The Loss Of The Most Distinct Face In Comedy

The Loss Of The Most Distinct Face In Comedy
Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers died Thursday, September 4th, at the age of 81.

This has been a Summer of heavy loss in the celebrity world, and Joan Rivers is no exception. She was a pioneer for women in comedy, and, love her or leave her, there was no denying her impact on that world. Debuting on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1965, Joan has made the last 50 years her bitch and made a name for herself as the ultimate insult comic.

There’s something admirable about her approach to her career, which she detailed on multiple occasions. First, you never turn down a gig. Second, you never apologize for a joke. She lived by her rules until the very end, from walking off set during a recent CNN interview because the interviewer asked if she thought her jokes were ‘too mean’, to talking about ethnic stereotypes, a favorite subject of hers, on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, during her return to the studio at 30 Rock following her falling out with Johnny Carson, which happened because she got her own talk show on a different network in the same time slot.

No, Joan certainly made no apologies over the way she carried herself. A supporter and insulter of the LGBT community, her humor was definitely not for the sensitive souls of the world, where her terrible crassness and insult humor was seen as nothing more than mean, rather than affectionately taking down everything from Liz Taylor, Mel Gibson, to her favorite subject; her own plastic face.

Joan Rivers, like Robin Williams, wouldn’t want us to be sad over her passing. She joked about it on multiple occasions, telling Jimmy Fallon in the aforementioned interview “At this point, the first thing on my to-do list everyday is just waking up.” One of the first times I saw her off the red carpet was in an episode of Nip/Tuck, playing herself, where she said “I’ve been nipped and tucked more than a Holiday Inn bedsheet.”

There was quite literally nothing off limits to this woman, nothing was too dark. When the media took her comments about the situation in Gaza as an attack on Palestinians, she came maybe the closest she ever did to apologizing for a joke she made, and even then, it wasn’t exactly an apology. “I am both saddened and disappointed that my statement about the tragedy of civilian casualties was totally taken out of context. What I said and stand behind is, war is hell and unfortunately civilians are victims of political conflicts. We, The United States, certainly know this as 69 years later we still feel the guilt of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

“The media, as usual, has decided to only quote the most out of context and inflammatory non sequitur rather than giving an accurate account of what my intentions were behind the statement. Along with every other sane person in this world, I am praying for peace. It is stupid and wrong and I am tired of bearing the brunt of attacks by people who want to sell newspapers or gain ratings by creating a scandal about me that is non-existent.”

You can hate her, or you can love her, but one thing is undeniable; Joan Rivers is one of the key reasons we have so many wonderful women in comedy today, and the world, especially the world of television, will feel her loss.

Categories: Commentary
Tags: Joan Rivers