The First Lady of Comedy

From left, Kathy Griffin, Joan Rivers and Margaret Cho
From left – Kathy Griffin, Joan Rivers and Margaret Cho

The late Joan Rivers is the first lady of comedy. She is a trail blazer for all female comedians. She became the first woman in America to host her own late-night TV show.

Rivers made her debut on ‘Late night show’ with Johnny Carson. Her stint on TV made her one of the biggest names in comedy. She was a guest host on the same show and did stand-up in different parts of the world.

Years later, Rivers did what no other American comedienne could do in her time. She hosted her own TV show, which was unimaginable for any female.

She was banned from the Late Night Show while it was hosted by Johnny Carson, as rumours speculated that he was envious and he wanted her to take over his show after he retired. After her show went downhill, Rivers struggled for employment since nobody offered the female comedienne a job.

She only appeared on ‘The Late Night Show’ after 23 years, when  Jimmy Fallon began hosting the show.

Soon, she appeared on red carpets, talking about fashion. Bringing the red carpet on the map, her question, “Who are you wearing?”, became a question which are fashion journalists use even today. She became the host of Fashion Policein 2010, which still airs on E! network in America has been adapted in 18 different countries around the world.

Her one-liners had the world in splits, as nobody could predict what she would say next.

In an interview, with American journalist Barbara Waters, she explained about her main struggle as a female comedienne.”I wasn’t allowed to say many things. The producers would say, ‘You are a woman, you can’t say that’. Nobody said that to male comedians.” Joan recollects.

Never apologising for her jokes, Rivers has always been surrounded  by controversy. Her jokes consisted of fashion faux paus, women’s health, ageing and imperatively, herself. Rivers has been a philanthropist, author and paved the way for other female comediennes like Kathy Griffin, Margaret Cho and Chelsea Handler.

Today, if American women work in comedy, they have Joan Rivers to thank.


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