Joan Rivers has passed away today, September 4th, 2014. News of her death spread like wildfire across the internet. Snapshots of daughter Melissa’s statement were up on every Twitter and Facebook page within hours of the comedy legend’s actual time of death. In every way, Joan Rivers truly lived the life of a legend.
In a way, it’s hard for anyone to believe that Joan is actually gone. At 81 years old, Rivers’ career was still going strong. She was a staple as a host on E!’s Fashion Police. She was even slated to do some live shows. She commuted between New York and Los Angeles on a weekly basis. Most importantly, she continued to make all of us laugh. Joan Rivers showed us that you really never have to “slow down” in life and that there really is no such thing as “the prime” of any career; it’s only what you make of it.
Joan paved the way for today’s female comediennes. By 1965 she was writing gags and participating on Candid Camera. On February 17th, 1965, Rivers made her first appearance on The Tonight Show, with the new host at that time, Johnny Carson. In 1966, Rivers had a short lived daytime talk show called, That Show with Joan Rivers. In February of 1983, she was the first female comedienne to ever perform at Carnegie Hall.
In 1986, Joan made a move that cost her a friendship with Johnny Carson. She became the first woman to host a late night talk show, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers. The problem was that she became Johnny’s competitor and he heard about it through the grapevine; not from Joan herself.
Joan said of the show, "For the first time in 53 years, I know, by God, that I truly belong. Nobody can stop me." The show, however, was having problems being picked up by FOX networks across the country. Rivers also fought with FOX executives on decisions being made. She was fired from the show in May of 1987. Joan continued a rocky relationship with The Tonight Show for many years, up until 2014, when she appeared for the first time with new host Jimmy Fallon.
If we look at Joan Rivers’ career, we see that she is the Hollywood example of “picking yourself up and starting over again.” No matter how many times Joan was knocked down in her career, she kept coming back on the scene strong. Thank you, Joan Rivers, for your years of jokes, amazing inappropriate timing, and for being yourself in a world where so many try to be who they are not. You will be sorely missed.