Friday, September 5, 2014

Joan Rivers: Ultimate Trailblazer

Joan Rivers passed away at the age of 81 due to complications of an outpatient throat surgery. She was on life support, and daughter Melissa Rivers had to make the tough decision to take her off. It was a preventable death, as the spry & sharp comedian had plenty of years left in her, yet something went wrong while under anesthesia and questions will now persist on just how safe it is to go into surgery as an outpatient rather than in a hospital.

Rivers steamrolled through the comedy world at a time when it was tough for women to make it. She opened doors left and right, and we now live in a society where women are all over the comedy landscape. She also didn't care what other people thought or who she offended, which has always been a breath of fresh air. Her reasoning was that you should try and laugh about anything and everything, because it takes some of the power away and can make a tragedy a little easier to deal with. I can laugh at anything, so Rivers was perfect for my style.

She had also managed to pick up new fans through her many decades in the business. It can be difficult for people, especially comedians, to pick up and relate to younger audiences. Joan showed how it was done though, with new fans from various generations getting a laugh from her.

I know it shouldn't be shocking if someone over the age of 80 dies, but its different with someone like Joan Rivers. She was still a fixture on TV, having two shows plus an online talk show. She had written two books in the past two years, was constantly performing stand up comedy at venues big and small, from big cities to the smaller ignored towns. She was always wonderful to her fans, taking time to answer their questions and take pictures. She was also a regular on the Howard Stern Show, giving some of the best interviews, never fearing any topic. She could have easily lived another ten years or more much like the great Betty White, which makes it all the sadder.

However, she would want us to laugh, so every Christmas i'll remember the joke she made saying that she was starting a charity for Paris Hilton called "Toys for Twats" and instantly put a smile on my face.

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