Joan Rivers Bolts From CNN Interview: 'You Are Not the One to Interview a Person Who Does Humor!'

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?”

Watch video of the exchange, then tell us whose side you’re on: TeamJoan or TeamCNN? Take our poll below, then hit the comments to expand on your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. wrstlgirl says:

    Well she doesn’t make me laugh, she’s not funny. In fact I find her revolting.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      And you have the right to that opinion, you can yell it from the mountain tops, but thats where the rights end. Funny is subjective. I respect anyone who says shes not funny, or her act is revolting or her comments are repulsive…but when they start petitioning for her to be fired or picketing or anything like that…i get fed up with the P.C. requirement of this country. There are SO many other things to be disgusted by and take up action on…the inaction of our politicians, our Wars, whats happening in Africa/India/Middle East and SO much more. Shes not the devil for making a Rihanna/Chris Brown joke.

      For context, yes sometimes i cringe, and sometimes its stuff that’s just based on rumor and not really that funny, but sometimes its funny, sometimes its hilarious. I think a lot of times people are WAY to sensitive, and what she says does poke fun at these overly serious, “actors/actresses/musicians” who act like their art/life is saving peoples lives and HAS to be taken seriously…while at the same time they are snorting coke, banging hookers, beating each other up, getting in twitter fights, etc.

      • Amanda says:

        Well, that escalated quickly.

        • M3rc Nate says:

          Reality will do that to you. Its all fun in games in a entertainment magazine until you pick up an actual paper and see whats ACTUALLY going on in the world…THEN you have something to be disgusted about, and to get up off your a** and do something about. Instead of sitting at home watching Fashion Police being outraged at a 80 year olds comedians “mean” jokes.

          • Rebecca Parker says:

            Yet you’re spending your time “taking action” against opinions on the internet. Don’t you know there are bigger problems in the world?

      • B says:

        Probably a good thing that OP didn’t try to exercise any additional “rights.” Calm tf down yo

      • S. says:

        Funny is subjective. But mean isn’t funny. Mean is just mean. And River’s doesn’t just limit it to celebrities, but to news items like the death of Casey Anthony’s baby. She steps out of line and then throws a hissy fit when she’s called on it. She wants to be able to make fun of people but doesn’t like to be criticized in the same way. She’s a bully.
        And too many “comedians” are. They mock the world around them, and get defensive when called on it, saying “It was just a joke. Can’t you take a joke?” I can, when you make one. But when all you’re doing is being negative and hateful and calling it funny, and then trying to make it my fault that I don’t find you humorous, then we have a problem.

        • scooter says:

          Amen! Thank you ^
          Rivers is a has-been. Don’t know why the media even gives her the time of day.
          And yes, I took the time to read the article (although not view the video) and comment on this poor excuse of a human being.

      • Dana says:

        Nate is dead on! I was cringing watching this interviewer. She seems to fall in line with Nates description of serious actors/actresses (news anchors) and so on………………….in the self righteous valley girl attitude she portrayed.

  2. This guy says:

    This interviewer belongs on fox and friends

  3. Jan says:

    I voted “Team Joan” primarily because the interviewer was such an idiot. Joan was right; the woman was just going negative throughout. She seemed to be wanting Joan to apologize for something, which is totally ridiculous. The girl obviously didn’t do her homework on her interviewee.

    • Kat says:

      I agree. Journalism has become so biased, people don’t even realize when an interviewer is attacking any more. While I don’t agree with Joan Rivers’ style of humor and do think most of it is too biting/bordering on mean, Fredricka wasn’t conducting an interview. She was stating her own preferences by saying Joan Rivers’ humor was “mean,” she was parroting social media backlash and nitpicking, then expecting Joan to defend herself.

      • Larc says:

        Too many so-called “journalists” use these situations to try and drive home their own preconceived points rather rather than just doing good, unbiased interviews. Good for Joan! More people need to tell them to go to hell and walk out on them when they start on their own agendas. Reporters should remember they and their opinions aren’t news.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      I agree…i mean who would want to be interviewed by her now? She wasnt taking it seriously, she obviously had a agenda, she is laughing during it and even afterwards is laughing at it…its really sad what CNN has fallen to…pathetic really, though at least they fired Piers…but then again they hired him which they will never be able to redeem IMO.

