A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 27, 2015
“Can we talk?” (Joan Rivers comic catchphrase)

"Can we talk?” was the catchphrase of Brooklyn-born comedian Joan Rivers (1933-2014). The saying meant that she was going to talk frankly, honestly, and, of course, with brutal humor. “Her favorite line is ‘Can we talk?’” was cited in print in 1982.


Wikiquote: Joan Rivers
Joan Alexandra Rosenberg (June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014), known by her stage name Joan Rivers, was an American actress, comedian, writer, producer and television host, best known for her stand-up comedy, for co-hosting the E! celebrity fashion show Fashion Police, and for starring in the reality series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? alongside her daughter Melissa Rivers.

Quotes
[Catchphrase:] Can we talk?
Quoted in Wash. Post (24 Aug. 1982), as reported in The Yale Book of Quotations (2006), p. 638

29 April 1982, The Star (Park Forest, IL), “Two together? It Works!” by Marlene Cook, pg. 28, col. 2:
Her favorite line is “Can we talk?” Then she talks at frenetic speed telling women how to keep their men or get one in the first place.

5 September 1982, Sunday Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “National Challenge” by J. Baxter Newgate and Sandy Applegreen, Sunday Magazine, pg. 36, col. 3:
Joan Rivers: “Can we talk?”—Karyl Smith, Steelton, Pa.

Google Books
24 January 1983, New York magazine, “Television” by James Wolcott, pg. 51, col. 2:
“Can we talk?” she’ll say after making a crack about Elizabeth Taylor’s “walk-in belly button.”

IMDb (The Internet Movie Database)
Joan Rivers: Can We Talk? (1986– )
TV Series | Talk-Show
A short-lived UK talk show presented by American comedienne Joan Rivers.

OCLC WorldCat record
CAN WE TALK? Joan Rivers Finds the Perfect Foil in Connecticut
Author: N Collins
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, 60, Part 2 (2003): 174-181
Database: British Library Serials
Other Databases: ArticleFirst

YouTube
Joan Rivers 1982 monologue. Hysterical!
D3Q8A
Uploaded on Dec 14, 2008
Joan Rivers at her best in 1982. Heidi Abromowitz, “Can We Talk?”—it’s all here.

OCLC WorldCat record
Can we talk? The reframing of social permissions in the comedy of Joan Rivers
Author: MATTE GERARD; IAN McFADYEN
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Comedy Studies, v2 n2 (20110928): 161-171
Database: CrossRef

The Hollywood Reporter
Joan Rivers’ “Can We Talk?” Catchphrase Explained
by Ashley Lee 9/5/2014 8:11am PDT
(...)
She soon found herself participating in call-and-response rituals onstage at standup gigs.

“I didn’t realize I was saying it to the audience, and then they began repeating it back to me, so I don’t say it anymore. Totally spontaneous.”

Other comics noticed as well. “Rodney Dangerfield figured out, ‘I don’t get no respect,’ and he said to me, ‘Can we talk?’ And I was like, ‘What? Can we talk?’ And he said, ‘Oh, you use that phrase!’ “

OCLC WorldCat record
Joan Rivers and Non-Competition Agreements: Can We Talk?
Author: JD Supra
Edition/Format: Downloadable article Downloadable article : English
Publication: JD Supra, (2014-09-11T08:01:32.000Z)
Database: ACI Scholarly Blog Index
Summary:
Contributor: Burr & Forman [View: Profile | Documents]Publication Date: 09/11/2014Document Type: Article/NewsletterSubject Matter: Commercial Law & Contracts, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment LawSummary: Ms. Rivers’ self-deprecating nature and ability to use laughter to put people either at ease or to otherwise coerce them to divulge information often resulted in her getting the scoop. This unique ability allowed her to remain popular and visible for decades. And how, you might…

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Friday, November 27, 2015 • Permalink