If you want a bad-date story, here you go: Two years ago, Joan Rivers went on a date with a guy at a fancy restaurant in New York, and the man died, she says.
"I wish it had been back at my apartment, because then I'd be known as having sexual prowess."
Question: How did he die?
Answer: "I guess the poor thing had a heart attack. He was about 72, 73 years old. Who knows. He was feeling bad that day. I didn't know enough about him."
Q: In retrospect, were there any red flags signaling he might perish?
A: "No," Joan, 76, jokes. "Just the usual -- he was trying to avoid me."
Q: It's weird that someone died at a restaurant with you, and the tabloids weren't all over it.
A: "He didn't die at the table. He went into the ambulance and died."
Q: Did you ride in the ambulance with him?
A: "No," she says, then she alludes to the suicide of her husband Edgar, joking, "I think it was a second suicide.
"It wasn't like, 'Oh my God, we were engaged, boohoo, boohoo.' He was a very nice man. It was sad. But he had a great life and a great family and lots of money and had a good time."
Q: Have you ever dated any famous Las Vegans? Like, did you ever date Jerry Lewis?
A: "I'd rather be dead."
Q: Well, have you dated any famous guys?
A: "All the men I've truly been in a relationship with weren't in show business. They were all businessmen or lawyers or stockbrokers."
The exception was Edgar, a TV producer.
"You're never attracted to show biz types. Too much ego going there."
Q: It must be hard, dating men who aren't as famous as you.
A: "I've talked with so many of my friends who are successful -- Kathy Griffin, Cher, all these people: It's very hard for a man, when you walk somewhere, and people say, 'Please step aside, we want to take HER picture.' Or people come up to a table and ignore them and just talk to you. It's very tough for a man's ego."
Q: Plus, Cher has a whole different kind of reputation for men to deal with.
A: "She's got this whole sex symbol going on. It's tough. But listen, we have great lives. Let's not carry on here."
Q: So you're saying you never dated Barry Manilow.
A: "Barry's a wonderful man," she says. "Barry's one of the ones who remembers how lucky we are" to have thrived for so long.
Q: Last year, you were dating a guy from your TV show, "How'd You Get So Rich?" What happened there?
A: "That went by the wayside. He's a lovely man. We still keep in touch. He e-mails me. I e-mail him back. Life is good, just-as."
Q: Thanks, Joan. I'd be honored to die on a date with you.
A: "Maybe he died with a chicken bone in his throat. You can't blame me for everything."
QUICKIES WITH JOAN RIVERS
I chatted about a lot with Joan Rivers (one of my very favorite famous people). Here's a random sampling of things that came out of her mouth.
On Tiger Woods: "While he was giving his mother a hug, he felt her ass."
On reality TV stars: "If you can do a sex tape, you're already halfway there. If you can have 108 babies all bumping around your uterus at one time, you're there. 'Celebrities' have a very different meaning now. But if people want to watch it, that's the bottom line."
On not doing the red carpet for E! anymore: "It was a smart move. ... It's very hard to say to Nicole Kidman, 'Oh, it's so good to see you, don't you look great?' And then the next day, say on the Fashion Police, 'She was wearing a red dress, she looked like a ketchup bottle.' This way, I only do Fashion Police, and I'm free to be a critic."
On the upcoming documentary "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work": "It's getting amazing reviews. ... Michael Moore went crazy for it. ... It's not all 'I love Joan,' or 'She's the best,' but shows a year in my life. It shows what age is about, and what staying in the business is about, and awful moments."
HERE COMES A FOURTH TV SHOW
Joan Rivers plays The Venetian this weekend. She covers that gig eight weekends a year. Plus, she hosts the TV Land reality show "How'd You Get So Rich?" She practically owns QVC. And she does fashion reviews for "E!"
Now she's working with daughter Melissa on a new reality show for WE, called "Mother Knows Best."
"I'm going to move in with Melissa," she says. "My daughter sent, as an early Easter gift, a Toyota. I think that's so sweet. It arrived today: 'Mom, just drive and have fun.' "
Contact Doug Elfman at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.