Joan Rivers’ Life Advice-Univ. of Pennsylvania Disses Joan, Ivy Day 1989

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

***You can read Joan’s advice to Melissa about dating and love in my blog posts of May 27, May 30 and June 6.***


Just try to imagine life advice from Joan Rivers, comedian extraordinaire! Surprisingly, her  philosophy of life was down to earth, grounded in the thinking of her generation, but pragmatic and borne of the need and ability to survive in a tough world and an even tougher business.

Joan was invited to speak at Ivy Day as part of  her daughter, Melissa’s graduation activities in 1989 at the University of Pennsylvania. Graduation ceremonies lasted three days with a different speaker chosen for each day.  Although Joan was invited to speak, a very special perk was withheld by the University of Pennsylvania. Why? I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them.

Joan was graduated from Barnard College and strongly believed in the need and power of education. You’ll understand why I mention this by the end of this blog post.

Joan Rivers will always be at the top of my favorite entertainers list along with Don Rickles, I have spit out what I was drinking and doubled over in laughter with both of these comedians. No one else comes close. Now, Joan is gone. Before her time. It didn’t have to happen and it shouldn’t have happened. But it did.

I read “The Book of Joan” by Joan’s daughter, Melissa Rivers. Melissa’s writing style is a lot like her mother’s delivery. Punchy, pointed comments. No holds barred. Melissa is not as funny as her mother, but humorous nevertheless.

I always thought a celebrity’s private persona would be different from the public. Not the case with Joan Rivers. Can you imagine listening to her one-liners all day? Poor Melissa. That’s how she grew up. All day. Every day.

So, what words of wisdom did Joan impart to the University of Pennsylvania graduating class of 1989? She had a lot to say, but the following summarizes her advice to the graduating seniors.

7  Tenets For Life

  • Plan To Fail.  Try to fail early in order to learn something, get stronger and move one step closer to success,
  • Don’t Be Proud.  Go through any door that opens.’It ain’t easy being green’ and you’re green. No one is waiting for you out there.
  • Money Is Wonderful.   Don’t go looking for it. Find the work you love and eventually people will pay you for it.
  • When Love Comes, Get Married.  Marriage will give you a haven and stability. When the music stops, you’ll find it’s an ‘us versus them’ world, and your only true ally will be your spouse.
  • Success Isolates You.  The more successful you become, the fewer people will encourage you and cheer you on, and the more successful you become, the fewer people you’ll trust. Thoreau said,”There’s no success without envy until you’re dead.”
  • Use Your Education.  Always speak in a grammatically correct manner. It’s not who you know; it’s whom.
  • Don’t Think Just Because You’ve Gotten Your Degree, Your Childhood Is Over.  As long as you’ve got parents left, you’ll always be a child to someone.

Joan ended with, ‘One of my favorite lines  from the theater is in Mame when she says, “Life is a banquet, but most sons of bitches are starving to death.” Don’t let that be you. The best to all of you. Thank you.’

Melissa added this tidbit of information in her book regarding her mother’s hurt at being slighted by the University of Pennsylvania:

“P.S. She’s still pissed that the only one who didn’t receive an honorary degree is the Ivy  Day speaker. Emmy-schmemmy, she never got past that. ‘I paid my own fucking way out here and I don’t get a degree? Melissa, whom do I talk to about this?’ “

Does anyone have any pull with the University of Pennsylvania? This was a slap in the face to an educated, intelligent, accomplished woman. I’m sure Melissa would appreciate a posthumous degree. Unfortunately, it’s too late for Joan to see it. But then again, maybe not. Joan may very well be watching right now from a vantage point high in the sky. So, how about it? Alumni, unite to right a wrong! Please.

© 2015 All rights reserved.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea
    Jun 13, 2015 @ 12:02:32

    This is fantastic advice!



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