I’ve been a fan of Joan’s since watching her on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show during the 1970’s and 80’s – back when he and that show ruled the late night tv landscape. She said things that few people had the guts to say and most of the time, she was hilarious. Love her or not, Joan Rivers pioneered so many elements of pop culture that today we take for granted, including:
1. Joan showed us women could be funny. She was the first person to be named as Johnny’s permanent guest host on Tonight, a show dominated by comedians like Don Rickles, Bill Cosby, David Brenner and other dudes. With the exception of Joan (and maybe Phyllis Diller), female comedians were few and far between in those days and it was a real coup that a woman could win that coveted spot.
2. She spearheaded what is now a juggernaut of media coverage of Red Carpet Fashion – first on E!, then later, on the TV Guide Channel. (She made a triumphant return to E! Entertainment several years ago.) Prior to Joan boldly asking everyone ‘Who are you wearing?’, it was very much frowned upon to talk style on the carpet. Pre-Joan, the vibe was all seriousness and (show) business.
3. She broke the taboo about plastic surgery. Heck, she smashed it! Joan was not ashamed and freely admitted that she’d had numerous plastic surgeries over the years. Again, Phyllis Diller also comes to mind, but Joan was still one of the few prominent celebs I know of who was completely honest about having had work done.
RIP Joan. You will be missed.
*Photo Courtesy: Joan Rivers Quote photo, Pinterest