Joan Rivers hates everyone, except D.C., Nancy Reagan and the 13 colonies.
Don’t be fooled by the title of her new book — I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me — she assures ITK that she actually adores Washington.
At a Monday party at downtown D.C.’s Central restaurant to celebrate the release of the comic tome, Rivers recalled visiting the nation’s capital with a friend during the height of tourist season: “We took a July 4th weekend, like idiots, two years ago and we did every tourist thing you can do on July 4th and it was fabulous … [Sounds] corny, but it makes you proud to be an American.”
But that’s about as cheesy as the comedy legend got during our conversation. At 79, Rivers hasn’t lost her bite.
While she mentions on the very first page of her book that first ladies are among those she detests, Rivers said with a sly smile there’s one president’s spouse she appreciated: “I liked Jackie Onassis, because she knew enough to recycle the pink suit.” In a photo of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s swearing-in ceremony, Onassis was seen wearing the same suit she wore two hours earlier, when President Kennedy was assassinated.
Jokes (sort of) aside, the host of E’s “Fashion Police” — looking glam in a black blouse with bejeweled sleeves — applauded red-loving former White House resident Nancy Reagan for her sense of style: “You just look at how she looks and you just go, ‘Whoa.’ I think she looked amazing … It was always pulled together and appropriate.”
But she thinks other Washington types could use a little help: “I feel very sorry for congressmen’s wives, because they have to look nice and we know that they don’t make that much money.”
Rivers describes her own political beliefs as “across the board,” and expresses frustration with celebrities who toot their horns for candidates and causes.
“We’re not qualified, most of us, to lead people. And unfortunately people are interested who Britney Spears thinks should run for president. Britney Spears should worry about who works as the CEO of McDonald’s,” Rivers quipped in her signature smoky tone.
She’s quick to snap at Anna Wintour, the threadlike Vogue editor who’s holding a high-profile fundraiser on Thursday for President Obama: “Anna Wintour’s Democratic fundraiser for $40,000 a plate is a little bit of an oxymoron. I think if you’ve got $40,000 to eat dinner, and Anna Wintour — who doesn’t eat — already you shouldn’t be a Democrat. You should be a Republican.”
But the Brooklyn-born entertainer admits she would jump at the chance “in a hot second” to hobnob with a commander in chief at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. “It’s not who’s in the White House. It’s the idea that you’re an immigrant’s daughter and you’re going to the White House … I would’ve gone to the White House if Mussolini was president. It’s the White House!”
For now, Rivers will have to settle for another kind of outing. She’s planning a patriotic pilgrimage this summer with her 11-year-old grandson “We rented out a rock star motor home that I think Mick Jagger used,” she said, “and we’re going to visit all 13 of the original colonies.”
And in honor of the colonial journey, Rivers cracked, “I won’t shave my armpits and I won’t wear deodorant. Don’t hate me by the time we get to New Hampshire.”
Perhaps surprisingly, politicians are mostly left out of all the folks Rivers names in I Hate Everyone, a list that ranges from Betty White to hosts who hide the extra roll of toilet paper. But that leads the red-carpet fixture to another idea. “Of course we should’ve done politicians,” she said. “Of course, especially for Washington. I didn’t even think of that … That’ll be the next book.”