If I’m not going to be able to do an hour of stand-up, do not revive.
Even all the plastic surgery in the world can not stop time. Joan Rivers, a revolutionary/pioneering comedienne and snarkmeister, died today at age 81. Complications from a medical procedure caused cardiac arrest and a coma from which she could not be revived.
Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.
Not a dumb bunny by any means, Rivers (nee Molinsky, married Rosenberg – Rivers is an adopted stage name by both herself and her daughter) graduated from Barnard Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in English Literature and Anthropology. If you ever watched her weekly show on E!, you saw a comedienne who could weave together current events, couture and comedy in a way that had you shaking your head, and wondering how many writers, if any besides her, it took to come up with those jokes. From Kardashians, any Kardashian, to Putin to MObama, to her favorite victim, herself, no one was immune to her wickedly sharp sense of humor. Honed by her experience busting several glass ceilings, Rivers’ jokes were sharp, wry and only occasionally as dark as she had every right to be. Her second husband Edgar Rosenberg killed himself and her late night show was canceled in the same year. She battled various illnesses, including (like many great comics) depression and eating disorders. But any show she did always brought more laughter than tears.
A man can sleep around, no questions asked. But if a woman makes 19 or 20 mistakes, she’s a tramp.
I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door—or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.
Rivers transitioned women in comedy from the slapstick of Lucille Ball through the self deprecating wit of her mentor Phyllis Diller to appearances on her contemporary’s Mary Tyler Moore Show (a trailblazer in her own right, Moore was the first TV character to acknowledge taking the pill). Rivers was the first woman to guest host ‘The Tonight Show’ and the first woman to have her own late night tv show and remains the only woman to have a position as a chronic guest host on The Tonight Show. In the 80s, she was the highest paid entertainer in Vegas. Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen Degeneres, Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey can thank their successes in part to the ground broken by Rivers.
Age sucks. It’s the final mountain.
Rivers’ humor is a bit like Cy Twombly’s art. You kind of have to have some life experiences to truly understand what is going on. In fact, if it weren’t for Rivers, I’d really have no idea what aging was really like.
My breasts are so low now I can have a mammogram and a pedicure at the same time.
Don’t talk to me about Valentine’s Day. At my age, an affair of the heart is a bypass.
You know you’ve reached middle age when you’re cautioned to slow down by your doctor, instead of by the police.
When a man has a birthday, he takes a day off. When a woman has a birthday, she takes at least three years off.
So here’s to a groundbreaking voice that brought a new level of snark to the routines of female comics, someone who could talk international policy while slamming the style of stars and starlets alike, all in one breath. And two last quotes:
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is God’s gift. That’s why we call it the present.
At my funeral, I want Meryl Streep crying in five different accents.