, so it’d be like me saying, “I hate slots.” It got out of hand and became ridiculous. My father worked his way through medical school playing poker. What I do like about poker players is that they keep the masseuses up all night in Las Vegas. No one uses masseuses at night except for poker players and entertainers.
PND: You mentioned to Piers Morgan on last week’s episode that your biggest problem with Duke is that she is manipulative. Can you explain how she’s manipulative?
Rivers: It’s not a “fun” manipulative, if you know what I mean. We all know how to play each other. We’re all good business people. You don’t invite yourself out to dinner with me and then go tell Brande that I asked you, but I didn’t ask her.
PND: What was your own strategy coming into the game?
Rivers: I used the same strategy that I have used throughout my life and it’s been a good one: Put blinders on and just go forward. Don’t look to your left and don’t look to your right; just concentrate on where you’re going and go the extra mile. I am such a hard worker. I am talking to you right now and have three meetings in the next four hours. Then, I get on a plane to London, have two meetings there, and will be back on Friday to appear on Jimmy Fallon’s show. On Saturday afternoon, I’m taking my grandson to the theater and then performing that night in New Jersey. On Sunday, I have the Celebrity Apprentice finale.
PND: You and show host Donald Trump seem to have a considerable amount of history together. Can you talk about your relationship with Trump prior to the show?
Rivers: I’ve seen him around and was always friendly with his ex-sister-in-law and his sister. I have great respect for Donald. He’s an extremely smart man. Don’t ever be fooled by Donald. He didn’t get to where he is by luck.
PND: Talk about your relationship with your daughter, Melissa Rivers, on the show. Is that indicative of your relationship away from Celebrity Apprentice?
Rivers: Probably. I’m a very family-oriented person. Business is business; work is work. When every chip is down, my family is always first. That’s the way we were brought up.
PND: Talk about your reaction to Melissa’s firing.
Rivers: If Melissa had been fired for something she did wrong or a lack of work, then that’s fine. However, she was fired for duplicity, sleaziness, and high school pettiness. Annie found the stupid blonde and knew damn well that she had to get rid of her competition. When we were all girlfriends in the beginning of the show, Annie went down the line saying things like, “Claudia Jordan is lazy” and “Brande Roderick is stupid.” She said that Melissa and I were her biggest competition. Annie is a smart person, but at some point, you have to push yourself away from the poker table.
PND: Heading into the final episode, what will it take for Joan Rivers to win?
Rivers: If winning means money, I don’t win, but that’s what brought this country to its knees. Look at the Bernard Madoffs and the AIGs: If it’s only about money, then I don’t want to win. If it’s about playing a great game, I never stopped and I won a lot. I brought in a lot of money, but that wasn’t all I did.
PND: If Celebrity Apprentice producers called you to compete on a future season, would we see you on air?
Rivers: In a second. Give me a task. Say that I have 24 hours to build the Brooklyn Bridge and I’ll do it. Give me 24 hours to play poker and get into a tournament and I’ll do it. I love challenges.
PND: Where does your love for challenges stem from?
Rivers: I think my career has been a series of challenges. I’ve written books, produced plays, and have two new series coming out. It’s always something new. When you’re a child, you say, “I want to do that.” I’m still like a little kid in that respect. I’m the Benjamin Button of comedy.
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