Joan Rivers: ‘I have a friend who’s an Indian…she’s a dot not a feather’


Over the weekend, Joan Rivers walked off a satellite interview with CNN after she claimed the weekend anchor was going after her like it was Nuremberg. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Joan had already pissed off a lot of people just one day before, when she “joked” about Michelle Obama being a “tranny” and that Pres. Obama was “gay.” Just jokes. Of course. She refused to apologize for it afterwards as well. Anyway, Joan is still hustling her book and she gave an interview to Access Hollywood this week. Jesus take the wheel!!

On why she walked off that interview: “You know me, I’m 50 years in the business first time I’ve walked off. You’ve got to understand when you interview someone, it’s not an interrogation, you know it’s not the Nuremberg trials… you don’t say to the Olsen Twins ‘what’s your favorite place to vomit?’…I’m sorry for her because she shouldn’t be doing a comedy interview. You don’t say to Oscar Pistorius ‘when you killed your girlfriend were you hopping mad?’ The questions were coming out so negatively I found myself defending myself.”

On people being sensitive: “You can’t say anything. I have a friend who’s an Indian, I’m not making a joke.. She’s a dot not a feather, but I don’t know what you call her. Just say ‘you’re a friend of Ghandi?’ What do you say?”

On Kanye West: “Kanye West quote ‘I am the proud non-reader of books.’ So I said in my dedication I dedicated this book to Kanye because I know no effing way would he read it”

On Rosa Parks: “Rosa Parks was a very good friend of mine. She sat in front because she had bad ankles. She’s Jewish too.”

Criticism: “I don’t need a journalist to tell me I stink. My gynecologist does that.”

[From Access Hollywood]

I was out as soon as she said “She’s a dot not a feather…” Are you for real? And it bugs me that Billy Bush and WhatsHerFace are laughing throughout the interview. I think what bugged some people (me) about Joan walking out of that CNN interview is that she’s been in the business for 50 years (as she always says), that she makes tasteless, crass and insensitive jokes ALL THE TIME and when someone even mildly questions her about it, she freaks out.

On a personal level, let me just say: I have a very Indian-sounding name and I get annoyed when people (innocently) ask me my name origin and when I say, “It’s an Indian name” they reply with something along the lines of “oh, what tribe?” I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “Not Native American. Indian. From India.” Most of the time it’s an innocent mistake but it does get… tedious.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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50 Responses to “Joan Rivers: ‘I have a friend who’s an Indian…she’s a dot not a feather’”

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  1. harpreet says:

    First the Kutcher debacle and now this…and it is not even noon.

    • kri says:

      Sigh. I know I might catch hell for this, but such is life-this is who Joan is and what she does-she won’t change. Personally, I don’t find her funny, but pretty gross and offensive. As for her take on making fun of all races/ethnicities, sexual orientations, etc, she is one of those people who will say “See, I’m not a (insert here)-ist-I go after everyone equally”. She thinks that makes it all ok. As for the difficulty some people have discerning Native American names from Indian names-ummm, they are really in trouble. If someone thinks a person named Deepak Chopra and John Running Bear are from the same country let alone tribe, they need to crack a book or two hundred.

      • Crocuta says:

        But where is the line? I know you didn’t mean it badly, but your “John Running Bear” can be interpreted offensive too, because it plays on a stereotype. I don’t know any Native Americans in person and I believe you some have names like the one you mentioned, but Native American Holywood actors – the ones I know at least – all have names that do not show their ethnicity. I presume the same can be said for some Indians.

    • Rice says:

      Diary of a Cat-faced B*tch. SMH

  2. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Oh, Joan. You’re just not funny anymore. It’s time to retire those jokes and your mean-spirited self.

  3. I generally like her, but if you’re going to “go there”, Joan….like you do in your comedy….well, you need to be able to sit there and take it “

    • idsmith says:

      Exactly! She’s being a hypocrite. She would totally ask the ” Olsen Twins ‘what’s your favorite place to vomit?’…” She would! Her “walkout” was a stunt no matter how much she protests that she doesn’t do stunts. Yes Joan, you do.

