Rivers began the show on her hands and knees, with a lint roller as she cleaned the set, a reference to the controversies the show has weathered in recent months.
“Hi, yeah, it’s been a little bit of a crazy year around here, and, well, I’m still cleaning up messes. But the good news is, Fashion Police is back,” Rivers said in the cold open.
Rivers and the Fashion Police team tackled Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards in their first show back since March.
“You guys are missing the fact that it’s a tribute to my mother, because those are many of her favorite words. She used those all the time,” said Rivers of the outfits, which included words such “bitch,” “gold digger” and “stripper.”
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She also praised Taylor Swift‘s fashion choices for the awards show.
“She never ceases to surprise me and amaze me,” Rivers said of Swift. Joked that her designer Ashish’s name means “F— you, Harry Styles” in English.
Later, Rivers said of host Miley Cyrus‘ night-starting Versace outfit: “When Miley walked on the red carpet, I gotta tell you, it made me so happy. It was like a burst of energy. And it felt like it was like a gift from my mom for today that we had something so good to talk about.”
She choked up a little, but she pulled it together to call the dress “fabulous insanity.”
The Fashion Police team also introduced a new segment called “What Would Joan Say?” The goal: to predict what the late star would said about a person’s red carpet look.
Melissa introduced it by saying, “Because there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think, ‘What would my mom say?’ ”
This week’s target was Justin Bieber, with Katy Perry coming next week. Fans can tweet using #WWJS with their takes, for a chance to have their tweets read online.
The show has seen its share of controversy since Joan Rivers’ death. Kathy Griffin took Joan’s seat, but exited the show in March following Rancic’s controversial on-air comments about singer/actress Zendaya’s dreadlocks. Panelist Kelly Osbourne left in February over the same issue.