Joan Rivers (1933–2014) Describes on Louie Her Undying Commitment to Comedy

She didn’t earn the posthu­mous sobri­quet “Comedic Stilet­to” from The New York Times for noth­ing. “Raspy loud­mouth” come­di­an Joan Rivers inspired strong emo­tions and reli­able bursts of con­tro­ver­sy with her abra­sive, take-no-pris­on­ers style. Mas­ter­ing insult com­e­dy was a sur­vival skill for the com­ic who took as much as she dished out while com­ing up in the aggres­sive, most­ly male stand-up world. Before the late-night, fash­ion, and real­i­ty shows, auto­bi­og­ra­phy and doc­u­men­tary, and stints on QVC, Rivers carved paths, paved ways, blazed trails, and left oth­er pio­neer­ing marks for such mas­ters of the put-down as Roseanne Barr, Sarah Sil­ver­man, and oth­ers who—as a 1965 NYT review painful­ly put it—over­came “the hand­i­cap of a woman com­ic.” Ham-fist­ed jabs from the press aside, Rivers said many times she nev­er thought of her­self par­tic­u­lar­ly as a “woman com­ic,” and if that des­ig­na­tion ever sig­ni­fied a “hand­i­cap” or some sort of gim­mick it’s no won­der. She deserved bet­ter than to be patron­ized. Rivers was true to the craft, as every com­ic cur­rent­ly eulo­giz­ing her will tell you, and as she would tell us her­self, at every oppor­tu­ni­ty, but per­haps nev­er more earnest­ly than to Louis C.K. above in a clip from his show. C.K. is moved enough to put one of his sig­na­ture moves on her. Rivers’ response? “Nobody likes necrophil­i­acs.” She will haunt us from the grave with her mor­bid, scalpel-like one-lin­ers, may she rest in peace.

via @sheerly

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Robin Williams (1951–2014) Per­forms Unknown Shake­speare Play in 1970s Standup Rou­tine

Don Par­do (1918–2014), Voice of Sat­ur­day Night Live, Sug­gests Using Short Words

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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