  4. QQ says:

    she is an old and rude Hustler Yes ( cause this is all in service to her book about being a scrappy old bag) , but ya’ll know this is a Jay Z Line, right?

  5. The Original Mia says:

    This is why I don’t listen to her defenders. There is no defense to this crap. It’s not her age. It’s not her job. She’s just being racist, crass, and generally unpleasant because she can and no one will call her on it.

    • Jenna says:

      Yup. What I can’t understand are the folks who try to shake it off as either being ‘mean’ to an elderly woman (she was a nasty bitch when she was young, she is a nasty bitch now. It’s not like this is due to her being confused and mentally compromised by senility.) or worse, the ones that say it’s just unfairly sexist and male comics say crap like this all the time, so it’s not ‘fair’ to get upset ‘just because it’s a woman saying it’.

      Male/female, Old/young – its vile, nasty, racist, sexist and frankly usually just cruel for the sake of being a horrible person… I mean ‘shock comic’. There is nothing funny about her and I would be just as sickened by a man saying the crap she does.

  6. FingerBinger says:

    I really like Joan Rivers,but some of these quotes just aren’t funny.

  7. alex_r says:

    I was so taken aback the other day when so many poster stood up in her defense – how she is a trailblazer, how the interviewer was wrong to lob those questions at her when in my opinion River had over-reacted by walking out.
    Rivers is a mean-spirited woman who also thinks nothing of making casually racist remarks under the guise of humor. This isn’t the first time she had done it and won’t Obviously she can only dish and not take even a smidgeon of the negativity back.

  8. Kiddo says:

    I watched her on Letterman last night. Sorry to say, but she is just not funny anymore. I don’t mind offensive humor, if it’s funny or somehow relays a message, but she is failing at her craft. I think even Letterman was forcing a few laughs for flattery.

  9. raindrop says:

    The Indian/Indian distinction IS confusing – “American Indian” or “Native American” are better because they’re more accurate and because they’re usually the terms preferred by tribal members anyway. Or, you know, Cherokee or Sioux or Choctaw or something truly accurate. That said, when natives of the Americas were first called “Indians” the term wasn’t really used to describe people from the country we call India – I think “Hindu” or “Hindustani” (derived from the same Persian root, Indus) or a ton of other regional variants were more common? And I’m pretty sure that “Bharat” is the country’s official name (or one of them.)

    Anyway… terminology is confusing and interesting, and Joan Rivers is shrill and bigoted.

    • lower-case deb says:

      on terminology, i remember two particular expatriate staff at my old office. the younger man came from Wales (Cardiff? can’t remember for certain) and the older guy was originally from San Francisco. they were talking how the “terminological construct of nations” trip them up even after all these years. for the Welshman, ‘Asian’ would promtly remind him of India/Pakistan; while for the San Fransican, ‘Asian’ meant more Chinese/Japanese/Korean.


      on Indian Indian and Native Indian, in my country, we (at least me and the people i know) call the former as Orang India (people of descent from India), and the latter as Orang Suku Indian (with an ‘n’, people from Tribal Indian).

      because of this, until not too long ago, i was stuck in the belief that the Native Indians are tribal only. i didn’t know that they are identified as an Indian Nation and has a special place (almost an independent ‘country’) from the USA, and certainly a much more complicated relationship between the people and the state than as I first imagined… the internet helps :)

      well… that’s my cache of useless personal ramble of the day…

  10. word says:

    So Joan can dish it but she can’t take it huh? Also, I HATE Access Hollywood. I guess that show pics and chooses what if finds offensive.

  11. lisa2 says:

    I think her comment” I’m 50 years in the business” speaks volumes. Joan is doing the kind of comedy she did 50 years ago. She is like the Jerry Lewis’ and Don Rickles. and such. The problem is the audience is not the same nor is the culture. We live in a far different environment. And yes it is very race sensitive. People were offended by those kinds of jokes years ago but the culture was not accepting of you being upset.

