Joan Rivers: Can We Talk About The Funny Woman Who Scared The Men?

By Jacob Shelton
Joan Rivers on 'The Hollywood Palace.' Airdate: February 5, 1966. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

The successful comedian, talk show host, and saleswoman Joan Rivers was revered by her comedy peers for her cutting sense of humor and for trailblazing attitude when it came to making a place for women on stage. With a five decades-long career, Rivers seamlessly blended her own caustic style with observations about marriage, motherhood, and celebrity. She took her act from Greenwich Village to the stages of Las Vegas while refusing to take guff from anyone and proving herself to be an inspiration for countless comedians.

Comedy is no job for a shrinking violet -- particularly for a woman in what was then a man's field. Rivers was funny, and witty, and extremely smart -- but she was also tough. She owned the stage, and you didn't want to be a heckler in her sights. Nor, as a comedian, would you want to even try to go on after her high-energy, rapid-fire act. As Chris Rock would later observe, "No man ever said, 'Yeah, I want to go on after Joan.'"