"One of the Greatest": Late-Night Comics Pay Tribute to Joan Rivers - NBC Bay Area
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"One of the Greatest": Late-Night Comics Pay Tribute to Joan Rivers

Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Dave Letterman, Seth Meyers and Conan O'Brien shared memories of the late comedian.



    Late-night hosts remembered Joan Rivers, who died Thursday at age 81, as a tireless performer and comedy pioneer.

    Here is how they paid tribute to the fellow comedian:

    "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"

    On “The Tonight Show,” an emotional Jimmy Fallon praised Rivers for her humor and her ability to laugh at herself.

    "She's one of the funniest people in the world ever,” Fallon said. “And she could take a joke just as easily as she could dish it out.”

    Fallon began crying as he talked about her appearance on the very first episode of Fallon’s tenure on “Tonight." It was her first appearance on the program since being banned in 1987 by Johnny Carson after jumping to Fox to host her own short-lived show.

    “She came out and started crying and gave me a kiss,” Fallon said, before choking up.

    “Joan Rivers, one of the greatest,” Fallon said.

    "Late Night With Seth Meyers"

    On “Late Night,” Seth Meyers emphasized Rivers’ ability to unleash many jokes in a short amount of time.

    “She was a guest on this show a month ago,” Meyers said, “and I haven’t been doing this job very long, but I have not sat next to anyone who told more jokes faster than Joan Rivers did here.”

    He ended with his own joke about her wry sense of humor.

    “I wish she was here right now because if she was here right now, she would make a joke about how she just passed away,” Meyers said. “And she’d get away with it because it would be really funny.”

    “Late Show With David Letterman”

    David Letterman said on “Late Show” that Rivers was “a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy.”

    Letterman also commended Rivers for her fearlessness.

    “Talk about guts – she would come out here and sit in this chair and say some things that were unbelievable, just where you would have to swallow pretty hard,” Letterman explained. “The force of her comedy was overpowering.”


    Conan O'Brien talked about Rivers’ turns guest hosting “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.”

    “People would gather in the living room. Everyone would howl with laughter, and the next day they would talk about it,” O’Brien said. “Her comedy was so out of the bounds and people were just blown away."

    O’Brien’s guest comedian, Chris Hardwick, who was close to Rivers, talked about her impact on the world of comedy.

    "She hated being called a legend because she thought it made her seem old,” Hardwick said. “But she really was.”

    “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

    Jimmy Kimmel talked about Rivers in his monologue, complimenting her for her endless passion for comedy.

    “She was a very lucky person because she loved her job and she never wanted to stop,” Kimmel said, “and she didn’t have to stop because she was so great at it.”

    Then, Kimmel showed a clip of her last appearance on “Live.”

    Guest Sarah Silverman also talked about Rivers, saying: “I think a lot of people, when they die at 81, you go, ‘Well, she was 81, she had an amazing life. But she wasn’t done!”