Remembering Joan Rivers, the good, the bad and the ugly

Published: September 5, 2014

Starting her glamorous career in 1959, she had the good fortune to experience it all. PHOTO: JOAN RIVERS OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

“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.

Photo: Joan Rivers Official Facebook Page

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.

Photo: Joan Rivers Official Facebook Page

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

Photo: Afp

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.

The world shall continue to talk about her for a long time to come.

Rest in peace, Joan.

Farwa Aamer

Farwa Aamer

A final year undergraduate at University College London studying BSc economics. A passionate writer, traveller and loves living life. She tweets @faamer (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Supriya Arcot

    Here comes the next door , friendly neighbourhood knit picker . You wrote : ” Wasn’t Joan Rivers the one who said all Palestine’s should be dead? ” .
    It should be “Palestinians” – The residents of Palestine.Recommend

  • Saadia

    Great article! Had no idea Joan Rivers made those offensive remarks. But really appreciate the tone and human touch in your article despite all she said. Well written and informative!Recommend

  • Khan

    what goes comes roundRecommend

  • Bikku

    “You deserve to be dead.”

    This is a repulsive statement to make about anyone or any people. If the same was said about any non-Muslim I can assure you Rivers would have died disgraced and shunned by her industry and not merely been in a controversy. I cannot say I care either for her life or death.Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    I never really found her funny but R.I.P.Recommend

  • Shujat Khalid

    How pathetic; what is the purpose of writing a positive article about a woman that wished death upon Palestinians. Pakistanis by and large are not even aware of who this woman is so there was really no need to write about her. She had no impact on anything to do with Pakistan and nor did she leave a legacy which requires our attention. It would have been more appropriate to point out that people with such blindly pro Zionist point of view are dominant in American media and that is why we have so many problems in the Muslim world.Recommend