Over the weekend, Joan Rivers stormed off a set during an interview with Fredricka Whitfield on CNN after the anchor repeatedly asked Rivers to explain why her jokes were so mean-spirited. And as loathe as I am to agree with Fox News, and their op-ed on the subject, I have admit I have more sympathy with them — and Joan Rivers — than with CNN. Yes, Joan Rivers makes sometimes sh*tty jokes, and yes, they are sometimes mean-spirited. But she’s a fucking comedian. She doesn’t need to explain herself, and we don’t have to find her jokes funny. If she wants to make fun of Lena Dunham’s weight, or suggest that President Obama is gay, or slut-shame Kristen Stewart, it’s as much her right to do so as it is our right not to listen.
Anyway, the whole incident caused a minor furor because it was the 4th of July weekend and nothing else was going on, and we in the media need our furors, goddamnit. But then Letterman turned the tables in an interview Rivers set to air later tonight. Joan Rivers made a bowel-movement joke, and Letterman — like many of us — simply exercised his option not to listen to her anymore. In this case, that meant walking off the set of his own show and leaving Rivers to interview herself about her dry vagina.