Speed Reads

Odd Couples

Watch Joan Rivers interview Mr. Rogers in 1983

Comedian Joan Rivers was known for her fearless, acerbic wit, but she could rein it in when the occasion demanded — like in July 1983, when she was guest-hosting The Tonight Show and the guest was Fred Rogers. "For me, it's like talking to a teacher," she told Mr. Rogers. "I can't say, you know, 'Have you ever fooled around?'" Rogers was promoting a book, and he disarmed Rivers as much as she needled him. The interview is interesting as a showcase of Rivers' softer side, but you also learn a lot about Mr. Rogers. Like, his mother knitted every one of his famous sweaters, giving them out every Christmas. (Rivers: "That's wonderful, in a way — and in a way it's very boring, because you knew what you were getting.") Tip-toeing up to the line, but never quite crossing it. --Peter Weber