Remembering the day we got to work with Joan.
There’s really something magical about working in this business. On a good day, you get to experience stuff that you probably wouldn’t get to do in any other profession. In the summer of 2010, we walked into a recording studio to make a radio campaign with the legendary Joan Rivers. Little surprise here, but it wasn’t like most sessions. I was both nervous and excited. Excited to meet a celebrity, but more nervous, to be honest.
My fear was that unknown factor of dealing with celebrity talent – they can sometimes call the shots and it may be awkward asking for changes, or heck, just making eye contact. With Joan, it wasn’t like that at all. This broad rolled up her sleeves and reminded us why she’s been referred to as “the hardest working woman in show biz”.
Sure we were all like a bunch of giddy teenagers at a One Direction concert, but we also didn’t know what to expect in terms of Joan’s willingness to engage with us. We tried really hard to write scripts in her comedic wheelhouse and we hoped, that she would embrace the ads and add her shtick.
She definitely brought her A–game, with more edge and sass than most 20 year olds today. We immediately felt comfortable and knew she was the right call.
Joan Rivers actually read a line that we had on paper for her and said “oh, that’s funny.” I think we actually levitated off the studio floor. (The writer may have even shed a tear over it.) Of course she made them way funnier, but the compliment was totally unexpected. She was a true professional and an absolute joy to work with.
That day was an advertising gift - we got more than just a great campaign out of it, we got a story to take with us to our grand-kids. We actually got to meet the first female comedian to appear on Johnny Carson.
Rest in Peace Joan. It was an honour to work and laugh with you.
- Phil Sylver