Legendary comedian Joan Rivers died last September during a medical procedure at age 81, but in December, the Grammys recognized her with a nomination for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio version of “Diary of a Mad Diva,” which would turn out to be her last book. Will the recording academy pay posthumous tribute to her with a win on February 8?
This is Rivers’s first nomination for Spoken Word Album, but she did earn one previous Grammy bid, for Best Comedy Album for “What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?” in 1983. That award went to Eddie Murphy‘s “Comedian.”
Other comics have won this race, including Stephen Colbert just last year for “America Again.” Jon Stewart (“Earth,” 2010) and Al Franken (“Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” 2003) also prevailed in recent years.
A few years after winning his Grammy, Franken became a US senator, and the academy loves politicians too. President Barack Obama has won two Grammys. Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton are also past champs.
A third president has won: Jimmy Carter, who claimed the prize in 2006 for “Our Endangered Values.” He’s nominated again this year for “A Call to Action,” in which he addresses the plight of women throughout the world – it’s his seventh bid overall.
Fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren, current US senator from Massachusetts, picked up her first Grammy nomination this year for “A Fighting Chance,” in which the liberal lawmaker advocates for the middle-class.
Two film artists are nominated: Actor James Franco recorded the audio book for his own novel, “Actors Anonymous,” while director John Waters traveled cross-country from Baltimore to San Francisco for “Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America.” This is the first Spoken Word nomination for both.
Gloria Gaynor, however, is no stranger to the Grammys. The veteran disco star is the only musician nominated in this category, which may be an advantage – Janis Ian pulled off an upset in this race in 2012. She’s nominated for her book “We Will Survive,” in which she recounts several stories of people whose lives were touched by her iconic hit “I Will Survive,” which won Gaynor her only previous Grammy: Best Disco Recording in 1979.
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