Melissa Rivers on Diversity, Dating and Awards Season Fashion (So Far)

THR caught up with the actress/host/producer on her birthday Wednesday night in West Hollywood.
Carlos Delgado/Invision for JDate/AP Images
Melissa Rivers

Melissa Rivers celebrated her 48th birthday on Jan. 20, and by celebrate, that means she worked. And she wouldn't have it any other way. 

Following a workout, lunch with her office staff and a quick touch-up with hair and makeup pros, the Fashion Police host and producer headed to The Improv in West Hollywood for a hosting gig for online dating service JDate. 

"This isn't a milestone one," she tells THR. "And I have been this way since I started working — nothing makes me happier than working on my birthday because I'm so lucky to be able to do what I'm doing. To be gainfully employed on my birthday is a gift."

The inaugural event — created to showcase and share in the highs, lows and laughs of dating — featured a “Let’s Kibitz” showcase hosted by the newly-refreshed JDate and featuring stand-up sets by local comics Nicole Aimee Schreiber, Taylor Williamson, Brent Weinbach, Adam Ray, Flip Schultz and Liz Weisman. Rivers hosted along with Pretty Little Liars star Keegan Allen. 

THR caught up with Rivers to discuss dating, diversity and the reaction to her recent turn in David O. Russell's Joy playing her mother.


Melissa Rivers blows out her birthday candles at JDate's "Let's Kibitz comedy night at The Improv on Jan. 20. (Photo by Carlos Delgado/Invision for JDate/AP Images)

On dating: "Dating in Hollywood is a nightmare and intimidating and unless you are 12 years old and absolutely stunningly gorgeous, you don't stand a chance. As my mother always said, the .0001 percent of the most beautiful people in the world come to Hollywood. You could be a 10 in your hometown and you're lucky to be a seven in Hollywood. It's a tough town, but so is New York and so is Chicago, and all of those places. All these guys say that it's about depth or this that and the other. Maybe, but you still want the shiny car first."

On her relationship status: "I'm in a wonderful relationship for a little over a year now. Luckily I've not had to face the trauma of dating for a little over a year. That makes me happy." [She's dating L.A. talent agent Mark Rousso.]

On her role in Joy: "People were lovely and warm and happy and liked it and felt that I didn't do a caricature. People felt it was very authentic. it was a lovely bow to the end of the year."

On awards season: "So far, the women have been beautiful. We have a group of women this year who are very into fashion and that always makes it more fun. When you have women who like to take those chances, that makes it more exciting to watch. At this point, you wait for a standout, you wait for a big moment, you wait for a breakthrough and that holy s--- -- both good and bad -- moment. And I hope that's coming."

On Hollywood's diversity problem: "It's a systemic problem. It's not just the Academy Awards. This year, I do think some people who should have been nominated were overlooked, and I don't just feel that just because of race, there were a lot of white actors who were overlooked too. Do I love the irony that Chris Rock is hosting this year? 100 percent. He's the perfect person to take on the controversy. That said, I feel very bad for the head of the Academy. I do believe that her intention is good, but you can't blame the organization for a systemic problem. You can yell at the tail but you need to be yelling at the head of the monster."

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