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Final Word: Joan Rivers was brave, bold and funny

Joan Rivers died Thursday.

When I was a little girl, I would see Joan Rivers on TV, but I didn’t really know who she was. She was a comedienne better known by people my parents’ age, which mean she was ancient. (I got her and Phyllis Diller confused!)

But when I was a teenager, she had that very publicized split from being Johnny Carson’s fill-in host to hosting her own show. She came back into everyone’s living room as the first woman to ever host a live late night show. Her 1986 show didn’t live long, but her split from Johnny was permanent.

He took such offense she chose to compete with him that he refused to speak to her again. After the show was canceled by Fox, her husband, the show’s producer, Edgar Rosenberg, committed suicide.

As a woman in a man’s world, she made a bold and brave career move and it not only cost her her husband, but the friendship of a powerful mentor.

You may not think Joan Rivers was funny, but you have to admit she was a brave, tough woman.

She went on to host a red carpet show on cable that introduced her to a world of younger fans who loved her no-holds barred fashion criticisms.

“Look at Gwyneth Paltrow being named the ‘most beautiful’ this year. She got Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder to vote.”

Mean and insensitive but funny.

Joan Rivers wasn’t afraid of anything. She wasn’t afraid of being funny or bombing when she tried.

She wasn’t afraid of losing friends over her career choices, she wasn’t afraid of offending anyone.

She certainly wasn’t afraid of what people said or thought about her endless plastic surgeries.

I imagine she wasn’t afraid of dying, either, as long as she looked good while she did it.

She used her critical brand of comedy to set herself apart, sure, but her humor appealed to the bad girl (or guy) in all of us. In doing so, Joan Rivers conceded the fact that she too, was ultimately human, and not better than better than anyone else.

There are a lot of funny women in the entertainment business who don’t have to apologize for who they are because Joan Rivers did it first.

Thanks, Joan. You made me laugh out loud more often than not, even if I didn’t always feel good about what was so funny.

I hope you look great at your funeral.

I want craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way. I don’t want some rabbi rambling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents. I don’t want a eulogy; I want Bobby Vinton to pick up my head and sing “Mr. Lonely.” I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyonc√©’s. — Joan in her own words, in 2012

[Originally posted on KTAR.com]

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