Joan Rivers' Most Iconic TV Performances


The world lost legendary comedienne Joan Rivers today.

From early on in her career, Joan Rivers was an immeasurably important figure for women in comedy, and to honor her we are remembering some of her most iconic TV appearances.

News: Joan Rivers Dies at 81

1. Joan Rivers' Performance on The Ed Sullivan Show (1967)

It cannot be said enough how important Joan Rivers' was for giving female comedians a voice in an industry overwhelmingly dominated by men. In this set on The Ed Sullivan Show, Joan makes us laugh while brilliantly calling out the struggles women face in everyday life.

2. Joan Rivers on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1986)

While their relationship ultimately soured, Johnny Carson was Joan's  mentor, and she would even fill in for him on The Tonight Show while he was on vacation. In this guest spot, Joan is hilarious, kind and warm as she and Carson reflect on her comedy career, which would continue on for many years.

Photos: Joan Rivers: A Life in Pictures

3. Joan Rivers Live at the Apollo (2007)

Joan truly never stopped performing, and her bold, energetic brand of comedy delighted this audience at the Apollo Theater, more than 45 years after her comedy career began.

4. An Audience With Joan Rivers (1983)

In this performance, the funny lady takes her act overseas and absolutely smashes her English audience with wit and charm. The best moments are when she actually takes audience questions and wins them over with her responses. One man asks what embarrasses her and Joan replies "Everything! Standing up here in front of you." It's funny, but also a moment of vulnerability that helped Joan connect with so many people.

5. The Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers (2009) (Warning: NSFW language)

WARNING: This video has some very NSFW language, but this performance at the Comedy Central Roast in Joan's honor showcased the essence of Joan as a comedy legend and it didn't feel right to censor that.

RIP Joan Rivers. Thank you for making us laugh.

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