Joan Rivers: Comedian, Diva, Feminist and Scholar

776px-Joan_Rivers_4_Musto_Party_2010_ShankboneWith the passing of Joan Rivers, there is plenty being written about her online and said about her on talk shows. The death of any celebrity means days worth of constant coverage, tributes, and scrutiny.

The world had something of a love/hate relationship with Rivers — or shall we call her by her real name, Joan Alexandra Rosenberg. She could be caustic while being funny.  She could be a diva, but could tone it down when she had to.  She was a trailblazing feminist, even though she might not have called herself that, by taking on the comedy establishment in the 1960s and daring to make jokes about things that polite ladies just didn’t talk about in the pre-women’s lib days.

Rivers was also a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Barnard College, who could have used her energy to land a “normal” job. But instead she chose an even harder path — the one of proving that there was room in the then man’s world of comedy for a woman who dared to channel her inner Lenny Bruce.

There are many tributes this week to Rivers, who died at the age of 81, but we like this one from earlier this year where she went head to head with her diva rival, Miss Piggy. She wasn’t afraid to make fun of herself and was an octogenarian who still reveled in making comedy:

Image via Wikimedia Commons/David Shankbone/CC License

Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
Get Over Yourselves. We’re All Rory Gilmore
Hillary Clinton, Shake It Off, Taylor Swift, Hillary Clinton Campaign song
Six Reasons “Shake It Off” Should Be Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Theme Song
Nancy Reagan dies, Just Say No, Ronald Reagan
A Not-So-Positive Ode to Nancy Reagan’s Frothy “Just Say No” Campaign
I Married for Health Insurance
Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
A Case of Nixonian Deja Vu
Post-Election Munchies: What is Your Grief Snack of Choice?
Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
A Case of Nixonian Deja Vu
Trump Reality Check, Now with Actual Facts!
Fascism Facts
I Married for Health Insurance
Get Over Yourselves. We’re All Rory Gilmore
Post-Election Munchies: What is Your Grief Snack of Choice?
Women’s Elections Rights in Saudi Arabia: A Token Drop in an Abysmal Bucket & the Plight of Women Under Sharia Law
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
Paris attacks, Paris terrorism
Is Paris Burning?
Chinese government and women's reproductive rights, adopting Chinese girls, international adoption
Dear Xi Jinping, I Am Writing to You as an American Mom of a 19-Year-Old Chinese Daughter
The Vital Voice of Hillary Clinton: Part 1
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
The Eyes Have It!
Ashley Madison, Jared Fogle, sex, rape, sexual affairs
Ashley Madison vs. Jared Fogle: Rape, Sex and Hacking in America
women's viagra, Viagra, Flibanserin, sexual arousal, women's desire, sex after menopause
That “Little Pink Pill” Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread