Finally! After a 26-year-long ban, stemming from a feud with former “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson (seen above), Joan Rivers triumphantly returned to the program on Thursday, March 27. The brash 80-year-old did not disappoint, making cracks about The Holocaust, Jews, the Irish, Italians, Bruce Jenner, “W.A.S.P.’s,” and yes – even her own vagina (see video below). Rivers, who attributes her career start to Carson, was finally accepted back by current host, Jimmy Fallon. Fallon, who seems to develop a life-long rapport with every celebrity he comes in contact with, graciously humored his friend, Rivers, as she stole the show with terminology that would even rival loudmouthed comedian of the same era, Don Rickles.
After being given her start on The Tonight Show, by former legend Johnny Carson in 1965, Joan became a staple of the program – even standing in for Carson at times. The rumor is that Rivers was being groomed to become the next host of The Tonight Show, post-Carson. In a surprise twist that surely angered Johnny, Joan Rivers accepted a position as the host of her own show on Fox in the late 80s. Unfortunately, that show was canceled a year later and Joan found herself not only blacklisted from The Tonight Show, but even David Letterman’s Late Night (Letterman honored the ban out of respect for his personal hero, Carson).
However, Joan did not give up her piece of the spotlight. She went on to host award-winning The Joan Rivers Show in the early 90s and later, became a fixture on E! Entertainment Television. These days Joan seems to be back and better than ever. Her popularity as the ultimate judge, jury and executioner on Fashion Police has made her a fan favorite amongst both young and old as she hysterically rips into mega-superstars for their fashion faux pas on a weekly basis. Not only has she been allowed back on David Letterman’s Late Show, she has now victoriously returned to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon after being banned by Carson, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, for 26 years. (O’Brien may have lifted the ban had he been given a longer run).
Sitting next to a blushing Russell Crowe, Joan crashed The Tonight Show on Thursday, March 27 with intense vulgarity and hilarity. She brought a prop with her onstage, a blow-up ring cushion that she sat on. Rivers explained it was to comfort her, after receiving a vagina piercing alongside “girlfriend” Bruce Jenner, who had done the same. She also had something to say about German’s who “killed 6 million Jews but… can’t fix a (bleeping) carburetor.” This was referencing a Mercedes limousine that had apparently broken down on the way from the airport to the Jimmy’s show that night.
Of course, Fallon was extremely gracious during Joan’s appearance, really allowing her to go the distance. Perhaps the funniest and cringe worthy note of Rivers’ tirade was towards the end of her stay, when she referenced her aging, arid nether region. Even the audience played along with that joke (see clip below). After 26 years, Joan Rivers returned to The Tonight Show with great comedic timing and timeless humor. Possibly one of the most impressive qualities of Rivers is that her age does not show (although, with all the alleged plastic surgery, that seems to be the point). She is smart, quick-witted, and up-to-date with her commentary on society and it’s luminaries. She is certainly one of a kind.
Opinion by Josh Taub