While most entertainers tend to slow down when they reach 80, Joan Rivers is a glorious exception.
Since her victory on Celebrity Apprentice in 2009, her career has reached new heights. Her reality show on the WE television network, Joan & Melissa, was just renewed for a fourth season. Fashion Police, her show on E!, mines Rivers' skills for caustic critiques of celebrities on the red carpet.
And she still tours the country doing stand-up, kvetching about the many things she finds annoying — and as her 2012 book, I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me, proves, that's a long list.
But Rivers is feeling great, having celebrated her 80th birthday last month.
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"Everything is terrific," she said in a recent phone interview. "I'm climbing over pianos in my act. I do The New York Times crossword puzzle every day. I have pleasant dreams."
Rivers continues to find joy throwing verbal bombs at pop-culture targets. "I've always been that way," she said. "Now, truly, I don't care anymore. The emperor wears no clothes. I'm glad to point that out."
Years ago, she and her daughter, Melissa, helped make red-carpet arrivals as interesting — if not more so — than the actual awards shows.
"We were the first ones to turn walking into a building into an event. But now everyone is there on the red carpet. Everybody has a press agent. Everything is so controlled. It's not as much fun. With Fashion Police, we can sit there the next day and make comments about what we really thought."
Not surprisingly, she has nothing but sympathy for Paula Deen, who lost her Food Network contract recently after admitting using a racial slur in the past and wanting to do a plantation-style wedding.
"What are the rules?" Rivers said. "It's so ridiculous. She said she's sorry. She's a Southern woman."
When told about how Atlanta sports radio hosts were recently fired for making fun of an athlete with the degenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, Rivers groaned: "Maybe I shouldn't come to Atlanta. I do everything through humor. That's how I get through life. Lou Gehrig's disease is terrible. But I do jokes about Dick Clark. I lived with a man for nine years with one leg. I did jokes about that.
"The country is insane over political correctness. If you are big on political correctness, don't come see me. Go see the Osmonds."
Rivers, despite her hectic schedule, also found time to be on a recent episode of ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap. Melissa "swapped" places for a week with Bristol Palin in Alaska. Palin flew to Los Angeles to spend time with Rivers and Melissa's 12-year-old son, Cooper.
On the show, Rivers tried to work less, play more. She went fishing and tried lacrosse with Cooper.
"Bristol and (her sister) Willow were very sweet," Rivers said. "I want to expand their horizons. I want to take them to New York, take them to the theater, take them to Harlem, to the Jewish community. Give them the real New York."
ON TV'Fashion Police'
10 p.m. Fridays on E!
Watch Rivers on Celebrity Wife Swap: Bit.ly/11SQf5q
Joan and Melissa: Wetv.com/shows/joan-melissa-joan-knows-best