"The only time I play the age card is on planes when I'm trying to put a bag above the seat: 'I am 80 years old! Would someone please help me?!'"
Actually, she only turned 80 on Saturday, a milestone that has prompted the E! network to stage a Joan Rivers "takeover": Its regular one-hour edition of "Fashion Police" (airing Friday at 10 p.m.) will be a black-tie birthday salute, preceded nightly through Thursday by special half-hours (at 10:30 p.m.) featuring guest appearances by celebrities and even victims of past fashion slams.
Rivers is well-served by her co-hosts Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos, all of whom can deliver shrewd analysis as well as piercing gibes at red-carpet infractions.
But "Fashion Police" is perfectly tailored to the comedic skills of Rivers as demonstrated by her 46-years-and-counting in show biz.
Hear her hail Uma Thurmond, sheathed in Versace at the Cannes Film Festival: "This gown is so feminine, so silver -- it's the Anderson Cooper of dresses!"
Hear her skewer a baggy, Alexander McQueen jumpsuit worn by Marion Cotillard at a Crash Magazine party: "The pattern looks like Precious sat on somebody's butterfly collection."
Sure, it's "Police" brutality, but Rivers and her "Joan Rangers" are never less than arresting.
"We do the jokes, and we tell the truth, too," Rivers sums up proudly. "E! told me, 'Whatever you want to say, you say.' We're having so much fun! And our lawyers are so dear."
Not that any celeb should get her knickers in a twist over fashion feedback from any loose-lipped comedian -- or so says Rivers, anyway.
"When you're making $20 million a picture and the dress is free, do you really care if Joan Rivers says you shouldn't wear a peplum?" she said. "I don't think Julia Roberts sits up at night thinking, 'She said what?!"'
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