Melissa Rivers Is Trying to Jump on the 'I'm Glad My Mom Died' Train
Taking a page out of Jenette McCurdy’s book, Melissa Rivers, daughter of Joan Rivers and executive producer of the since-discontinued panel show Fashion Police, has published a fiction book inspired by her late mother with the grabby title of Lies My Mother Told Me: Tall Tales from a Short Woman. After I’m Glad My Mom Died rocketed to number one on the New York Times bestseller list, post-mortem punching at your mom is apparently all the rage.
This is the third book that Rivers has written about her mother, following 2015’s The Book of Joan and Joan Rivers Confidential: The Unseen Scrapbooks, Joke Cards, Personal Files from 2017. However, Lies My Mother Told Me is Rivers’ first foray into fiction. Rivers says that this is a collection of stories that her mother could have told her, written in the late Rivers’ voice. “This is a work of fiction,” the younger Rivers assured The Atlanta Journal - Constitution, “There are only so many hours in a day to do therapy. If all this were true, I’d be in it 24/7 for years.”
Melissa Rivers, now 54 years old, is the child of Joan Rivers and the late Edgar Rosenberg. She followed her mother into show business, making her first feature film appearance at age ten in Rabbit Test, a poorly aged comedy about “the world’s first pregnant man” which was written and directed by Rivers' mother. In the critically panned film, Billy Crystal played a night-school teacher who struggles to meet women. After his cousin, played by Alex Rocco, sets him up on a one-night stand, Crystal somehow becomes impregnated, leading to an insane series of poorly setup one-liners and a paper-thin plot which Gene Siskel described as “Nothing more than a series of tired ethnic insults and vulgar sex jokes."
It would be another thirteen years before Rivers revisited her Hollywood aspirations, appearing in one episode of the teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1991. She co-hosted MTV Spring Break ‘93 with future Daily Show host Jon Stewart before teaming up with her mother in the made-for-TV movie Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story in 1994, a celebrity docudrama which told the story of the mother and daughter duo’s struggles with life in Hollywood.
Rivers’ collaborations with her mother defined her career in entertainment, with the duo’s most fruitful endeavor being their popular red carpet interviews and fashion criticism for E! News at awards shows and glitzy Hollywood gatherings. This prompted the creation of Fashion Police, a panel show on E! that gave the mother, daughter, and their friends the opportunity to crack wise at the expense of Diane Keaton’s shoe choice that day or tear apart whatever dress Sandra Bullock wore to dinner.
When Joan Rivers passed away in 2014, Fashion Police attempted to replace her with Kathy Griffin, though Griffin left the show after just seven episodes. The series trudged through three more years before producers pulled the plug in 2017, saying goodbye to a show that shouldn’t have outlived its original host with a montage of never-before-seen footage of Joan Rivers’ behind-the-scenes snark.
Now the younger Rivers is once again invoking the spirit of her mother in an attempt to emulate the humor that made Joan Rivers one of the most iconic and influential comedians of her time. Lies My Mother Told Me is basically a literary impression of the first woman to host a late night show, and Rivers promises, “This is silly humor. Do not look for any emotional depth. Do not think you’re going to wipe away a tear. It’s nothing like that.”
We haven't read it yet, but hopefully it’s nothing like the last season of Fashion Police either.