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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I hope you draw a great hand and that Melissa comes back to help!

Lots of people, women in particular, are hoping you win, Joan – you are an inspiration to 3 generations of women in my family.

Take care and all the best to you and Melissa!


I truly respect you Joan.

I really hope you win.


Love Joan… get Annie and take her down!


Annie all the way…she might be self centered but who isn’t? Anybody who claims otherwise is in denial…she’s a poker player and a damn good one. I respect the fact that she can make money purely on her skills on the table! Annie, ur an inspiration to all female pro poker player wanna bes…keep living the dream and kick some butt next Sunday! Business is a lot like poker, lie, cheat and steal is the name of the game except business ppl are hiding these facts by the facade of righteousness and political correctness but what do they usually say about business? It’s a dog eat dog world!!!


When I hear the song “Bette Davis Eyes” I think of Joan :)

“She’ll take a tumble on you
Roll you like you were dice until you come up blue
She’s got Bette Davis eyes”

Take it to her, Joan!


Geez What a windbag !!! Her face looks like those old alabaster dolls from the 1920’s.
She should have been eliminated weeks ago but Trump needs ratings and Old bags spewing venom are amusing to the TV audience even If it destroys whatever respect She may have had at one time. Annie will romp as Joan’s “money friends” will not come through. Melissa should stay home and whine about high school.

Mrs. C.

I would love to see Joan win! Everything she says about Annie Duke is true. You can see that Ms. Duke is a low life piece of white trash. First of all, she has no respect for anyone and certainly not for her elders. Secondly, she is totally narcissistic. How does she live with herself being “so perfect” and “so much better” then anyone else? Did you see her laying all over Jesse James? What was that all about?

I’m hoping that Donald Trump is setting Annie up for the big let down on national television. She needs to have her bubble burst. Joan is right, Brande is stupid. She doesn’t even realize that Ms. Duke was setting her up and stepping right on her to do it. Why do I think that Ms. Duke will not be calling Brande after the show to have coffee?

GOOD LUCK JOAN! If the best MAN wins, then it’ll be Annie Duke, because YOU are a true LADY through and through!


Joan’s a survivor through hard work and love of people. I watched from the first episodes of CA that joan was a worker among workers. that annie chick was all about herself! she’s so into winning I think trump better watch out , she’s got something up her sleeves and it ain’t cards. Joan comes off emotional because she actually expresses her feelings, but annie does’nt really let it all hang out because she’s all about scheming and manipulating people.
Go Joan-I admire you win or lose!


Pretty sad that Joan won. Joan kept talking about honor and being a role model. I saw neither in Joan’s performance on the show this season. Pretty dispicable woman really.

I am actually shocked at the prior postings who see her as a lady or inspiration. I don’t want my three daughters taking an ounce of inspiration from that woman.

Annie may be a narcissist but appears like a great lady.


I watched just the final show (only one all season) and if i could judge from all the name calling coming from joan’s side, I would have given it to Annie, joan is a despicable human being ,never liked her and she just justified all my feelings. who made her queen so she could look down her nose at gamblers. lets see how many of them will buy her jewelly now.i could tell early on that the Donald was leaning joan’s way, and i agree with a prior blogger who said it was all about the ratings and nothing to do with raising money for charity. i’snt it ironic that the final episode suddenly it was not about raing money.


Absolutely agree with Darren. Although I’d say Joan reeks of narcissism much more than Annie. Annie lost with grace and took a hell of an emotional beating, one that frankly she didn’t deserve. But in the end, the charities win, that all that matters… but I’m really upset at the height of the pedestal on which Joan is being placed. She did not act honorably. If you believe she did then you are just as self delusional as she is.

Ms O

I have seen my last Apprentice! I will never watch the show again. It was so obvious from the very first episode that Donald favored Joan and she could do anything she wanted – was late two days, was gone one whole day, quit the show and walked out, and in the final show accused Annie of lying about the cancellation of the decorator. If you look at the tape of the show, you can see and hear Joan talking on the phone and how obnoxious she was. The decorator kept trying to tell her that there wasn’t enough time to do what she wanted. Finally, he quit. Clint was sitting across the table from Joan the whole time and heard everything. When Joan finished, Clint asked her what about Annie which Joan completely ignored. Annie is then seen trying to reach the decorator by phone as they were waiting for him to come to give them some suggestions. Annie goes to the office and they don’t want to talk. Annie has no idea what is going on and the decorator says they quit and won’t have anything to do with Celebrity Apprentice. When Annie tries to talk abut this to Mr. Trump, Joan interrupts and Donald Trump goes along with it. The liar is Joan Rivers herself. Of course Melissa had to get in on the name calling and she wasn’t even there. Just check your tape and you will see how wrong you were!

Ms O friend

Ms O you are absolutely RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mr Trump is a joke along with Joan Rivers and her daughter. Annie Duke you rock!


Whoever defends Joan Rivers must be joking. How can anyone respect that woman after she called Brandi and Annie ‘whores’, called Brandi ‘a dumb blonde’, called Annie a ‘Nazi’, among many other ridiculous statements…..that’s just completely uncalled for, unprofessional, and down right dispicable. I was shocked to see that she stooped to such a low level….who in their right mind could possibly side with this woman and view her as a great ‘role model’ as Donald put it. This was DEFINETLY about ratings…..what made me throw up in my mouth was how when Annie pointed out Joan’s rude remarks, and how she screwed up (i.e. made the decorating company quit) in the boardroom Joan would just started flinging insults and Donald would side with her!……just pathetic — I have no respect for the woman nor anyone who defends her.


South Africa saw the last episode of the celebrity apprentice last night. I must say, after watching this episode my opinion of Donald Trump changed drastically. I have always thought of him a great man who make sound decisions without fear or favour but last nights, the show proved otherwise. Joan and her daughter were out of hand throughout the show, they just showed how low and immoral they were, like Mother like daughter. If Joan wasn’t funny, I am sure you’d find her in trailer park somewher,drunk and cursing the after every second word, she just suits the caliber. And Mr stinking hair chose to associate to the sort, he showed favour towards them irrespective of their unprofessional behaviour. Annie won fair and square, Joan knows it and so does Donald Trump. I suppose Donald considered the show a marketing exercise for himself to get in good book of Joans fans and connection and that is pathetic for a man of stature. Donald sucks! ….stinking hair


annie showed far more class than joan.donald trump should have insisted that joan and melissav apologise for their comments.double standards is you look at how he treated khloe

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