Caught part of the Joan Rivers roast on Comedy Central the other night. To paraphrase Philip Roth: Never have I heard the word vagina spoken so much in one evening, and I am a woman who has heard the word vagina spoken.
Joan’s vagina, we heard, is old, dry, old, stretched, old, foul-smelling, old, well-traveled and I’m probably forgetting something else, but you get the gist. When they weren’t talking about her vagina they were talking about her face, which is fair game when someone has had as much plastic surgery as she has. I never know how the roastee is supposed to react at those things; I guess you’re pretty much required to be a good sport, but Rivers’ face work made it hard to tell — her expression was the same smile throughout, even when they were joking about her late husband, a suicide.
But mostly the talk was about vaginas. When did we decide “vagina” was not only OK to say on television, but funny? It’s not a funny word. It sounds too medical, like pancreas. When I was a girl and first encountered the word in print — because that was a time before people spoke it aloud outside of a doctor’s office — I thought it was pronounced va-GEE-na, and as far as I’m concerned it should be. It was years before I met that hostile long-I sound, and I disliked it immediately. Saying vagina the way it’s correctly pronounced makes you open your mouth just a tad too wide. Like Joan Rivers’ vagina! See, I can be a roaster, too.
“Vagina” isn’t funny. The body part’s other euphemisms? Funny. Kitty, poontang, ya ya — all funny. “Muffin” — very funny. And the roasters were, in general, not funny, or not funny enough. If you’re going to work that blue, you better be funny, but after the first few vaginas, it just got dull. Gilbert Gottfried livened things up with a long, long vagina riff that actually was funny; it took on the surreal colors of his Aristocrats joke at the Hugh Hefner roast. It was the line about the unicorn peeking out that cracked me up. Gottfried isn’t afraid to walk right up to the abyss and lean way out; in this sense he distinguishes himself from the other no-names or never-wases on the stage. (See this classic account of the Hugh Hefner event, just weeks after 9/11, at which Gottfried brought the house down, and even Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t bad.)
I don’t know how to wrap this up, so how about if I just repeat a Gilbert Gottfried line: Joan Rivers’ vagina has tested positive for dust.
And then go to the bloggage:
I sat in a giant tank of water for a solid Saturday, and it was kind of fun, actually. I mean, once you’re wet, you’re wet. You don’t get any more wet. So you’re just kind of like, “All right, here we are.” And it was a bunch of crewmembers and waiters and an incredibly skillfully constructed set, and I think a pretty cool image that they got out of it as well. I’m sure they could have done some kind of photo trickery, but this makes for a better story, and it’s way cooler to go build it and do it for reals. I think online, there’s a time-lapse image of it filling up, too.
Santorum in 2012! No, I’m not kidding.
Well, shut my mouth: Turns out Rove was involved in the U.S. attorney firings after all.
This is cool: Vote for your favorite song from Woodstock. I’m down with “Soul Sacrifice,” but as usual, I’m in the minority.