What is starkly noticeable in the wake of Rivers' death is how much has changed for funny ladies since Rivers first walked onto the Tonight Show stage in 1965.
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Joan Rivers sat at life's table. She demanded the finest linens, china, and utensils. She always had fresh flowers. She was always served food that was seasoned perfectly. But when the food called for it, she ate with her hands. When she dropped her napkin, she wiped her face with the corner of the tablecloth. If she belched, she didn't apologize.
Whenever she was asked who her greatest influence was, Joan Rivers responded with characteristic quickness, "Lenny Bruce." This shouldn't come as a surprise to those who know her comedy. Bruce spent his entire career overstepping the limits of what could be said on stage.
I adored Joan Rivers. Adored her as though I knew her. She will be remembered in most of the obituaries as a pioneering woman entertainer. There was no comedienne like her before -- Lucille Ball and charming slapstick was the prototype.
I hope that Joan and my grandmother, also a stunning blond, are reconnecting on the other side and keeping God laughing. I have no doubt that Joan has just the perfect joke for St. Peter when she arrives at the pearly gates.
Much to my surprise, she was the opposite of the joking loud-mouth I knew from television. She seemed demure and polite, and she let Bernard do most of the talking and the quipping.
It's just what she does, and despite all the knockdowns she still puts herself out there in a way that leaves her vulnerable. This is so brave it stuns me.
Thank you on behalf of all comedians working today who know that you always fought the enemies of comedy. You controlled the room always, in the most professional way. You leveled the playing ground for all comedians. You'll be missed, but not forgotten. Copied but never matched. Never bested.
Joan Rivers had a barbed tongue but she also had a soft spot for animals. Despite her penchant for wearing fur, Joan always appreciated PETA's efforts.
Every time I went to dinner in the ballroom that once belonged to J.P. Morgan's daughter, Joan would call for the waiters, cooks and kitchen staff to come out. She would thank them. And the guests would applaud. I never saw another New York hostess do that.
Over two nights, our conversation covered many things -- her devotion to her family, her legendary work ethic, her delight in making people laugh -- and then it took on what turned out to be a prescient dimension.
She could make fun of herself. I loved the recent commercials she made making fun of herself and her numerous cosmetic surgeries.
In 1983, Joan was at the height of her popularity. My grandmother, Ethel, spotted her shopping at Marshall Field's at Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie, Illinois.
What happens when conservatives discover "political correctness?" Recently the Discovery Institute, a front for creationist conservatives, posted a column complaining about the phrase "vegetable" being used to describe those who have lost cognitive functions.
It's important for me to fall in love with people while I'm interviewing them and writing about them, but there's usually a half-life. After a while, you barely remember them. Robin was different. He made me more vivid to myself, and you don't get that every day.