Courtesy of Joan Rivers' Facebook Page
Joan Rivers couldn't care less if her grandson, Edgar Cooper Endicott, 11, eats his vegetables. She leaves the disciplining to Cooper's mom, her only child, Melissa. The lengendary comedian prefers her role as a spoiler, which to her, is serious business.
And speaking of business, Rivers and Melissa are pros when it comes to teamwork, having spent a decade producing red-carpet events, wooing A-list celebrities to their microphones to talk fashion and dish dirt. And they were teammates once again on The Celebrity Apprentice, battling another team of celebs for dominance in Donald Trump's boardroom.
Rivers, 79, talked to Grandparents.com about giving her grandson perspective and why the last thing she wants is for him is to follow in her footsteps.
Grandparents.com: What do you want Cooper to be when he grows up?
Joan Rivers: I'd love him to be a businessman. Go be a Bernie Madoff. I'm so proud. [Laughs.]
GP: I’m sure his other grandparents would love that. Do you all engage in the grandparent competition?
JR: We don't say we are, but I'm sure we are. I'm always saying, "So, did you have a good time at Cookie's?" That's his other grandmother.
GP: Do you do things like throw outrageous birthday parties for Cooper?
JR: He gets anything that Grandma can think of. I know he's spoiled rotten; I couldn't care less.
GP: How do you help Melissa balance work and motherhood? Do you give her advice?
JR: Are you out of your mind? You don't give your daughter any advice. They don't want any advice from you. I give her love and approval.
GP: That's funny, but so true! Does Cooper have your sense of humor?
JR: Cooper has a great sense of humor. I don’t know if it's mine but that was how we first connected.
GP: How so?
JR: When he was very young, he got the jokes and he was able to do jokes back with me. And I always thought it was amazing that he was a year, a year-and-a-half, and he and I had jokes already together.
GP: What do you and Cooper do on a typical day?
JR: I would be telling him to shut up. Leave Grandma alone; she's reading.
GP: [Laughs.] Does he call you Grandma?
JR: He calls me Nana New Face and he calls me Grammy.
GP: Nana New Face is hysterical! Aside from the face, is he impressed with all of Nana's accomplishments?
JR: He's grown up with us being in the business. But he was thrilled that I did Shrek 2.
GP: Being in Shrek 2 officially makes you the coolest grandma ever. Do you think he will follow in your footsteps?
JR: I hope not. I pray not. Oh, it's a terrible life, my God.
GP: But Melissa has a successful entertainment career.
JR: Yeah, I am sorry she is into it, too. She is making a great life for herself and she has a great career and she's a terrific presenter, as they call it in England, and she's a wonderful producer and she's doing very well. But it's a s----- business and it's a very mean business and you've got to have a very tough hide. I'd rather she had been a lawyer.
GP: You graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College and Melissa graduated with high honors from the University of Pennsylvania. What expectations do you have for Cooper's education?
JR: I just want him to be happy. My life has whizzed past, and I think part of it is because I have adored and still adore, more than ever, what I do. And I just want him to find that key to what he loves to do. Because you are your work. They can tell you you’re not and that’s nonsense.
GP: And speaking of work, you've exhibited grace and restraint on The Celebrity Apprentice. Is that your style in your own business ventures?
JR: When it comes to business, I don't waste time with silly things. ... I also think people should be given the chance to do what they can do and that the boss ... should do everything, not just sit around and delegate.
GP: Your success is proven: Your staying power as a stand-up comic and a producer is remarkable. In business, you've grown the QVC Joan Rivers Classics Collection to more than $300 million in sales. Who is your biggest challenger on the show?
JR: I think Melissa; [she's] obviously very smart ... and doesn't ruffle easily. She is a tremendous challenge. Annie Duke is a poker player, which means sneaky and lying. ... She's a very smart woman.
GP: Is Donald Trump's hair as breathtaking in real life as it is on television?
JR: Donald Trump’s hair is brilliant. He is an icon and that is one of his features.
GP: Cooper volunteers with God's Love We Deliver, the charity you're playing for and on whose board you serve. The organization delivers meals to terminally ill patients. Why get him involved?
JR: Every Thanksgiving, Cooper delivers with me, God bless him. He is a child of Beverly Hills, and then he comes to New York and there's Grandma in her nice apartment and Grandma's house in Connecticut, and his other Grandma has another house that's wonderful in San Diego. I think it's very nice to see that not everybody has this. We help other people.
GP: Help certainly comes in many forms. Your book, Men Are Stupid … And They Like Big Boobs: A Woman’s Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery (Pocket), is funny but it's also a useful resource for women considering going under the knife.
JR: If by getting a little something done you feel you look better, it makes you happier. And I think we all need to concentrate on making ourselves happier. Especially in this recession.
GP: You've been prolific in the writing department, with works like Murder at the Academy Awards: A Red Carpet Murder Mystery (Pocket).
JR: If you like funny mysteries this is a funny mystery and it's got so much gossip and it takes you on the red carpet and it takes you backstage in the gift rooms and it takes you into the Vanity Fair party and it takes you every place you’ve read about and never thought you'd get near. And you're going in with me so, boy oh boy, you are going to get the straight story.
GP: What straight story, what legacy, do you want to leave Cooper?
JR: Success comes through work. Success — not just to be a hard worker. Success in life comes through work.
GP: One last thing. We heard that you hate Grandparents Day. True? If so, you're breaking our hearts.
JR: I just don't think one day people should say, "Oh boy let's be nice to our grandparents." I just think all that is so silly. But I'm not into birthdays, either. If you're my friend, I love you every day.
How well do you get along with your grandchild and other family members? Want to know if your personalities mesh?Find out here.