Joan Rivers has a few more things to say.
Shortly before the legendary comedian died in 2014, she joined co-creator of Will and Grace Max Mutchnick and writer/actor/producer Dan Bucatinsky for an interview intended for a new podcast venture of theirs. However, it’s never been heard by the public — before now.
In the mid-1950s, at age 23, Rivers ran away from home to become an actress. By 1958, she had decided to pursue comedy. But she auditioned for The Tonight Show seven times – as a favor to her manager’s other client, Bill Cosby – before she was put on Carson’s show in 1965 as a gag writer. Although Carson acted as her mentor for years, they had a falling out after Rivers signed a contract with another network and word got to the late show host before she could yell him personally.
In the newly released audio, Rivers claimed she was “iced out by everybody” in late night because of the Carson feud.
“What Johnny should have done — and it’s so theatrical — after the whole thing, after I left the show and after I was fired from Fox and after [my husband] Edgar committed suicide, Johnny should have had me back on the show and said to me, ‘Where ya been?’ It would have made all the newspapers, and we should have picked right up,” she said. “That’s what the Jews call, he would have been a mensch, and it would have continued.”
Rivers touched on her struggles after her husband Edgar Rosenberg died in 1987, saying that being in the play Broadway Bound in New York kept her going.
“My husband had just committed suicide, and I couldn’t get work. Vegas had ripped up my contract. And my daughter [Melissa] wasn’t talking to me. So not the happiest of moments,” she said. “You go to Broadway to be a New York girl, and go every night to a Broadway play and be on stage, my God! Saved my life.”
Although the comedian and daughter Melissa forged an incredibly close bond, Melissa’s teenage years proved to be difficult for the family. However, Rivers wouldn’t give up.
“I went right into therapy with her,” the actress explained. “We could all talk to each other. I wasn’t gonna let her go. I was gonna let her sit there and beat me up in front of the therapist, but she’s gonna be there. You must keep the lines of communication open.”
Rivers also openly encouraged plastic surgery for both men and women, saying everyone should “absolutely” go under the knife “if it makes you feel better.”
“Let me first of all say to them, which I always say, better a new face coming out of an old car than an old face coming out of a new car,” she joked. “Never mind the shoes, get the nose.”
She added, “Look at yourself and be honest. Melissa had a teacher who was so pretty except for her nose, and she never fixed it. I think her life would have been very different. Men, everybody — babies go to pretty faces.”
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Rivers also revealed why she never left the house without a full face of makeup.
“We’re all in the business, guys,” she said. “People get to see a celebrity once in their life usually, you know? I don’t want them to say, ‘I saw Joan Rivers — she looked terrible!’ The first thing they see is ‘How did she look? What was she wearing?'”
She added that she always agreed to take photos with fans.
“Barbra Streisand — not a friend, I don’t think she remembers who I am, we’re acquaintances — she spends 10 minutes with each person saying, ‘No, leave me alone,'” Rivers explained. “By the time you’ve said that, you’d have taken the damn picture. Take the picture, everybody’s happy.”
Joan was 81 at the time of her death. The comedian had stopped breathing while undergoing a surgical procedure on her vocal cords and was rushed from the clinic to Mount Sinai Hospital. There, she was placed in a medically induced coma and died a week later on Sept. 4, 2014.
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