It's hard to believe that almost a year has gone by since the great Joan Rivers died from complications after throat surgery. The comic legend would have been 82 years old today—and what a full life she led.
The Brooklyn-born Rivers started her career in comedy in the 1960s at a time when women weren't supposed to be in comedy. An old New York Times review of her act from 1965 said she did a good job of getting over her "handicap" i.e. being a pretty, blond woman and still managing to make people laugh. After working the comedy circuits for years, she made it to the big leagues matching joke for joke with Rodney Dangerfield, Sammy Davis Jr. Don Rickles, etc., She broke the ultimate barrier when she became the first woman to have a late night talk show on Fox (that's after years as Johnny Carson's go-to replacement for The Tonight Show) in 1986. After only seven months The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers was canceled. A setback surely, but that didn't slow her down.
She continued to work for years in television, film and live comedy. At the time of her death she was hosting E!'s Fashion Police, the web-series In Bed with Joan, and reality TV series Melissa & Joan: Joan Knows Best with her daughter Melissa Rivers.
David Letterman said at the time of her death: "Here's a woman, a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy. And talk about guts—she would come out here and say some things that were unbelieavable, just where you would have to swallow pretty hard. But, it was hilarious. The force of her comedy was overpowering." Known for her amazing one-liners here are some of our favorites.
1. On shapewear: "My grandson is mad at me. He’s mad at me because I squandered his college fund on Spanx. It’s a lot, but there’s a lot going on here." —in an interview with David Letterman
2. On aging: "Old women are suctioned to the ground. Boobs, out of a brassiere, in the morning, it just goes. I use my left boob as a stopper in the tub." —stand-up at Live at the Apollo
3. On engagement rings: "Learn what not to expect. Irish Catholic they get sh**** little rings. Irish women get crappy rings. Baptists get the worst because they get the rings under water. When it comes up, it’s garbage. Jewish, big rings. Episcopalian big rings. Italians—the best, because they get them off of dead people, and second wives get the biggest rings of all." —stand-up at Live at the Apollo
4. On marriage: "You don’t marry for love. What does love got to do with marriage? I spit on love and marriage. You marry for money." —stand-up at Live at the Apollo
5. On education: "Women should look good. Work on yourselves. Education? I spit on education. No man is ever going to put his hand up your dress looking for a library card." —stand-up at Live at the Apollo
6. On Botox: "I love plastic surgery." —stand-up at Live at the Apollo
7. On redressing the Virgin Mary: "I put her in a Chanel suit, Manolo Blahniks, and a Louis Vuitton pocketbook. You’re the mother of God, look it! If she had looked like that, she would’ve gotten into the inn. The point is, it’s about looks." —stand-up at Live at the Apollo
8. On herself: "I have no sex appeal and it has screwed me up for life. Peeping Toms look at my window and pull down the shade. My gynecologist examines me by telephone." —stand-up at Live at the Apollo
9. On breakfast: "I’ll eat cold pizza or whatever’s in there" —to InStyle
10. On Her Hopes for Red Carpet Fashion: "More ball gowns. Come on, guys, dress it up! Enough with the sheath, enough with the little spaghetti straps. It’s showbiz! Do it up!"—to InStyle