Remembering Joan Rivers, the good, the bad and the ugly
“I ain’t afraid of death. I am in show business, I died a million times.”
That is Joan Rivers for you, a woman so full of life that even the idea of biding ado to this world couldn’t dim her light.
A dynamo, fashionista and a firm believer in happy endings, Joan passed away at the age of 81, after a throat complication and being taken off life support. Starting her glamorous career in 1959, she had the good fortune to experience it all. After getting her big break through The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson, there was no looking back for her; she moved onto Broadway plays and eventually established herself as a television legend being the first female to host a late night chat show.
She wooed hearts with her humour and unabashed wittiness. To me, and most of the younger generation, she will be remembered most vividly for her stupendous role as the plastic surgery obsessed host of E! Online’s ‘Fashion Police’, whose unsparing attitude and almost acidic tongue towards any fashion faux pas landed the show its tremendous ratings.
Joan, as stated by her daughter, derived her greatest pleasure from making others laugh. In her own words:
“I don’t need real drugs. I don’t need liquor. It’s the joy that I get from performing. That is my rush. I get it nowhere else.”
everyone attending #joanrivers funeral should wear something hideous so she can look down at them and judge their outfits one final time
— Lauren Davenport (@L_dav2164) September 5, 2014
— (@Dory) September 5, 2014
Nevertheless, her often shrewd tongue attracted the displeasure of many celebrities and subsequently their doting fans. Not even President Barack Obama could escape her disparaging, and sometime scathing, remarks, having been casually labelled as gay by the entertaining pioneer. Though, her biggest controversy ever was probably her rather blunt comments on the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. Sharing her views with a reporter,
“When you declare war, you declare war,” Rivers said. “They started it. We now don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead. You deserve to be dead. You started it. You started it. Don’t you dare make me feel sad about that,” and “you were told to get out, you don’t get out, then you know you’re an idiot, and at least the ones that were killed were the ones with very low IQs.”
RIP #JoanRivers. A comedy legend, but saying ppl in Gaza were dying bcoz of a low IQ not Israeli bombing was sadly her unfunny parting shot
— Fifi Haroon (@fifiharoon) September 5, 2014
Her insensitive views sparked a wave of negative sentiments all over social media. Later though, in an unapologetic manner, she conveyed that her words were completely thrown out of context by the media, and that she was praying for peace in the Middle East.
Acknowledging her offensive and often hurtful remarks, I still feel it is not fair to mock the deceased. Several tweets held her negligence towards Palestine’s misery as a fatal curse she brought upon herself. In the world of entertainment she has left a legacy behind, and several aspiring female hosts feel truly indebted to her.
Joan Rivers said that the people of Palestine deserve the brutalization and death they are experiencing. Sorry if I'm not grieving.
— Taurean (@TheBlackVoice) September 4, 2014
"You’re dead, you deserved to die, you started it" -Joan Rivers on Palestine, August 8
— Dahlia Taha (@Dfloweer) September 5, 2014
I remember Joan Rivers's statements on Palestine, very disagree. But she was a comedian. No need to hate or make fun of her. #RIPJoanRivers
— Ikram Azhar Attia (@ikramwiese) September 4, 2014
At least Palestine outlived Joan Rivers.
— Nolan (@nolanberlin) September 4, 2014
I dont think #JoanRivers death is karma but its a reminder that we can die @ any minute so make sure ur remembered 4 being decent not racist
— Noor #gaza غزة# (@nawwarah82) September 4, 2014
karma is getting back at joan rivers for saying the people of palestine get what they deserve and now look, she's dead. no shame.
— jawed hakimi (@jaweeeezy) September 4, 2014
sorry but Joan rivers is a bad person I find it hard to be saddened by her death after her rude celeb comments & death wishes to Palestine
— lay me down in my (@LinenAndPearls) September 4, 2014
I personally found her to be a rebellious, uncaring woman who was just about perfectly spontaneous. You have to be as daring as her to be that notorious; also self-deprecating and yet, leave people craving a little more.
It is hard to weigh her personality traits and twisted behaviour, but even her haters would not be able to deny her brassy, outrageous and larger-than-life outlook.
— misterjewel (@misterjewel) September 5, 2014
The world shall continue to talk about her for a long time to come.
Rest in peace, Joan.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.