Joan Rivers was a comedic visionary, always a bit ahead of her time or waiting for times to catch up. But a 1967 standup performance on the struggles of being a single woman reminds us how utterly timeless her brand of humor could be.
Rivers, the first woman to have her own late-night show, passed away at the age of 81 on Thurs, Sept. 4, after nearly six decades of delivering take-no-prisoners jokes. The comedian didn't shy away from controversy, no matter who she offended, but she certainly knew how to find the incisive humor in being a woman.
One of our favorite clips is a 1967 standup routine she performed on "The Ed Sullivan Show." In it, a 34-year-old Rivers hilariously broke down the gendered double standards of dating in the '60s, much of which still rings true today.
"A girl, you're 30 years old, you're not married -- you're an old maid," Rivers yells from the stage. "A man, he's 90 years old, he's not married -- he's a catch. It's a whole different thing!"
Rivers consistently pushed the boundaries and found a punch line, even when one seemed nonexistent. "Rivers’ real distinction is being one of the earliest female comedians to be relentlessly filthy, and also to talk in an unfiltered way about being a woman," Hanna Rosin wrote for Slate.
Rivers' personality has always been enormous and colorful. No matter how you felt about her particular brand of humor, she was a trailblazer as a woman and as a comedian. Thanks for the laughs, Joan.
Watch a clip of Joan Rivers discussing her life and career with MAKERS from this past August below.