We all hoped Joan Rivers would pull through after she suffered cardiac arrest during a medical procedure on her vocal cords but it was not meant to be. She was a brilliant comedian. She had to be to break through all the barriers faced by women comics back in the 60s. By succeeding she paved the way for other women comics, including myself, but no only that, she was an incredibly kind and supportive entertainer.
I appeared on Hollywood Squares with her in 1988 when I was just starting out and she sat with me during a break, was so nice to me, and even gave me advice about writing. Then in 1990, I was a guest on her daytime talk show and again, she was gracious and just as kind to me again. When she did stand up, everyone talked about it. “Did you hear what Joan Rivers said? Can you believe what Joan Rivers said?” She was fearless. She pushed the envelope and that’s when she was at her best. She was always outrageous and we loved her for it. All the brilliant comics who had us falling down laughing were outrageous, just like Joan.
I am so sad for missing all the great things she still had to say and sad for her family dealing with this unexpected tragedy. Joan may have been 81 but she was full of life and just as funny as ever. Even when contemplating her own death, Joan has managed to make us laugh again. Here are Joan’s final wishes:
“When I die (and yes, Melissa, that day will come; and yes, Melissa, everything’s in your name), I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action…. I want Craft Services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene!
I want it to be Hollywood all the way. I don’t want some rabbi rambling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents. I don’t want a eulogy; I want Bobby Vinton to pick up my head and sing Mr. Lonely.
I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyoncé’s.”
Rest in peace, Joan.