Turns out there is something that frightens Joan Rivers more than crow's feet: the thought of her beloved fanbase -- many of whom identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) -- losing its sense of humor.
The 78-year-old comedian, actress, fashion commentator and reality star sounded off on the recent controversies surrounding the use of what some rights advocates have deemed "transphobic" language at the New York premiere party for "Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?" True to form, it's Joan herself who provides ample opportunity to broach the subject: during the Season 2 debut episode, which airs Jan. 24 on WE tv, she proclaims that she's not going in for "a Chaz Bono" as daughter Melissa plots a "skintervention" to halt her mother's plans to undergo yet another cosmetic procedure.
"We all need to just relax," Joan told The Huffington Post. "Is Chaz happy? Yes. Did Cher pay for it? Yes. Move on!" As to whether or not her own words could be interpreted as transphobic in any way, she added, "I don't give a s**t, call me whatever you want, but everyone just needs to calm down."
Ever quick to clarify her mother's trademark candor, Melissa noted, "When the gay community starts becoming overly sensitive and loses its sense of humor, we're all in deep s**t. They're the funniest people alive."
Whether or not they agree with this particular stance, Joan's LGBT fans will nonetheless find plenty to admire and dish about in the new season. In the first episode, Melissa's "skintervention" plan goes hilariously awry when her mother offers to pay for a bevy of her friends to receive their own cosmetic treatments if they back down (needless to say, their opposition quickly dwindles). Meanwhile, Melissa's 11-year-old son Cooper -- whom Joan laments, at one point, isn't gay -- announces plans to follow in his famous grandmother's footsteps with his own stand-up comedy act, to be staged at a Los Angeles deli.
Though many of the jokes write themselves, the show also delves into more serious territory, too: one surprisingly poignant moment comes late in the episode as Joan -- in full hospital garb and wearing no make-up -- tells a tearful Melissa that she's "had a good run" and not to be concerned if something goes wrong during her surgery.
As for her much-discussed quest for eternal youth, Joan admits she "doesn't know" exactly how many times she's been under the knife. Still, the show reveals she's received over 700 cosmetic procedures, including regular Botox and collagen injections. "I used to have a friend who was a plastic surgeon...so, like, every two years, we'd do a tune-up...fix this, fix that," she recalled. "So it's been a lot, but it's never been like, 'Facelift!' -- if that makes any sense."
So is there anything that's off limits to the cameras? Aside from Melissa's interests in shielding Cooper from too much television exposure, not much. "I really believe [that] if it's going to be reality show, then it's got to be the truth and it's got to be reality," Joan said. "It has to be based on absolute truth."
Though she acknowledges that the mother/daughter duo's cattier moments make for better TV, Joan insists that the bickering is ultimately skin-deep. "I had an argument with my own mother on the evening that she died, and that taught me a big lesson: we will never not speak," she said. "I will never, never allow that."
Relive some of Joan's best TV moments (and some truly spectacular hairstyles) below:
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