Here are some highlights from my 2009 interview with Joan Rivers. She was promoting a show called “How’d You Get So Rich?” about entrepreneurs.
Q: How do you lean politically? Do you consider yourself a Republican?
I consider myself nothing. I never considered myself a Republican. I was very, very, very friendly with Nancy Reagan — well, yes, I guess am a Republican. I don’t believe in death taxes. I think if I pay my taxes, what I have at the end belongs to me. Go to hell! I believe in those kinds of things. I believe the government spends money stupidly. In that kind of a sense, I am a Republican.
Have you always seen yourself as a businesswoman?
A: I never see myself as a businesswoman. I just get excited about my projects. I just get excited and very passionate about my projects. I wish I were a better businesswoman. A man named Arthur Toll tried to take my company public and absconded with the funds and literally went to jail over it, so I have not been a very good businesswoman. I had to buy my name back and buy my likeness back.
Q: Do you feel rich?
A: No, no, no. Rich is when you can live the style you live in and never have work again. Rich is having Picasso paint your house. These people in How’d You Get So Rich? are rich. They say to their children, “You’ve been bad — go to your suite.”
Q: How do people like that though deal with a down economy? Do they tell their kids, “No Maserati for your 16th birthday”?
A: Remember, this is all first-generation wealth. So the children have seen the parents make it, and it some cases, the children remember when the parents did not have it.
Q: Why are so many celebrities so bad at handling their money?
A: Because they’re not businesspeople, they’re actors. It’s not about the money. It’s about the craft and the doing of it.