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By Brian Balthazar

Finding an honest answer isn't always easy. Unless you're within earshot of Joan Rivers.

The comedian/actress/fashion commentator/jewelry designer and all-around renaissance woman hilariously goes where most people fear to tread in her Bravo comedy special "Joan Rivers: Before Melissa Pulls the Plug." The special kicks off a series of programs featuring funny women.

Rivers has had a career many of the actresses she meets on the red carpet can only hope to achieve. The daughter of immigrant Russian parents, Rivers began her comedy ascent with relentless perseverance in an endless array of New York comedy clubs.

Her career skyrocketed in 1965 when she appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. The 40 years that followed would include countless television appearances, films, a Tony Award nomination, an Emmy and emergence as a Hollywood fashion figure.

Still a comedic force, Rivers also is a savvy businesswoman.

Her role as fashion commentator segued into her own line of QVC jewelry and beauty products that have reached more than $500 million in sales. In large part due to her success, celebrity appearances on home shopping channels is not a “no-no,” but a “must-do.”

But no matter what her platform, Rivers is a comic to the core, bringing her quick wit to whatever the project. Her comedy special is evidence that when Joan talks, people not only listen, they laugh.

Your comedy special is called "Joan Rivers: Before Melissa Pulls the Plug." Your daughter comes up a few times in your act. How does she react when you joke about her?

She really tries to pull the plug. She hates me very much. What saves me from being murdered by her is that I wear a different dress size, thus she has nothing to gain.

You're lying! Seriously, has there ever been a moment when Melissa has said, “don't mention me!”

Not once. I have never ever used her as the butt of my jokes. It's always about me being the idiot, me being the fool — she has never had to say knock it off.

I've been lucky enough to see you perform in New York, even in Spokane, Wash. Both audiences were crazy about you. Have you ever had an audience just not “get it?” What happened?

Yes. Actually, they were deaf. I did my act in sign language and they hated me so much that they put their hands over their eyes.

Everyone has a bad gig, for example, soon I'm going to be doing something outside, and you just know it's going to be very difficult. People are outside talking, doing other things, not paying attention, they can't hear. I was once with [former New York City mayor] Mayor Koch in Brooklyn on a baseball diamond somewhere. It was a nightmare.

Your act is truly hysterical, and you're always brutally honest. Some of the things you say really get a strong reaction — initially shock, and then laughter. Why do you think people react the way they do sometimes?

We're from a society where everyone is so scared of being politically incorrect.

It is beyond out of control. Everybody takes everything as an insult. When you can't say to school children, “Everyone sit Indian style,” that's madness. Calm down! Why are we afraid?

What's your take on celebrities adopting babies overseas? Is it good-heartedness or just publicity driven?

Unless the child is very attractive or very rich I think that it is a stupid thing to do. We have plenty of ugly, poor children right here, in this country, who need to be taken care of.

Again, you're joking, but there is truth to your point that there are a lot of children in need in the United States.

Of course! Why are you running over there? Go to Appalachia! How about saving an American?

You got a ton of press when it came out you had a dating profile on match.com. How have your dating experiences been?

Fabulous. I actually had an orgasm with one the other night. It was so romantic lying there watching the room fill up with dust.

So what's the perfect man to you?

One with a pulse and no eyesight. Just thinking about him gets me all tingly.

What's the biggest misconception about you?

That I am a woman. I think they think I'm very mean, when in fact I just try to tell the truth. And sometimes the truth is uncomfortable. But that's the perception. I have had people say to me “I tuned in to you and I was surprised you weren't mean.” When am I ever mean?

Also, rumors tend to grow. There was one rumor that I made Kevin Costner's fiancée cry. That didn't happen, I was just in shock at the size of the (engagement) ring she was wearing. It was so small it was shocking.

(Editor's note: Costner, after Joan's red carpet observation, got his fiancée a bigger, better ring.)

Dare I say that you are in pretty incredible shape. What's your secret?

Fun-house mirrors.

You just conducted your 1000th interview on the red carpet. Who counted for you?

Wesley Snipes' accountants. Do you think maybe the count wasn't accurate?

Did I miss anything?

Yes, please ask me again when my comedy special "Before Melissa Pulls the Plug" airs on Bravo … Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 10 p.m. I think it is the funniest thing I've ever done since I told Robert Blake, "Go ahead. The gun isn't loaded. Women love to be scared, it turns them on."

You can also see Joan Rivers every Wednesday night at the Cutting Room in New York City