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MAKERS Profile

Joan Rivers

Comedian and TV Show Host

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MAKERS talked to Joan Rivers about her early career in New York, writing comedy in a man's world, and pushing the envelope.

Joan's Biography

Eighth times the charm Joan Rivers was brought to the Carson show seven times. Each time they turned her away, saying she was “too outrageous.”

First paying job in show business A magician’s assistant for Kuda Bux, the man with the X-Ray eyes. She was sawed in half.

Domestically challenged Joan told MAKERS, “I use my refrigerator as a fur vault.” 

// Joan Rivers passed away at the age of 81 on September 4, 2014. Prior to her passing, she spoke with MAKERS project about her career as a comedian. //

Iconic comedian and TV show host Joan Rivers started in comedy in the 1950s, when she performed stand up comedy in New York City locales like The Bitter End and The Gaslight Cafe. In 1968, her career took off after she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In the 70s she appeared on a variety of comedy shows and opened for singers on the Las Vegas Strip. She also released a best-selling comedy album, “What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?” In 1986, Fox Television Network offered her "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers," making her Carson’s competition. Rivers eventually moved into daytime TV with "The Joan Rivers Show," for which she won a Daytime Emmy in 1990. She went on to host the annual E! Entertainment Television pre-awards show for the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards with her daughter Melissa. At the end of her life, Rivers was one of four hosts on the E! show "Fashion Police," critiquing celebrity clothes. She also hosted a weekly online talk show called "In Bed with Joan." The show took place in Joan’s actual bedroom, in Malibu, California. Rivers also authored 12 books, most recently Hate Everyone...Starting with Me, and Diary of a Mad Diva.

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