At 76 years old, Joan Rivers is showing no sign of slowing down. The undisputed queen of American comedy's career has spanned five decades and as many media, from serving as the first female guest host of The Tonight Show, to opening a one-woman play in London in 2008, to winning The Celebrity Apprentice in 2009.
Following the comedy trailblazer over the course of a year, renowned documentarians Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg's (The Trials of Darryl Hunt, The Devil Came on Horseback, TFF '07) vérité film captures the sheer amount of work that Rivers does, stumping for herself across the country at stand-up gigs, personal appearances, television stints, and live performances. Her signature saucy humor is on full display both in the spotlight and behind the scenes, often betraying an obsession with success, celebrity, beauty, and superficiality, while always lambasting all of these trappings of fame to shocking comic effect. A Piece of Work reveals the fascinating and counterintuitive combinations of self-determination and self-deprecation, vulnerability and irreverence that fuel the Rivers empire, adding up to a quintessential film about a quintessential American icon.