A private jet? I'd rather go by bus: Joan Rivers lets loose on her travelling life
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. That's what Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote. I'm always asking: How do I hate thee? How much time do you have?
Take travel, for instance. I hate flying on private jets. When someone takes me on one, I'm always treated like a queen, but because I'm a guest it means that whoever owns the jet is a lot richer and more famous than I am. And if that private jet goes down, the obituary in the New York Times will read: International Oil Magnate Sheik Abdullah Muckety Muck And Four Other (Poorer) People Die In Private Plane Crash.
I haven't spent 40 years playing one-nighters in Wilkes-Barre to die as an 'other'. Another thing I hate is the New York City subway system. They're not trains, they're urinals on wheels. And they're dangerous. If I want to spend time locked up with a creepy, stinky perve, I'll pay a conjugal visit to Phil Spector.
Alive with history: Colonial era musicians in Williamsburg, one of the areas Joan is set to visit with her grandson
I get to rant about these and many other subjects in my new book I Hate Everyone . . . Starting With Me. There are certainly aspects of travel that I loathe – children on planes, for instance (there's nothing worse than when they sit behind you and those little feet hit the back of your chair the whole time. You look for a terrorist).
And I hated it when I sat behind Demi Moore on a jet. The bitch only ate an apple. I had the entire meal. I wanted to kill her. But you know what? In reality I love to travel. It's just as well because I spend more time in the air than Madonna's legs.
I hate everyone: Joan Rivers can sometimes be difficult to please when she's travelling
I live in New York but Fashion Police, my show on the E! channel, is filmed in Los Angeles. So every Wednesday I get up at 4am and take the first flight to LA, and spend all day writing the script. My daughter Melissa, who lives there, is the producer. I record the show the following morning and then take the Thursday night red-eye back to New York.
Going back and forth to LA gave me the chance to write the book and I met some interesting people in First Class. I sat next to Russell Brand recently and I thought: 'Oh God!' But he was a darling, a real gentleman. He is totally not what you see. We talked about marriage and comedy, and he carried my bag for me when we got off.
Often I fly on from LA, for a concert in Chicago, say, or in Canada. Seven nights in the same place? Not since my mother's womb. Seriously, that's very rare, even when I'm on vacation – although every New Year's I do go to Puerta Vallarta in Mexico for a week with Melissa and my grandson Cooper, who's 11.
We rent a beautiful big house overlooking the ocean, and take lots of friends who are funny with us. We just swim, lie around and read books, go to dinner, and laugh. You can just do nothing and I love that. My favourite place in the world is my plastic surgeon's office, of course, but I also adore Williamsburg in Virginia. It's tiny and magical and so nicely preserved.
I go back often, usually around Christmas, to the Williamsburg Inn to spend two or three days with friends. It's beautiful and at Christmas it's heaven. No cars are allowed and you've got the snow and the carol singers, the candlelight, the whole American thing. It might not be everybody's cup of tea, but it suits me.
I love tradition. My late husband Edgar was English and I love the UK. When I come to London – which is pretty often as I do a TV show on the QVC channel with my jewellery – I always stay at the Ritz. It has the most beautiful dining room in the world, in the Belle Epoque style, and I love the graciousness. They always give me the same suite.
Stock star: Posing for a snap in Williamsburg
I used to stay at Claridge's but after Edgar died 25 years ago I just didn't want to go back. I stayed at the Ritz – as usual – when I went to Prince Charles's wedding to Camilla. I met him through a friend at a charity event and just adored him from the start. I adore Camilla too.
Humour was the connection from the beginning. I don't pretend to be on the short list, though, if you know what I'm saying. I probably see them twice a year – yet he was very wonderful and indulged me in something very different last year.
My best friend Tommy Corcoran – Melissa's gay godfather and my travelling companion – had sadly passed away, and I had his ashes with me in a bag to scatter in different places I knew he'd love. I was at Highgrove and I told Prince Charles that my friend Tommy had died, and then asked him if I could scatter some of his ashes in the garden.
He was in shock, but he said: 'Certainly. That's fine.' So now some of Tommy is at Highgrove.