    • Kim R says:

      I agree with you as well. Joan is not my cup of tea personally, but the interviewer was so unprofessional. She acted like a “mean girl” in high school. Grinning and biting at the same time and like a dog, would not let that bone go.
      She was putting Joan is a defensive position the entire time. And she seemed to think she came out smelling like a rose. Clueless!

  4. Cassie says:

    Team Fredricka all the way. About time someone exposed Joan Rivers’ senility.

    • yeah? Good for you. And this ladies and gentleman is what is wrong with the world today. The internet gave dumb people voices.

      • Are you kidding me.... says:

        So, someone doesn’t have the same opinion as yourself, and of course, your “opinion” is always right–that’s sarcasm, by the way–so, that makes THEM “dumb”? Well, your “dumb voice” flag is flying high pretty high itself, isn’t it?

    • HAP says:

      Joan is anything but senile. Maybe you should hope that you are as sharp and active as she, when you are in your 80s.

    • Johnh says:

      Haha shut up. That Interviewer was incredibly condescending and shouldn’t be interview people.

  5. Amanda says:

    I’m never Team Joan! She’s awful.

  6. cnnisawful says:

    rivers is senile. Whitfield is a moron she does not have any common sense. People are pretending rivers is funny go with it until she finally dies. whitfield simply doesn’t get things like this. she said that that baby who died in the car last week was an amazing story she is unthinking and stupid. Rivers is simply old

  7. cjeffery7 says:

    she DID basically attack her comedic style and sense of what’s funny the entire time. “yes, ok, BUT…” Joan’s there to promote her book and this lady had no idea how to interview for that. maybe she was trying to get a rise out of her, for the soundbite. while i wouldn’t call joan rivers my idol or my best friend or i like her all the time, it’s always unfortunate to see a poorly executed interview like that, especially when it’s bad to the point of walking out.

  8. Jenny says:

    I DONT like Joan rivers but I’m on her side here. The interviewer is downright unprofessional. She is completely biased. She let her own thoughts about Joan seep through as she was asking her questions. Really annoying. No one cares what you think Interviewer, just do your job.

  9. ScrubsGuy says:

    I’m on Team Slezak for putting “Sorry, I couldn’t bring myself to press ‘Play’ ” as an eloquent, polite option for those of us who rolled our eyes just a little bit.

  10. Felipe says:

    The interviewer was completely unprofessional, she kept laughing at Rivers while she was trying to defend herself.

  11. bj says:

    I’ve seen her make some absolutely cutting remarks on the red carpet in the name of humor. I tend to turn the tv off when she’s on as I don’t like her brand of humor. I find it caustic and demeaning. And it seems she doesn’t like to be criticized. She can give it, but not take it.

    I didn’t push play either.

  12. Mary says:

    Ummmm the interviewer was really effectually inappropriate. She was not in tune with Joan and did not adapt her interview to the cues that joan was sending. Need to get better interviewers. Anderson would have been good.

  13. I love me some subversive humor, but in today’s climate of micro aggressions and instant indignation, Joan is a relic from a bygone era. Back in the day you could make fun of the insanity and depravity that is the world. Today we only take our offensive humor from cartoons.

    It feels like we are moving into a humorless, politically correct, everybody take sides world…and that is sad.

  14. The interviewers face tells it all. She started that interview judging big time and never let up. Her fake laugh and smile is grating. Thank god I don’t watch CNN.

  15. tyler1861 says:

    Remember when CNN was the place to go to for real news? Remember when CNN had viewers?

  16. Jill says:

    I can’t tell, but did she have more plastic surgery done? Her face seems tighter than ever, it’s so hard to look at, for me.

  17. Who cares? It’s a comedian desperate to still make headlines well past the heyday of their career and an anchor following a rather poorly-decided direction of questioning.

  18. K says:

    The interviewer was awful. There’s being interviewed and then there’s being attacked, asking the unlikeable questions are fine but she obviously had a personal vendetta. Joan says a lot of mean comments but she’d never attack someone face to face because that wouldn’t be for comedy, it would be personal.

  19. qj201 says:

    CNN has gone sleazy. Don Lemon, Erin Burnett and even Anderson Cooper have all gotten a bit smarmy.

