Thursday, December 7, 2023

Action Figure Review: Joan Rivers (Stand Up! Records Exclusive) from Legends of Laughter by Nacelle


   A few weeks ago Stand Up! Records, a source for comedy albums, videos, and other merchandise, reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing their exclusive Joan Rivers action figure from Nacelle's Legends of Laughter toyline. Of course, I said yes. I'm easily swayed by toys, you know. Nacelle's Legends of Laughter line is an interesting concept: An action figure line for stand up comedians. It kind of reminds me of some of the more offbeat lines from the early 2000s like X-Toys' Saturday Night Live line. We're definitely in a second golden age of action figures when there really seems to be no limits for who can get an action figure. Stand Up! Records' exclusive Joan Rivers action figure is based on the legendary comedian's various endeavors like being the first female late night host (The Late Show with Joan Rivers) and her stalwart presence on the red carpet. A plastic action figure of Joan Rivers seems like a suitable tribute to the Grammy and Emmy award winning talent as, according to Joan herself, "I've had so much plastic surgery, when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware." I'm most familiar with Joan Rivers as the voice of Dot Matrix in Spaceballs, and from her work on E! in the late 90s/ early 2000s, and I'm sure most folks will fondly remember something that she was involved with. Let's take a look at this limited edition figure (only 500 of them) after the break...

The Facts:

Height: 6 1/8ths inches

Articulation: Swivel waist, swivel/ hinge shoulders, double hinged elbows, swivel wrists, and a balljointed head.

Accessories: Microphone, stand, and boa. 

Non-Scalper Price: $39.99

Edition Size: 500 pieces

The Packaging:

* The Legends of Laughter figures come in a basic window box that shows off the figure nicely. Honestly, I imagine that a lot of the folks who pick these up probably won't be removing them from the package. They definitely feel like they're marketed to collectors of comedy and pop-culture memorabilia rather than specifically targeting typical action figure collectors. The packaging is very collector friendly, though, and you can take the figure out and put her back in with ease. This version has unique packaging that depicts Joan on the red carpet. 

* The back shows an illustration of Joan Rivers, an image of her 1969 album The Next to Last Joan Rivers Album," and brief bio of the star. 

The Positives:

* Joan Rivers is wearing a very dark blue, long sleeved dress. There's not a lot of paint on the figure but the dress itself has some nice sculpting to show the wrinkles and folds. There's no articulation below the waist although her feet and high heeled shows are sculpted beneath the bottom of the dress. The style of the figure looks to be slightly animated; almost as if this were a comic book take on Joan Rivers. It's nice and gives it a bit of a timeless feel. Since she was in Iron Man 3, you can easily pose Joan Rivers alongside your Marvel Legends collection. 

* Looking at some pictures of Ms. Rivers, this definitely makes me think of her during the 1990s and early 2000s when she was a fixture at awards ceremonies and on E!. That's the hairstyle and look for her that I remember best and it's pretty well done. The paintwork is neat and clean and the likeness is there, especially from certain angles. 

* The figure really is meant to be displayed with the feathery boa around her neck. It's a bright, bold piece that adds some much needed pizazz to the figure. Now she's ready to interview the rest of your collection!

* Since she's a stand up comedian, Joan can't sit down. Really that's due to her dress and I'm sure it's intentional. In the future I hope Nacelle does work on the articulation scheme but, considering this is really more of a stand around pop culture trinket than someone who is going to be waging war on your shelf, the articulation her her arms is pretty good. She feels sturdy and you can get some nice expressions with her arms, hands, and head to make it look like she's dropping one-liners and telling jokes. Bicep swivels are the only thing that's missing here, as it would have given her a bit more range, but I did find I cold achieve most poses I wanted. 

* The back of the dress has plenty of details and folds as well as a visible zipper. That's actually an impressive detail to me for some reason. 

* Every stand up comedian needs a microphone, so Joan comes with a microphone and a stand! The microphone fits right into the stand.

* The microphone is removable and she can hold it in her right hand. 

The Negatives:

* My only real issue with the figure is that the neck looks a little too long and the pink boa leaves scuffs when you remove it from around her neck. You're probably better just to leave the boa in place. 

   The Legends of Laughter is definitely a very niche line. It reminds me more of something from Accoutrement or some of Super7's musician action figures than your traditional action figure line. It's a pop culture collectible and not something really meant for posing, battling, and photography. That being said, it is kind of neat. I get a kick out of action figures based on more unusual properties and it definitely is quite comical to own a Joan Rivers action figure. I would have liked a few more extras with the figure; maybe an alternate portrait or even a miniature copy of her comedy album in scale with the figure. She's a Good figure, though, and if you are a fan of Joan Rivers, or know someone who is, you're in luck. The line also features Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks, so you can kind of start building your own shelf of comic legends if you so desire. How deep will this line go? I'd be down for Bob Newhart, Red Foxx, Emo Phillips, and Mitch Hedberg if Nacelle finds that there is a strong enough market for these. There's also a bundle version of the figure which includes a CD of Ms. Rivers' 1969 release The Next to Last Joan Rivers Album." That's a pretty nifty set. 

This is the first figure of Joan Rivers I've reviewed on the site. 

A special thanks to Dan Schlissel and Stand Up! Records for providing this figure for me to review.


  1. I never thought I'd see a Joan Rivers action figure. Wow.

    1. It definitely feels like we've entered a magical time period when the sky's the limit in terms of who can get an action figure.

  2. She kinda scared me as a kid. I'm not sure why.

    Is there a George Carlin figure? :O

    1. There's no George Carlin yet, though he does seem like he'd be on the shortlist if this line gets a second series. The other two in this series are Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce.


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