Behind every legend there is someone who in some way helped to launch their career, to fulfill their dreams. Perhaps it was a teacher, a coach, a ghostwriter, or... a comedy writer.
The legendary Joan Rivers passed away today after a nearly 50-year career in comedy. But, what most people wouldn't know is that many comedians have a comedy writer who writes for them.
I will always be proud of my grandmother for being the comedy writer who launched Joan's career. My grandmother, Dorothy Crispo, spoke seven languages fluently and was one of the top comedy writers in New York City in the late '50s and early '60s. She was her own legend before her time. She even had a newspaper column titled "Dear Dorothy" that was a witty rendition of "Dear Abby."
Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography
For years, since my grandmother's passing -- 27 years ago -- I have held onto the index box filled with index cards and notes that my grandmother kept... not only her notes and jokes for Joan, but for others, like Mad Magazine and the New Yorker. Every so often, I pull the index box out and flip through it. It inspires me. This time, I couldn't help but to think of Melissa when I saw the one notecard that had Joan's personal details, and how after "Child -" there was a blank space. Melissa filled that coveted space just a handful of years later.
So, yes, behind every legend is someone who helped launch them. They are the quiet ones behind the scenes who never want or expect the fame. They do what they do best so their clients can shine.
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.
RIP Joan, and send my love to Dorothy -- Mima to me.