What beats a CNN interview in terms of scoring publicity for your new book? How about a moment of raging indignation followed by a dramatic early exit from a CNN interview?
That seemed to be the prevailing wisdom today when a cantankerous Joan Rivers lost her patience with flighty interviewer Fredricka Whitfield’s line of questioning about whether the 81-year-old comic’s brand of humor ever crosses a line into cruelty.
“You really think Nicki Minaj cares I didn’t like her dress?” Rivers huffed when Whitfield noted that her guest’s work on E!’s Fashion Police is “very mean in some ways.”
Whitfield pressed on with a not-terribly-eloquent line of questioning, eventually noting that in Rivers’ new book, Diary of a Mad Diva, she “kind of joke[s] about the death of Casey Anthony’s baby [and] Princess Diana surviving so many land mines.”
Rivers’ response — that “life is very tough” and that even jokes about grim subject matter give people “a vacation for a minute from horror” — got even testier when Whitfield mentioned criticisim that the comic was wearing fur on the cover of her book.
“Are you wearing leather shoes?” she roared. “Then shut up!” Rivers then grumbled, “you are not the one to interview a person who does humor, sorry,” stood up and walked off the set — leaving a stunned Whitfield to ask, “Are you serious?”