Joan Rivers is a comedic genius who, with her stiff upper lip after many setbacks in her career, rose above the hard times and created an industry within itself. Ms. Rivers made her national television debut on the much loved Johnny Carson show in 1965. This literally launched her career and before long, after several subsequent appearances elsewhere as well as the Johnny Carson show and the Ed Sullivan Show, Joan Rivers eventually became a household name.
Young Ms. Rivers
Rivers was born in 1933 in Brooklyn New York to Russian parents and some say her father, a doctor, was her inspiration for her comedy know-how and quick wit. She realized at an early age performing was her passion and because of her gutsy determination, made her way to become an entertainer. She did however, decide to pursue a boring short-lived career in a retail business as a buyer where she met and fell in love with the owner’s son. Rivers’ spunky and humorous associations with words obviously made her realize soon after their marriage, much more awaited her under the bright lights of the stage. The marriage ended quickly, allowing Rivers to ramp up her determination to succeed as a stand-up comedian which for the next several years, allowed her to gain the experience she so desperately needed.
Rivers and the Tonight Show
Perhaps the single most defining moment in Joan Rivers’ career was her first appearance on the Johnny Carson Show. With her fresh, sometimes gritty delivery of amazingly funny comedy, she was an instant sensation. With the help of Carson, Rivers’ career launched into overdrive with appearances on the Ed Sullivan show, and eventually starring in her own show, “That Show with Joan Rivers”, while still making regular appearances on both the Johnny Carson Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. Rivers’ popularity had risen to the point where Johnny Carson made her a permanent guest host. However, her rise in popularity had an unfortunate downfall with Carson when FOX Broadcasting offered to place her in her own late night show, “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers” which upset Carson to the point he stopped all communication with her. This was presumably due to Rivers not consulting with him first, but the real reason was because according to Rivers, a misunderstanding with NBC and not Carson. Nevertheless, Caron’s association with Rivers ended as did her show after only one season.
Rivers makes another comeback
River’s career suffered a downturn after the falling out with Carson and the loss of her husband, but her same old gutsy determination allowed her to reinvent herself as a daytime talk show host, which earned her an Emmy Award and that coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990. Then in 1994, she earned a Tony Award nomination for best actress in the movie, “Sally Marr and Her Escorts.” Oh and lest we forget, Rivers found another suitable home for her funny wisecracks during a ten year run as host of E! “Live from the Red Carpet” that ended in 2004.
Throughout her amazing career, Rivers made millions of people laugh, and laugh hard. As much as she made wisecracks at others, she was equally hard on herself. Perhaps only to “level the playing field” so to speak, she always makes sure we understand she is just like everyone else, but only Joan Rivers could make us laugh out loud at ourselves, thanks to her comedy prowess and showmanship.