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Joan Rivers Rolls Into and Out of Town (Pictures)

The comedienne came to DC on behalf of her new book.

Joan Rivers checks out her flaming birthday “cake” at Central restaurant. Photograph by James R. Brantley.

It would be fun to say Joan Rivers blew into and out of town yesterday, because she is a force of nature, but in truth she rolled. As a veteran of the club circuit and the road she knows that sometimes the best way to get into and out of a town is not on a plane but in a car, and so late last night, after a party for her book I Hate Everyone, Starting With Me and a Q&A appearance, she hopped into a limo and traveled Route 95 the four hours from DC to New York. “She got to sleep in her own bed,” a friend said. Maybe that’s the secret to her 79 years of remarkable longevity.

And it needs to be said, because she’s so public about her many plastic surgeries: She looks good. In fact, in person she looks better and more youthful than on television.

During the book party at Central, Rivers celebrated her June 8 birthday with a signature Michel Richard birthday “cake,” which was a flaming, hedonistic mound of chocolate. She also kibitzed with friends and fans, who waited patiently for a chance to say hello and get a free book signed. Lynda Carter Altman, the former Wonder Woman star, slid in beside her on a banquette to give the comedienne a hug. Dr. David Shocket, an otherwise serious gastroenterologist, said he was there as a surrogate for a serious Rivers fan: his wife, Patty, who was stuck in traffic. When he got his picture taken with Rivers, he said, “She’s going to be so jealous.” Patty did eventually arrive, smiling.

Central was closed for the party, which was hosted by lawyer David Deckelbaum and interior designer Robert Higdon, both of whom are longtime friends of Rivers. There was an open bar—anything the guests wanted—and servers passed platters of crabcakes, mini burgers, flatbread with salmon, and squares of cheesecake and chocolate mousse. Rivers couldn’t keep still, signing books, sipping red wine, and sometimes half standing with her leg bent back and her foot resting on the banquette—noticeable because of her very high black stiletto blinged out with a rhinestone ball on the heel. Were those shoes comfortable? “Of course,” she said. Who made them? Rivers pulled one off her foot and looked inside. “Stuart Weitzman.”

From the book party she planned to head up to the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue to be interviewed before a paying audience. But before her departure she swooned about how much she loves Washington. So we had to ask: What did she think of the presidential election? Did she have a candidate? Rivers responded by sticking out her tongue and blowing a loud raspberry. “Neither one,” she said emphatically. When we asked if she’d reenact that face for a photographer, she laughed. “No way.” The queen of the Fashion Police knows well when to police herself.

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