Speed Reads

Can We Talk?

These two videos, 45 years apart, perfectly capture Joan Rivers' enduring, trailblazing career

Few comediennes could make you cringe-laugh like Joan Rivers. There was no line Rivers wouldn't cross. No one — not the president, celebrities, her family, or herself — was safe from her gut-punching wit. She was a trailblazer in the industry and one of the hardest working women in showbiz.

One of her best qualities was her self deprecation. In her early career this manifested itself into jokes about living and dating in a man's world. In a 1967 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Rivers talks about being the last young, single woman in her small town.

"When I was 21 my mother said, 'only a doctor for you.' When I was 22 she said, 'all right, a lawyer or a CPA.' Twenty-four, she said, 'we'll grab a dentist.' Twenty-six she said, 'anything.' If he could make it to the door he was mine. 'What you mean you don't like him? He's intelligent, he found the bell himself, what do you want?'"

In a 2012 guest spot on Louis C.K.'s show, Louie, she tells the younger comic the business is a hard one, but you do it anyway.

"Listen, I wish I could tell you it gets better, but it doesn't get better, you get better. You think it's been easy? I've gone up, I've gone down, I've been bankrupt, I've been broke. But you do it and you do it because you love it more than anything else."

Watch the two videos for yourself and catch just a glimpse of Rivers' career, humor, and unrivaled one-liners. --Lauren Hansen

The Ed Sullivan Show (1967):

Louie (2012):