RIP Joan Rivers: Truly, a 'Piece of Work'

Tributes salute her remarkable, no-holds-barred career

By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 4, 2014 3:54 PM CDT

(Newser) – How to sum up a life like the one lived by Joan Rivers? Here are some of the early attempts:

  • New York Times: "... the raspy loudmouth who pounced on America’s obsessions with flab, face-lifts, body hair and other blemishes of neurotic life, including her own, in five decades of caustic comedy that propelled her from nightclubs to television to international stardom ..."
  • AP: "... the raucous, acid-tongued comedian who crashed the male-dominated realm of late-night talk shows and turned Hollywood red carpets into danger zones for badly dressed celebrities ..."

  • Reuters: " ... who became a comedic star with an act that was a mélange of insult, insecurity, over-the-top cattiness and a nothing-is-sacred philosophy ..."
  • USA Today: "... the pioneering queen of comedy, who overcame tragedy and disappointment to transform herself in late life into a comic scourge of the red carpet ..."
  • Washington Post: "While Ms. Rivers was not the first female comic to become a household name—that distinction goes to women such as Phyllis Diller—she was among the first mainstream funny women to go dirty."
  • Time: "Rivers didn’t need everybody to like her. Scratch that: Rivers needed not everyone to like her. She wasn’t about being fair or being a pleaser, and if she had an internal censor, it was a rubber stamp that said, “GO FOR IT!” She was a hoot and—as her documentary called her—a piece of work, but she was about being authentic."

Joan Rivers in 2005.
Joan Rivers in 2005.   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)
Joan Rivers greets the audience at the 'Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers' in 2009.
Joan Rivers greets the audience at the 'Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers' in 2009.   (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg, File)
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