True adventurer: Joan Rivers escapes to India and even cuddles up some locals on another trip
Other holidays include my 'grandma weeks' every summer and every winter with Cooper. Last year I took him to London and Paris. I know that in five years' time he'll say: 'Ugh, here comes the old lady.' But for now it's still 'Grandma, let's go!'
In London we did everything: ate in pubs, did the Changing of the Guard, that duck boat thing and the London Eye. Great? I have no idea, I kept my eyes shut – I'm afraid of heights. There's a picture of me lying on the floor. 'Grandma, you gotta see this!' Cooper would cry. 'Yeah, yeah, tell me about it!' I'd yell back. I was terrified.
In Paris we did the Eiffel Tower. Same thing. This year I'm renting a rock-star bus to do an early American history tour with Cooper. He's studying the whole thing with England and America at the moment. He's bringing a pal and I've got a friend coming over from England, so there will be four of us.
We're starting in Maine and we're going to do all the original 13 colonies, ending up in Williamsburg. The idea for the bus came from when I do my tours in England, where I always go all over by bus.It's so much fun because you get to see the countryside. I'll be doing it again in October for my show The Now Or Never Tour, because we had such a great time last time.
We went on the river in Cambridge, saw the Royal Mile and dungeons in Edinburgh, and Stonehenge in the rain and wind and lightning.
This time I'm doing 11 dates, ending up at the Royal Albert Hall, so I'll be treating it like a free holiday tour. Any performer who doesn't take the chance to really see the places they visit is an idiot. Travel is the excitement of life! Everything is an adventure, and if you look at it like that, even at the worst moment you can say: 'We will laugh tomorrow about this.' And you do.
Having said that, I still shudder at my worst holiday ever. Edgar (my second husband) and I were recently married – we're talking decades ago – and we went on what should have been a wonderful trip to Round Hill in Jamaica to relax and be together.
The restaurant was outside and you went up this little staircase to it. On the first night, as we were going up the stairs, we met my old in-laws coming down. They were there the entire time we were there. It had not been a happy divorce, and we bumped into them on the tiny beach, we bumped into them in the tiny cocktail lounge, and up and down that staircase. Nightmare!
Heavenly views: Kathmandu, which Joan visited during a Himalayan trek
In those days Jamaica was pretty remote, with only a twice-a-week flight, so there was no escape. I said hello to them that first night . . . and thought they were going to push me off the staircase.
Looking back, the bitch of a mother-in-law had every right to be angry: I had kept the ring and was wearing it on my right hand. I'd have broken in in the middle of the night and cut off the ring and the finger if it had been me. Edgar thought I was making too much of this, but he didn't realise she was looking at that beautiful diamond every minute. It was horrible.
When I was younger, I would trek. People might be surprised, but I'm a walker, I walk everywhere... I'm a New Yorker. I trekked through Scotland with Tommy, starting in Edinburgh and going on to Balmoral. It was amazing; we stayed in country mansions and had a car follow us. We walked a good ten miles a day, then we'd stop for lunch and then hop in the car for a bit. It was a fantastic way to see Scotland.
About ten years ago, when I was in my late 60s, Tommy and I trekked for ten days in Nepal. Wow! We started and finished in Kathmandu and it was heaven. You'd wake up in the morning, open your tent flap, and there were the Himalayas.
We weren't exactly slumming it in Nepal because although I slept in a tent, it was a posh tent. Still, washing was fun because despite the fact that it was summer, it was very cold and you had to divide your body into quarters: now I'm going to wash my left upper side, dry it off, put something on, now the right upper side, next the left lower side, and so on.
Of course there's no way you can use a hairdryer, so I took wigs instead of hats: I had a black one, a blonde one and a red curly one. I looked like a fool but I was warm. What an adventure it was, and that's what life is all about. And there's still more to come, I hope.
I've been to India, to China, to Russia in winter and to Africa, and next I want to go to that Ice Hotel in the Arctic. And I'd love to go to Easter Island. I'm sure Cooper would love it, so perhaps I'll take him there. If you read that one of the statues has been pushed over, you'll know we made it!
Joan Rivers was talking to Nina Myskow. I Hate Everyone... Starting With Me is published by Berkley Hardcover at £18.99.
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