  20. steve says:

    CNN commented on Joan rivers’ dress code. That’s what Joan does herself when she slams other womens dress sense. It’s got to work both ways ..well…doesn’t it????? That said…The interviewer was relentlessly negative and Joan rivers had a right to tell her so. I wish more people did stand up for themselves in such situations and we wouldn’t have such banal TV

  21. Ms Thing says:

    It is so obvious that this interview wants to get a rise out of Joan. This interviewer is more suited in TMZ.

  22. Darcy Wilson says:

    It was all good until the interviewer went in on fur, because at that point it was clear she was just picking at anything.

    Which, by the way, I think would’ve been okay if the rest of the interview hadn’t been so negative before bringing it up.

  23. GeoDiva says:

    I love Joan!

  24. herman1959 says:

    Too busy laughing (at the text) to press play!

  25. Lo says:

    The interviewer needs to stop with the bitchface. It’s so obvious that she’s biased against Joan. Good for Joan. I would have thrown that book she had at Fredericka’s head if it was an in studio interview.

  26. Jo says:

    Joan Rivers is a wonderful comedian . Her remarks are not meant to be unkind, but to make people laugh at themselves. Her interviewer on the other hand was purposefully offensive, unkind and aggressively asking provocative questions. Sorry she went after you like that Joan. Thank you for all the times you made me laugh. Be well and never stop.

  27. Colleen says:

    Team Joan. Yeah, she’s mean in her commentary. Oh no! A comedian is mean?! Shocker!

    This interviewer was completely unprofessional. She wasn’t prepared for the interview. She wasn’t even conducting an interview. She was pressing her opinion on Joan and seemingly demanding that she apologize for something? It was an interview about a celebrity book! Just ask her questions about her career or the book. This can’t be this hard, right?

  28. She’s the female Don Rickles. She’s an amazing insult and shock comic and this line of questioning by Whitfield was just silly. I’d also be irritated and walking out the door if I was in her shoes.

    • Lexi says:

      Thank you. Joan has been in the business forever and the so called interviewer how many years? I told my niece research what school the interviewer attended and do not apply there. Very unprofessional. Never thought I say this- Team Joan.

  29. Irene says:

    That was an interview? Where did she go to school? She was bent on attacking not interviewing

  30. S. says:

    Rivers is a bitter old woman who can’t take criticism. The moment she’s even tentatively called on her crap she throws a hissy fit and stops off. Rivers is a mean and horrible person who has made a career out of mocking those around her. The routine grew old decades ago and she needs to bow out and leave the stage to those who are actively funny.
    No, Fredricka Whitfield is not the best of journalists. But I have no doubt Rivers has met a thousand so called journalists just like her in her extremely long career. There was no reason to throw a temper tantrum. She is mean. She knows she’s mean and frequently out of line. That’s her whole shtick. There is nothing more to her. She wore fur on the cover of her book TO cause controversy, and now she’s mad about being asked about it. This was a publicity stunt, nothing more.

  31. Amy says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always a fan of Joan Rivers but I think people get way too sensitive about what she says. She’s not trying to HURT you, she’s trying to ENTERTAIN. It’s about intent. If you don’t find it entertaining, then so be it. And I personally appreciate her philosophy on humor. I think it’s healthy to be able to make light of dark situations. But, again, I can see how others might no. THAT BEING SAID… that interviewer was shockingly unprofessional from start to end. It was like a 16 year old was doing the job. From the baiting and snarky chuckle that accompanied some questions and a response to the blatant sh*t talking she did at the end ( rather than simply saying “we were unable to finish the interview…” ), I cringed. Regardless of your view on Joan Rivers, this was an aggressive, poorly-prepared, and unprofessional interview conducted by a rather immature and unskilled “journalist”.

  32. Annie Simunic says:

    That interviewer CLEARLY doesn’t like Joan and could not give an open minded interview. Joan was 100% correct.

  33. Whatevah says:

    Joan USED to be amusing at best. She used to be more self deprecating. Now? She’s just plain nuts. She is so over the top mean, it’s time to retire. I really do think she’s doing it to be in the news. Who makes jokes about kidnap victims? Someone with no empathy that’s who.

  34. KenL says:

    Ms. Rivers is an occasionally funny person who, over the years, has become more of a train wreck than anything else. I used to laugh with her (occasionally) as she was funny, and now I laugh at her. I don’t wish her ill, of course, but this female version of Don Rickles hasn’t known when to get off the stage.

