In the world of brassy, chutzpadik funny ladies, nobody has done it better and longer than Joan Rivers. The lady is a legend, a trailblazer, who made way for the candid, feminist humor of women like Sarah Silverman and Amy Schumer and a whole generation of female comics who have the courage to get up on the stage and tell it like it is. As a woman, that is.
As we mourn Joan Rivers, we thought that it couldn’t hurt to revisit some classic moments in the comedian’s life. Because what better way is there to express our Joan love than to laugh at her jokes.
1) Joan on single girls and sexual double-standards. In 1967.
“The whole society is not for single girls. A man, he’s single, he’s so lucky. A boy on a date, all he has to be is clean and able to pick up a check and he is a winner.”
2) Joan tells a Holocaust joke.
“The last time a German looked this hot is when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.”
3) And then refuses to apologize.
“By my doing a joke it gets them talking, thinking.”
4) Joan on aging as a woman.
“Women as you get older, people get very angry with you.”
5) Joan and Sarah Silverman Talk About Funny Women and the Time Joan Got Kicked off a Live Television Show.
“I found, when I was still fertile, that men did not like a funny women in bed,” says Joan. “If I was a detective I would be like: crumpled up tissue…we know the person is Jewish,” says Sarah on Joan’s jacket.
6) Joan on giving birth.
“In my day having a child was better. They knocked you out with the first pain and woke you up when the hairdresser showed.” (1:55 - 2:55)
Elissa Strauss has written for the Forward over a number of years. She is a regular contributor to CNN, whose work has been published in a number of publications including The New York Times, Glamour, ELLE, and Longreads.
Joan Rivers' Most Jewish Comedy Moments