If laughter is the best medicine, the world lost yet another huge dose yesterday. The hoped for successful transition from the medically induced coma did not materialize and one of comedy’s most respected figures breathed her last. She was 81 but just a few weeks ago no one would have thought we would have just a few moments more with her. What was meant to be an innocuous throat operation turned fatal as she suffered a cardiac arrest during the procedure. This tragedy makes her the second great comedic talent we’ve lost in the past month, counting the shocking death of Robin Williams on August 11th.
Tickled you or got you mad
Now every comic has their unique selling point; Kevin Hart has his self-deprecating jokes about his height, Robin Williams had a thousand accents and noises in him screaming to be let out. For Rivers it was her brutal honesty. She called it as she saw it so you either laughed or got mad. There was no room for smoothing ruffled feathers. Her fellow Jews were not amused when she issued a tongue-in-cheek remark about the Holocaust while commenting on Heidi Klum on her Fashion Police show. Neither was the Anti-Defamation League which branded her aside “vulgar and hideous”. But apologize Rivers would not. Many other cutting, controversial observations did she issue from the comfort of her studio chair which rubbed one or two celebs the wrong way.
Rivers the inspiration
But in the same measure she offended, Rivers inspired. That she helped pave the way for women in comedy is beyond dispute. That she challenged a few more comics to step over lines they would have otherwise been afraid to cross is also a fact. So join us in paying homage to a fearless trailblazer who helped break barriers and shape comedy as we know it today.
Miami Based, Internationally Known