Joan Rivers Tributes from Late Night Talk Show Hosts (Video)

September 5, 2014

Hours after the death of the comedic legend Joan Rivers, the late night talk show hosts paid tribute. Jimmy Fallon of ‘The Tonight Show,’ David Letterman of ‘The Late Show’ were among the many who shared their memories and spoke of the legacy of the trailblazing comic who also numbered among them at one time, as a late-night host.

The news of Joan Rivers’ death broke early enough that Thursday, September 4th that the hosts had time to offer their tributes. In her written statement, Melissa Rivers the daughter of Joan Rivers had said in part, “My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.”

While that was a daunting task less daunting was offering recollections and kind words about what will be an enduring legacy of a bold, unique and courageous comedy icon. Amazingly, she remains the only women who has ever been the host of a late-night talk show on broadcast television, as she was for a time on Fox network. And, of course, as the world knows, she was often a guest host of ‘The Tonight Show’ until her falling out with Johnny Carson. There was much to reflect upon, and many memories to draw upon.

Jimmy Fallon, now host of ‘The Tonight Show,’ said in part, “A lot of people thought her humor was mean, but she just wanted to make everyone laugh. And she could take a joke just as easily as she could dish it out.”

David Letterman on ‘The Late Show’ said of her, ““Here’s a woman, a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy. And 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.”

Jimmy Kimmel spoke of her during his monologue on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ and said, “Besides being a pioneer for women in comedy, for everyone in comedy, Joan was a very lucky person because she loved her job so much, she never wanted to stop. And she didn’t have to stop because she was still great at it.” Later on in the program, both he and Sarah Silverman spoke about her, and offered some comedy barbs in her honor.

Conan O’Brien of ‘Conan’ who had his own misadventure as a short-lived host of ‘The Tonight Show’ spoke about her days as a guest host of the show, noting, “When she did, it was an event. Everybody in the country would talk about it the next day.” He and his guest Chris Hardwick reminisced about her legacy.

Seth Meyers of ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’ in lamenting her already palpable absence, said, ‘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 and she would get away with it, because it would be really funny.”

Craig Ferguson of ‘The Late Late Show’ said of her, “I just hope that when Joan meets the man upstairs he is wearing something she can insult.”

These words will no doubt not be the last spoken or the last tributes for Joan Rivers, as we are still taking stock of her enormous influence on our pop culture. See the video clips below.

David Letterman

Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman

Seth Meyers

Conan O’Brien and Chris Hardwick

Pictures: PR Photos

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