Can We Talk?: Joan Rivers Will Unleash Her Zingers at Durham Performing Arts Center on Sept. 28th

At 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28th, Emmy-winning comedienne, actress, author, and reality-TV star Joan Rivers will delight Durham Performing Arts Center patrons with her patented mixture of violets and vitriol
At 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28th, Emmy-winning comedienne, actress, author, and reality-TV star Joan Rivers will delight Durham Performing Arts Center patrons with her patented mixture of violets and vitriol

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present award-winning 79-year-old stand-up comedienne, actress, author, and reality-TV personalitypersonality Joan Rivers at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28th, in its 2,700-seat, state-of-the-art theater, in the American Tobacco District in downtown Durham, NC. Among many other honors, Rivers is a five-time Daytime Emmy Award nominee, who won the Outstanding Talk Show Host Emmy in 1990 for “The Joan Rivers Show” (1989-93).

Born Joan Alexandra Molinsky on June 8, 1933, the daughter of Russian Jews who immigrated to Brooklyn, NY, Joan Rivers is famous for her raspy voice, waspish wit, and fearless, freewheeling, no-holds-barred commentary about her own foibles — especially her multiple visits to the plastic surgeon — and the foibles of her fellow celebrities, especially Hollywood types, whom she mercilessly skewers in her trademark New York accent.

Fifty-eight-year-old Brad Zimmerman, who describes himself as a “Comedian, award-winning rapper, fantasy nerd, and reluctant grown-up,” will open the show; and Joan Rivers will start the fur flying at approximately 8:20 p.m.

According to the star’s official biography:

“Joan Rivers is an internationally renowned comedienne, Emmy-winning television talk show host, Tony-nominated actress, television talk-show host, best-selling author, playwright, screenwriter, motion-picture director, columnist, lecturer, syndicated radio host, jewelry designer, and cosmetic-company entrepreneur and most importantly, a proud mother and grandmother.

“Joan has enjoyed an illustrious career spanning more than four decades. She is currently on E! Entertainment Television hosting the network’s popular franchise ‘Fashion Police,’ covering red carpet style for the annual awards season, as well as hosting E!’s popular ‘Fashion Police‘ weekly series. Joan has also taken over the reality TV circuit with her daughter Melissa [Joan Rivers] in their weekly series on WEtv, called ‘Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?‘ This ultimate mother/daughter duo address the question plaguing daughters since the beginning of time: Does mother really know best?

“In 2009, she starred in NBC’s hit reality series ‘The Celebrity Apprentice,’ emerging as the Season Two winner. Her critically acclaimed documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work premiered in theater’s nationwide [in 2010] and is available on DVD. She also celebrated the publication of two critically acclaimed, best-selling books: Men Are Stupid and They Like Big Boobs: A Woman’s Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery [2008] and Murder at the Academy Awards: A Red Carpet Murder Mystery [2009]. Her new book I Hate Everyone … Starting with Me [2012], published by Penguin … hit bookstores [in] June.

“Joan made television history as the first sole guest host of ‘The Tonight Show [Starring Johnny Carson].’ Her own ‘The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers’ helped launch the Fox Network in 1986. In 1989, she returned to daytime television with ‘The Joan Rivers Show,’ winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host and her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame [at 7030 Hollywood Blvd.].

“From her signature question ‘Can we talk?’ (A Federal trademark) to her red-carpet mantra ‘Who are you wearing?’ the woman who asks the questions get the answers America — and the world — wants to hear. Her most joyous triumph is being grandmother to Melissa’s son, Cooper (Edgar Cooper Endicott), who was born on December 1, 2000.”

According to Brad Zimmerman’s website:

“Brad Zimmerman is a very unique and original voice in the world of comedy. Watch a few minutes of his comedy and you will know you have never seen anything like Brad. He works all over the country, doing theaters, comedy clubs, casino’s, country clubs, comedy festivals, JCC’s. I mean, you name it, he’s done it.

“[Zimmerman] has worked with many well-known comedians and entertainers, such as Brad Garrett, Dennis Miller, Susie Essman, Julio Inglesias, and has been Joan Rivers’ opening act of choice for over seven years. In fact, Joan has said ‘I’ve had three great opening acts in my lifetime: Billy Crystal, Garry Shandling, and Brad Zimmerman.’

“In the year 2006, Brad had the great honor of opening for George Carlin, and that relationship lasted until George passed away in 2008. The first time Brad opened for George, at the Paramount Theatre, just outside Chicago, right after finishing his act, George approached Brad backstage, and said, as only George could have said, ‘f**kin great!’

“Brad combines years of acting training and standup, which is evident in Brad’s true pride and joy; his one-man show. It is called My Son the Waiter, a Jewish Tragedy, and he has been working on it since 2005.

“In this part stand-up/part theatrical piece, Brad tells a story of one man’s lengthy — and we do mean lengthy — struggle to make it as an actor in New York. His send-ups on his childhood, his family, his misbegotten love life, and his career are as warm and poignant as they are hysterical. He has done the show all over the country, and will be doing it in New York this coming fall.

“[Zimmerman’s] hopes are that this first New York experience will lead to a long New York run at some hip Off-Broadway theater. In addition to this show, Brad has done work in both television and film, most notably playing Johnny Sack’s lawyer in one of the best television shows of all time: ‘The Sopranos.'”

The Durham Performing Arts Center presents JOAN RIVERS at 8 p.m. Sept. 28 at DPAC, in the American Tobacco District, at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.

TICKETS: $45.50-$66.50 (including fees).


DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787),, or

Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or



Joan Rivers:

Brad Zimmerman:





Joan Rivers: (official web page), (Wikipedia), (Internet Broadway Database), and (Internet Movie Database).

“Fashion Police”: (E!).

“Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?”: (WEtv).

Brad Zimmerman: (official website).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).