What is the key to success? Many would say it’s in keeping controversial opinions to yourself and saying the right thing at the right time—but, if anyone defied this definition of success, it was the late Joan Rivers.
In fact, Rivers’ key to success was the exact opposite: “say what everyone else is thinking.” Anybody that knew her or followed her career knew that Rivers certainly never held anything back, and we all loved her for it.
Rivers got her start as a guest star, and eventually, guest host, on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” After her success on that widely popular show, Rivers got her own show, “That Show with Joan Rivers.” She was in many other shows, movies, and even did some theater work. She has done countless comedy routines and written multiple books. Our generation, however, got the chance to fall in love with Rivers through her work on “Live from the Red Carpet,” and, most importantly, her long running show on the E! network, “Fashion Police.”
Those who have watched Rivers’ work know her style of comedy: raunchy, unfiltered, and undoubtedly hilarious. No celebrity was safe from her wrath on “Fashion Police.” Every bit of the show reflected Rivers’ sense of humor. Segments included, “Guess Me From Behind,” in which Rivers and the gang attempted to guess celebrities from the backside; “Bitch Stole My Look,” a revamped Rivers take on who wore it better; and “Rack Report,” which is, well, self-explanatory.
Rivers received a lot of flak for being too harsh on celebrities. After all, at the end of each episode, she crowned a “Fashhole of the Week.” What makes her incessant, belligerent banter okay is that it is universal. She will make fun of anyone for anything, herself included. As seen through her 2012 book, “I Hate Everyone…Starting with Me,” Rivers was her own greatest target. She made fun of her career, her sex life, and most notably, her numerous plastic surgeries. She once said that “I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die, they will donate my body to Tupperware.” Many may think that including a joke about her death in a tribute is distasteful, but, in the spirit of Rivers, I will say whatever I want. (Rivers would probably be disappointed in me for not saying whatever the f*#$ I want.)
Many who don’t watch her shows or know her life may think that Rivers was just an old Hollywood starlet who spent her time criticizing celebrities, but, for those who paid attention, she was so much more. Rivers died at the age of 81, and she didn’t look or act anywhere near that age. She wasn’t shy about the role plastic surgery played in keeping up with her youthful appearance, but – looks aside – she was as sharp as any 20-year-old on a college campus. She worked hard to earn a career by which she will forever be known.
Any person at any age or place in life can learn a lesson from Rivers. She lived her life with an undying sense of humor, she knew the importance of not taking yourself too seriously, and, most importantly, she knew the real secret to living.
“I enjoy life when things are happening. I don’t care if its good things or bad things,” she said. “That means you’re alive. Things are happening.”
If you have never been touched by her humor, use the internet for something good for once; it could change your day, and maybe your outlook on life. As a lesson on being grateful to be alive and a true American treasure, Rivers will be remembered and greatly missed. Joan Rivers until the very end (salute to you, Joan).