Joan Rivers: A Piece of WorkBetty White may have the Internet buzzing, but at age 76, Joan Rivers is still going strong, as evident in her new documentary, 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.'

The doc, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, offers an up close and personal look at the highs and lows of Rivers' long-standing career in Hollywood, including her fallout with Johnny Carson and NBC, the suicide of her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, and her successful, albeit controversial, victory on 'The Celebrity Apprentice.' At times funny and heartbreaking, the film explores what, as Rivers herself described, "what a career really is about."

In an exclusive interview with Moviefone, Rivers dished more on the film (which won a Best Editing prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival), the City of New York and what she thinks about the Betty White phenomenon.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of WorkBetty White may have the Internet buzzing, but at age 76, Joan Rivers is still going strong, as evident in her new documentary, 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.'

The doc, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, offers an up close and personal look at the highs and lows of Rivers' long-standing career in Hollywood, including her fallout with Johnny Carson and NBC, the suicide of her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, and her successful, albeit controversial, victory on 'The Celebrity Apprentice.' At times funny and heartbreaking, the film explores what, as Rivers herself described, "what a career really is about."

In an exclusive interview with Moviefone, Rivers dished more on the film (which won a Best Editing prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival), the City of New York and what she thinks about the Betty White phenomenon.


How would you sell your documentary, 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work'?

Oh, I don't know. "If you think you hated her, maybe you made a mistake." [laughs] Somebody said -- they said to a friend -- "Even if you don't like Joan Rivers, go see this. You'll like her after this." I guess that's a compliment. [laughs] It's called a Jewish compliment. [laughs] "Oh, you look much better. I thought you were dead!" That's a Jewish compliment. [laughs] I don't know. I think it really tells you a little bit about what a career really is about. It's not the nonsense of "Oh, it's so easy!" It's what it's really about.

Your movie is hitting the festival on the heels of Conan O'Brien's new deal with TBS. What's your take, now that the late-night dust has settled?
I think they both came out of it such winners. Are you kidding? Leno's right back where he should be, boring America to sleep and getting great ratings. He's perfect! He doesn't rock the boat. You can go to sleep. He's not going to upset you. He's perfect. And Conan got more publicity than he ever got, and he walked away with $45 million.

What's your favorite thing about New York?

That if you're bored, you're a moron. [laughs] There is something going on. What do you want? We got it. What do you want to eat? We got it. What do you want to do? We got it. It's the most amazing, energetic city filled with pockets of people that live on such different planes than you do. You go to something and you realize, all these people make artificial flowers and that's all they care about! [laughs] There's nothing like New York.

Do you have a favorite movie set in New York?
I love the end of 'Sleepless in Seattle.' Nobody has shown the glamor of New York. You have to go back [to] 'The Eddie Duchin Story' ... and they fall in love in Tavern on the Green, and it's all glamor, glamor, glamor. This city, in the summer, at night, take a walk down 5th Avenue, and go to the Plaza and walk to the Park; and if you're not killed, you're going to have the most romantic time [laughs]. Bring your mace! [laughs] And go to the top of Rockefeller Center and have a drink at sunset, and you go, "Oh my God, I live here!"

Much of this movie deals with aging in Hollywood, and it reminded me a little of the Betty White/'Saturday Night Live' phenomenon. What has been your reaction to it?
I think it's wonderful. I always said this: Comedy, as long as we can make you laugh, you're gonna want us, and Betty is a shining example. Before her was George Burns. I used to see George Burns at parties. He was 94 years old and he was dancing! And I used to say to my husband, "That's going to be me!" And that's wonderful. Comedy is just a special field, totally, and Betty has got such a great humor to her, and how great they've recognized her. I think it's terrific. How nice for her.