    Today is different. Joan is living in a new time telling the same jokes to the wrong audience.

    that audience is not laughing.

    • Nicolette says:

      You just hit the nail on the head. Humor from 50 years ago is much different than today. The PC police have made it so that shows such as “All in the family” would never see the light of day. A movie like “The Bad News Bears” ( the original which is a favorite) wouldn’t either. Kids swearing, drinking beers after a game with their coach, a script filled with dialogue that would infuriate today would never be made. She is right when she points out that you can’t say anything today. It’s become too extreme. People poke fun at each other, it’s human nature. And not everyone gets along, and not all cultures/races/religions are tolerant of each other. Her humor goes too far, and a lot of it is eyebrow raising to say the least. I think she just may be at the beginning of the end. She’s had a long run and is someone with a strong work ethic who probably feels that if she slows down it’ll be her undoing. But she should start to tone it down a few notches.

  12. Bread and Circuses says:

    When I was a kid, we said Indian to mean First Nations (that’s what Canadians call Native Americans) and East Indian to mean from India. Now, maaaany years later, I now live in a city with a huge Indo-Canadian population, and everyone here says Indian or First Nations; there’s no confusion.

    It made me realize how completely my mindset has changed when I saw a restaurant advertising itself as East Indian and immediately thought, “Oh, I wonder what’s different about the cuisine from eastern India compared to what I’ve had.”

    I.e. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize they meant East Indian in the old-fashioned sense — from India — and not how I took it, which was “the eastern half of India”.

  13. lukie says:

    I am part Indian
    I often say, dot not feather when asked.
    I am not offended, but that is me.
    Joan Rivers has always had offensive comedy. Must we always be so PC?

  14. Dany says:

    Joan knows how she gets publicity

  15. pku78 says:

    Kaiser, I know exactly what you mean! I was born in India, raised here. When I’m asked about my ethnicity, I’ve found the perfect response to avoid the confusion. I tell them I’m ASIAN Indian. Unless your talking to someone who’s uneducated and doesn’t realize India is on the continent of Asia, they’ll immediately know what you mean.

    Additionally, I’m not offended by her. My last name IS Gandhi, and I’ll joke that I’m “Subway owning Indian, not Casino Indian.”

    People are offended to easily these days. She’s not promoting violence or segregation. Just making jokes on some very prominent stereotypes. I don’t think she’s a racist. Just my $0.02

  16. Ladeeda says:

    Sherman Alexie (Native American author) coined the term “arrow through the heart Indian, not dot on the forehead Indian”. So yes, perhaps she thought she was not being insensitive, but as a Caucasian woman, she should probably just stick to politically correct terms and be respectful.

  17. happymama says:

    Joan is a trail-blazer. She was making jokes about abortion and women’s issues when it really was shocking to speak about those kind of issues. I have a soft spot for her after watching a biography about her. She definitely says some insensitive things for sure, yet I respect her as a comedian for bringing it to the table. Most other comics are just as shocking. She’s an easy target because of her age and lifestyle choices and also because she puts herself out there still. I like her.

  18. Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

    The worst part is that she ripped off a fifteen-year-old Family Guy joke–that show has been laugh-free for a loooooooonnng time.

  19. DailyNightly says:

    Can someone tell me–is it one particular plastic surgeon that insists on doing these horrible skinny ,pinched noses on these celebs. Kris Kardashian is another but there are so many. They don’t look like natural noses, I can’t imagine there are a lot of good plastic surgeons out there doing such low budget work.

    • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

      Right? What happened to the surgeons who worked on Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor’s noses? Now, women have nostrils that are narrower than their bridges, crookedness and/or lopsidedness, over-refined nose tips and really harsh corners and planes that show you exactly where the surgeons narrowed the bridge. It makes the bell of the nose look like a tri-cornered hat and they all seem to have it. It’s not subtle and it’s not good.