  35. Scribe says:

    It doesn’t matter whether or not Joan is funny.

    She came on the show to promote a book, expecting and rightly so that the piece was light news. She wasn’t expecting to get grilled like she was the person who knew where Jimmy Hoffa’s body is. If the reporter wants to do hard hitting news, then she’d better start looking at more substantial subject matter than attacking an aging comediene whose bread and butter is offending people. It just seems like a lazy way for the reporter to show off that she can ask the ‘hard’ questions.

  36. olivia says:

    Joan Rivers can’t take criticism? Well who would’ve thunk it?? lol..Unbelievable!! She offends people on a daily basis. Glad the old hag met her match.

  37. cjeffery7 says:

    this is like Jenna Marbles Good Morning America interview (but on a bigger level, obviously). The interviewer has no respect for the person she is talking to, or at the very least doesn’t even care enough to try. she’s just looking for a piece to go viral and unfortunately for Joan it worked. silver lining for Joan is that most people seem to be on her side.

  38. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    Majority of journalists are STUPID did you see the person who was interviewing her? Her face pretty much explains it like she was confused. DUMBASS!

  39. jamie says:

    what was all that about
    drama about nothing
    just seemed like a perfectly normal interview to me then bam Joan’s all pissed off and walking out of the interview,
    has to be a publicity stunt

  40. Maryann says:

    Joan Rivers is not funny. She is a self-important diva with no redeeming qualities. I turn off anything she appears in.

  41. johnny says:

    I find Joan really funny in Fashion Police, but to be honest, she makes some really nasty remarks. You can be honest without being a b i t c h about it. And its disgusting to use being a comedian as an excuse to bully other people. It seems that the interviewer did kinda put her on a defensive stance there, but Joan could have handled that better. But really, i wouldn’t be surprised if this whole thing was planned just to stir up some drama for attention. I mean she is releasing a book right?

  42. Tom McC says:

    Like her or not, it is obvious that she handled the situation like a child. 81 and still immature. If she had responded thoughtfully it would have gone a long way toward refuting the accusation.

  43. David4 says:

    I didn’t press play but really, 19% of people support CNN? Guess that just further proves that 20% of people in any poll will support anything.

  44. That was completely ridiculous on the part of the interviewer. It was a non-stop attack from the start, then she sat there with that bewildered look on her face like “what did I do?” I would have walked off the set too.

    • Tom McC says:

      A non-stop attack on someone who specializes in non-stop attacks in people who aren’t around to defend themselves. The CNN interviewer at least attacked her directly and Rivers came off looking like a gutless spoiled ass. She deserves no sympathy.

  45. Janie says:

    This was one of the poorest interviews I’ve ever seen. Ms Whitfield needs to go back to Interviewing 101. I guess she was going for provocative but came across as a rank amateur.

  46. Who was the clown doing the interview of Rivers? Another reason CNN is taking a nose dive! “She was putting Joan in a defensive position the entire time. And she seemed to think she came out smelling like a rose. Clueless! ” Correct CNN is clueless, ratings dropping steady thanks to the people they put on like the clown doing the interview.

  47. Who was the clown doing the interview of Rivers? Another reason CNN is taking a nose dive! “She was putting Joan in a defensive position the entire time. And she seemed to think she came out smelling like a rose. Clueless! ” Correct CNN is clueless, ratings dropping steady thanks to the people they put on like the clown doing the interview. I could care about the clown but she made it al about her though!

    • Tiffany says:

      You just hate seeing an intelligent beautiful Black women on television. The only clown in the room is you.

  48. Shirley Stoltzman: Please use the name: Sforhumanity says:

    Clever humour on most issues is a tonic. There’s a world of humour to tap into without losing your humanity. Joan Rivers has long replaced humour with a culture of shock, scrape-the-bottom-of-the-barrel vulgarity rooted in genatalia, and insult – all in the interest of cheap laughs. Ask Princess Diana’s family, Casey Anthony and her family and others how much humour there is in their pain. Her show is cheezy. To those who would shoot the messenger: protest on Joan Rivers does not preclude concern for or active involvement in global issues.

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  50. mike smith says:

    joan rivers is a comedian not a politician the whole line of questioning was negative i would have wlked off too.