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COMEDY, ENTERTAINMENT

Joan Rivers responds to Jerry Lewis’ death threat: ‘I don’t want my knees broken over Jerry Lewis!’

July 3, 2014

Wickedly funny (and somewhat infamous) comedienne Joan Rivers stopped by SiriusXM Raw Dog Comedy to promote her new book, Diary of a Mad Diva, and to talk with Ron Bennington about Kristen Stewart threatening to sue her, her writing process, her return to The Tonight Show, and what she thinks of Jerry Lewis, who, as you might recall, has threatened to have her killed.

But before we get into Jerry and Joan’s beef, let’s talk about Diary of a Mad Diva, which has garnered some hate from select celebrities, including Twilight and Snow White and the Huntsman actress Kristen Stewart. Apparently, Stewart threatened to sue Rivers over a Diary of a Mad Diva excerpt which implies that Stewart owes her career to “being able to juggle a director’s balls.” (You might also recall that Stewart is still recovering from a much-publicized affair with her married Snow White director, Rupert Sanders.)

“When Kristen Stewart and I go into court and I ask her where she claims she did not touch the balls of her [Snow White and the Huntsman] director, I want an anatomically correct puppet. And then I’m going to get the director up there to do it.”

As many jokes as she makes at people’s expense, Rivers maintains that her jokes are meant to be funny, and are not to be taken seriously: “The jokes are about people that make 500 million dollars over their lifetime — they’re making 20 million dollars a movie — they’re in the public eye, and they’re silly, funny jokes. Comics are put on earth to make you laugh…Who is Kristen Stewart? She does a lot of sucking!”

Rivers then shot back at comedian and Nutty Professor star Jerry Lewis and the harsh comments he made about her at his recent SiriusXM Town Hall. Rivers described how she got mad at him at his telethon years ago because he was “standing there with a child next to him, saying ‘this child’s gonna die!’” To which Jerry literally threatened to have people come and beat Joan up.

“Done. never talking about him again! I don’t want to have my knees broken over Jerry Lewis,” responded Joan. “Do you understand you can be arrested for that?? That is a real threat. We hired guards, my husband and I and we didn’t take him to court…My last words are not gonna be ‘But I was only kidding.’ You’re not happy, you want me to shut up? I’ll shut up. Fine!”

After discussing her reported showbiz drama, Joan talked about her return to The Tonight Show after being banned for 26 years by former host Johnny Carson: “Johnny banned me.. He was very angry I left and I really never say this, but I think it was because I was a woman…I left and a wall came down, and I think because he really liked me the best.” Later, after Leno came on, they still wouldn’t use Joan on the show. “My agent would call every maybe two years and say, ‘People commit murder and they’re out in 20 years, what is it?’”

But when Jimmy Fallon took over this past year, he invited Joan back to appear on his show opening night. “I thought how darling, and sweet, and sensitive. I was so emotional,” said Joan about the gesture.

Joan also talked about her joke writing process and how she’s always writing new material. She even went into her purse and read never-before-heard jokes that she had just written down: “You write them down on whatever you’ve got…You’re talking to a friend and I’m always saying wait let me write that down!!”

Finally, Joan described the comedy scene in ’60s NYC, how she felt inspired by Lenny Bruce, and what it was like coming up at the same time as fellow comedians George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, and Woody Allen.

“It was just madness what was going on at that time… And across the street was Lenny Bruce and they would let us all into see him. It was a magical time for all of us because you knew how brilliant comedy could be. There was a god there to say, ‘That’s what I want to be!’”

Be sure to tune into SiriusXM’s Raw Dog Comedy, Ch. 99 for more comedy hits!