By BECKY SHANE and CATALINA FERNANDEZ
In a Cable News Network (CNN) interview, comedian Kathy Griffin referred to Joan Rivers and said, “Respect must be paid to this woman. She blazed a trail for me and all the girls, and in the face of so much adversity.”
On September 4, 2014, in New York City, the iconic comedian, Joan Rivers, passed away at the age of 81. CNN reported that her death followed a minor throat procedure, although details are unavailable and the autopsy was inconclusive. Rivers was a pioneering comedienne who was best known for her roles in The Joan Rivers Show and most recently, the Entertainment Televion’s (E!) celebrity fashion show Fashion Police.
As an influential female comedian and overall television personality, Rivers brought forth outspoken commentary that sparked controversy and generated a large gap between her supporters and those in opposition.
Her unfiltered critiques targeted celebrities on the Red Carpet. But, many of those who were victimized by her harsh comments, expressed grief through social media following her death. Lindsay Lohan, although frequently criticized by Rivers, commented on Twitter with a statement that represents the feelings of many celebrities. Lohan described the relationship between Rivers and those in her industry, and said on Twitter, “We’d fuss but love was there. Can’t believe ur gone. Love to your family. You were iconic and trailblazing. RIP Joan.” Anna Kendrick said, “Being publicly told that my dress is hideous will never feel quite as awesome. You will be truly missed.”
Students at UNI also expressed their opinions of Joan Rivers’ career and legacy. Sophia Bajak (Jr.) said, “Although I respect her for being a leader for females in comedy, she showed no respect for others,” referring to the offensive comments Rivers often made that included politically inappropriate and socially inconsiderate topics, while also recognizing Rivers’ pioneering efforts in comedy. However, Kuki Tran (Sr.) said, “I loved her. She was so funny.” Although UHS students’ thoughts reflect the broad spectrum of opinions about Rivers as seen in media, students may not realize the true impact Rivers had on the world of comedy and the female position in the industry.
The E! Network’s Fashion Police, Rivers’ final comedic stage, recognizes that “She’s been a much beloved member of the E! family for over 20 years and the world is less funny without her in it. Today our hearts are heavy knowing Joan will not be bounding through the doors.”