Remembering Joan Rivers (June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014)

Above: Joan Rivers, comedy legend and TV host, dies at 81
Above: Joan Rivers, comedy legend and TV host, dies at 81

Joan Rivers, she of the acerbic wit and 50-odd-year career, has passed away at the age of 81. News of her death was passed along by her daughter Melissa, who rode shotgun alongside her spirited mother on many ventures.

Current generations know Rivers from her role as the leader of the E! Network’s Fashion Police, a cadre of critics including Kelly Osbourne and Guiliana Rancic that offers snarky opinions on the wardrobe choices of those that walk down the red carpet, but her career and penchant for saying things without a filter date back long before the advent of cable television.

A comedian and writer, Rivers popped up on the various talk shows and variety programs of the time including The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show and The Carol Burnett Show. By the early ’80s, Johnny Carson had installed her as a regular guest and his chief replacement whenever he stepped away from The Tonight Show desk, but that relationship went south when Rivers moved to FOX to host The Late Show with Joan Rivers, which ran in competition to Carson.

It was cancelled inside of a year and Carson never spoke to her again.

Rivers was a tireless worker and one who was comfortable using her own life as inspiration. She’s joked about everything from the suicide of her husband Edgar Rosenberg and the vast amounts of plastic surgery she’s had to topical issues where her bracing style occasionally got her in hot water. She patented the table-setting lead in “Can we talk…” and never held back once she had the microphone… or a keyboard… or a camera… or ever.

She wrote 12 books, starred in numerous comedy specials, won The Celebrity Apprentice, had a reality TV series with her daughter and took shots at everyone from First Lady Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Taylor to the latest tween sensation flitting down the runway. But mostly she took aim at herself and even if she wasn’t always your cup of tea, Rivers was undeniably a pioneer for female stand up comics and someone whose presence and rough-around the edges sense of humour is sure to be missed.

Rest in Peace, Joan.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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