Joan Rivers passed away this afternoon at Mount Sinai hospital in Manhattan, according to a statement released by her daughter. Rivers had been hospitalized last week due to complications with a minor outpatient throat surgery. After being placed on life support, she was moved yesterday from intensive care into a private room.
Rivers spent the last 50 years in the comedy world. She was a constant presence on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show, where she served as his go-to guest host before eventually being unofficially banned from the show (because, as she saw it, she dared to dream bigger than being Carson’s Number Two). In the 90s, she practically invented snarky red carpet commentary as we know it. She and her daughter Melissa became fashion-critique staples with their E! show Fashion Police. Love her or love-to-hate her, Joan Rivers was one of the most successful, prolific comedians to ever exist, working all the way to the end. She gave her last stand-up show just last week.
Here she is beautifully explaining to Louis CK why comedy might be a terrible profession, but was always worth it. As she put it “What we do is not a job. It’s a calling… We make people happy.”