Female comics react to the death of Joan Rivers on Raw Dog Comedy Hits

She was just as funny, edgy, smart and quick as anyone. But besides being just a great comic in general, Joan Rivers, was a trail blazer for women in the industry. Reacting to her unexpected passing, female comedians Amy Schumer, Lisa Lampanelli, Iliza Shlesinger and more talk about what made her so great and why she made their own dreams possible.

“She was such a comic and such a worker, she wasn’t about the praise. She just wanted to talk comedy up to the very end. You could never try to deal with her like a woman who was 80,” Amy Schumer said.

“When I watched [her documentary] A Piece of Work I remember tearing up about this because I felt like I wasn’t so alone in my endless pursuit of never wanting to stop working and the fact that she felt the way I felt in a totally different generation and a totally different time just speaks to this bond that transcends time and space for comedians. That need to perform,” Iliza Shlesinger said.

“People are on her, the jokes are about her age… people are poking fun and almost roasting her in her death and I think that’s a tribute to the kind of performer she was. And she would want that,” Schlesinger said.
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“Nobody could follow in her footsteps because she really was a pioneer. She never went on a talk show, she never did an appearance where she wasn’t joking. She was always funny. She could be serious for a minute and then she would always have a joke. She never rested on ‘oh, I’m Joan Rivers now I’m famous, I don’t have to …’ She just always brought it,” said Bonnie McFarlane.

“When somebody like Joan dies, she’s not replaceable. These people are not replaceable and there’s less laughter in the world. It’s a horrible thing,” said Susie Essman. “I just got to Vegas, and I’m just thinking, ‘without Joan I’m never here. I’m not headlining in Vegas… with my mouth.’ Joan was really the first to talk about what she was talking about. Before Joan every female comedian was either sketch or stand-up in the vein of Phyllis, who was also very funny, but not as aggressive as Joan. Joan was the first female to be that aggressive and get away with it.”

“Joan to me wasn’t just a woman comic, she was just a comic,” Lisa Lampanelli said. “She was so groundbreaking and edgy, even by guy standards. She is that standard women comics should aspire to. Just be funny overall and shock anyone you can. Not just the chicks in the audience.”

“I really thought she was gonna pull through, she was a tough broad. And I think she would love that everyone thought she was gonna make it. Maybe, too, we don’t see her as frail. I just saw her recently onstage and she can dish with some of the best of them. There are comics who are 24 who wish they were as spry and witty as Joan Rivers,” Tamy Pescatelli said.

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