Can we talk?

Sadly, Joan Rivers (Joan Alexandra Molinsky) died on Wednesday, September 4, 2014. In late August, Rivers had gone in for vocal cord surgery because of respiratory problems. Her health declined even further after experiencing cardiac arrest during the procedure. She eventually succumbed to these major complications.

Joan Rivers was an actor of film, television and theater. She was a writer, producer and television show host. She was also an avid philanthropist and one of the first, prominent celebrity HIV/AIDS activists.

First and foremost, she was a stand-up comedian. Rivers was one of the most successful comics ever, and not just of her own gender. We talk of women who break the glass ceilings of male-dominated industries. Joan was one of them, one of those game-changers who infiltrated and dominated the male fraternity of comedy.

This little old lady, with a face like a catcher’s mitt from her extensive cosmetic surgeries, was still legitimately funny as an octogenarian.  The workaholic and professional entertainer was still relevant at the end of her life.

As much as she roasted the culture icons around her -she was just as self-deprecating. There weren’t any sacred cows and any subjects that were considered taboo. After all, they were just jokes. She was a refreshing throwback in our day and age. Especially, in our current condition which is mired in political correctness, extreme sensitivity and backtracking-apology-culture. In a time where comedians are ludicrously held to the standards of politicians, Joan Rivers was honest, unwavering and unapologetic.

Joan Rivers began doing stand-up in nightclubs in the 1950s and immediately stood out because of her bold and irreverent comedy style. She was also in Second City in Chicago. In 1965, she had a major breakthrough with her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. A comedy kingmaker, Johnny Carson, was instantly smitten with River’s wit and charisma and took her under his wing. Eventually, Carson would go on to have her occasionally guest host when he was on vacation. The episodes she hosted were events, in of themselves, and would usually surpass Carson’s viewership. In 1967, she appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. There were the numerous appearances on The Carol Burnett Show in the ’70s. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she hosted her own show, The Joan Rivers Show. She won an Emmy for Best Talk Show Host (Daytime) in 1990. During this time, she became a Las Vegas headliner and an outright television star in her own right.

She was dealt a major blow when her husband Edgar Robinson fell into deep depression after a heart attack and committed suicide in 1987. Although a dark time, her husband’s passing inspired a reunion with their formerly estranged daughter, Melissa.

Rivers made a name dishing dirt on celebs as her critics deemed her, “Caustic, cruel, mean, nasty, offensive, acidic, acerbic, shocking, raunchy and racy.” We would call her a fucking gangsta. No fucks were given by Joanie. Her scathing riffs on pop idols were hilarious. Her current show, Fashion Police, was a popular one and was a platform to unload her verbal haymakers and nuclear bombs on the Hollywood elite. Haters gonna hate but Joan did it in endearing and clever ways –so we couldn’t fault her for it. In fact, we loved it.

As we say goodbye to the Queen of Snark, we mourn the passing of a pioneer, a comedy genius and a Hollywood/New York legend. Joan Rivers will be missed.

We can only offer our condolences to her family, friends and fans.






1965 - Joan Rivers performing in Tarrytown (Pix Inc.) 1965 - Joan Rivers with Johnny Carson on 'The Tonight Show' (Joel Elkins-Pix Inc.) 1986 - The launch of 'The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers' with guest Pee Wee Herman (Ron Batadorff-Fox) 2011 - Joan Rivers ( Joan Rivers with Robin Williams