“My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh,” her daughter said today. “Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.”
Rivers began her climb to fame through her appearances on The Tonight Show in the 60s, before hosting a series of her own talk shows.
Although Rivers’ biting comedic style often found her at the center of controversies, she was nonetheless a pioneering figure in the world of stand up comedy, and a groundbreaker for women in the field in particular. In a way, Joan Rivers was America’s ball-busting grandmother. And much like many of our grandmothers, racist as hell.
Rivers had suffered complications after undergoing surgery on her vocal chords last week.
Here’s an interview she did after returning to her alma mater Barnard College in 2012 that captures her spirit pretty well.
If you were 22, what would you do?
What I did then. Go after what you want. Don’t let them push you. The first ten years sets your life for the rest of it. For god sakes, don’t get married.
Right! Your first marriage lasted six weeks, your second husband committed suicide, and you were engaged to Orin Lehman, though you never married.
I think women must get married. There’s nothing like marriage. It’s a partnership. You have your children and your home base. Very, very important. But what you are at 22, you are not at 32. So don’t do it.
You’re a Republican, right? Did you watch the debates?
Of course. They were speeches, of course, not debates. I think we’re in trouble. The President doesn’t know the color of the oval office. He’s been campaigning for two years. We have a terrible choice. It’s like, “Who is your favorite Menendez brother?”
Any opinion on Sasha and Malia?
Who cares? How old are you?
That’s a very dumb question from a smart girl. I don’t give a shit about what the kids look like.
Although there are dozens to choose from, here’s a classic clip of Rivers riffing with The Beastie Boys on her show in 1987 that we’ve always particularly liked.