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Joan Rivers

  • I started my career in a town so small the local clinic was called Fred's Hospital and Grill.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Joey Adams, Speaker's Bible of Humor ()
  • I wear the midi because I feel if you're going to look ugly, you may as well look this year's ugly.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Joey Adams, Speaker's Bible of Humor ()
  • With the pollution of our rivers today they are changing the signs from 'No Fishing' to 'No Fish.'

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Joey Adams, Speaker's Bible of Humor ()
  • Having a baby can be a scream.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • book title ()
  • ... my cousin Shirley, who never complains, screamed and screamed when she was having her baby. True, this was just during conception.

  • When my husband Edgar and I were courting, he said he couldn't wait to have a baby. It was only after we were married that he changed his mind and decided that I should have the baby.

  • Having a baby is definitely a labor of love.

  • There is not one female comic who was beautiful as a little girl.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Lydia Lane, "An Ugly Duckling Complex," Los Angeles Times ()
  • I was my own buddy in camp.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Barbara McDowell and Hana Umlauf, Woman's Almanac ()
  • Any form of complacency is the kiss of death for any professional.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Helen Gurley Brown, Having It All ()
  • [On Elizabeth Taylor:] Is she fat? Her favorite food is seconds.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Celebrity Research Group, The Bedside Book of Celebrity Gossip ()
  • The worst thing anyone has ever said about me is that I'm fifty. Which I am. Oh that bitch. I was so hurt.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Michéle Brown and Ann O'Connor, Hammer and Tongues ()
  • Your anger can be 49 percent and your comedy 51 percent, and you're okay. If the anger is 51 percent, the comedy is gone.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Enter Talking ()
  • Somehow, some way, every person in the arts has to find an accommodation with disappointment and embarrassment. They are the pollen in the air we breathe. If you must go into the arts, go into them for yourself alone. On some basic level you must enjoy the act of doing it ... Otherwise, you are going to end up frustrated and unhappy. Recognition in the arts is luck and gravy.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Enter Talking ()
  • ... to maintain success, stamina is more important than talent. You have to learn to be a marathon runner.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Enter Talking ()
  • I am not lucky. I am the type who would go to Lourdes and drown in the waters.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Enter Talking ()
  • I was absorbing a sorry truth of show business — rejection is the norm and acceptance the oddity. I was learning to cut the tops off my highs and stay with the lows where the rejections and letdowns would be shallow.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Enter Talking ()
  • I know now that everybody in the arts is forever a beginner. Experience counts for a great deal and very little. Every night onstage I feel I am starting from scratch, still not quite sure what I am doing and where I am going, thrown by the simplest thing that goes wrong.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Enter Talking ()
  • Emotional troubles are like landfill. Get them outside, and the air disintegrates them.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Still Talking ()
  • Show business can be an addiction. ... An audience would laugh at me one night, and I would chase that high for another three months.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Still Talking ()
  • My mother could make anybody feel guilty — she used to get letters of apology from people she didn't even know.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Still Talking ()
  • She [my mother] was a very elegant woman. When a flying saucer landed on the lawn, she turned it over to see if it was Wedgwood.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Still Talking ()
  • Does fashion matter? Always — though not quite as much after death.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in New York Times Magazine ()
  • Just remember: Surviving is the best revenge, no matter what the disaster has been.

  • Life is a movie, and you're the star. Give it a happy ending.

  • ... moving on is a gift you give yourself.

  • The first rule of survival is: Make your own rules. The hell anyone thinks about the way you're acting; listen only to yourself.

  • Whatever you do to recover from a loss, people will be critical because they believe that the only way to recover is their way. And you will even run into some people who should be run into by rhinos because they actually don't want to see you get over your tragedy at all; grief is a spectator sport for them.

  • Self-pity shortens your life ...

  • To the pessimist the light at the end of the tunnel is another train.

  • In every human endeavor, persistence is everything.

  • ... if you don't think that all life is improvisation, then you haven't been paying attention. Life is what happens to you while you're making other plans.

  • A German sense of humor is an oxymoron.

  • In life the only thing that you can expect is the unexpected; the only surprise is a day that has none.

  • Marriage isn't a contest to see who is most often right. Marriage requires being what the Japanese call 'the wise bamboo,' which means you bend so you don't break. Treat your spouse with the flexibility and respect you would give to a top client. Think how we treat clients; We smile, we are polite, we listen to their ideas. Never forget that your spouse is your most important client.

  • How to fool yourself into feeling younger: When you go to restaurants, always check a coat and a skateboard.

  • ... 'old age' is always ten years more than we are.

  • Don't talk to me about gravity. When I get out of bed in the morning, I have to be careful not to step on my breasts.

  • ... you have to do more than just kill time or time will quickly kill you.

  • ... keep moving. It's hard for old age to hit a moving target.

  • [On plastic surgery:] My motto is: 'Anything that can be lifted should be lifted. Anything that falls should be caught. And try to catch any falling stuff before it hits the ground.'

    • Joan Rivers,
    • Don't Count the Candles ()
  • There is nothing funny about aging: It is rotten and depressing. Anyone who tells you otherwise just hasn't been paying attention.

  • People say that money isn't the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Reader's Digest ()
  • I don't exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Reader's Digest ()
  • The first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it.

    • Joan Rivers
  • A man can sleep around, no questions asked, but if a woman makes nineteen or twenty mistakes she's a tramp.

    • Joan Rivers
  • Edgar had a heart attack, and I'm to blame. We were making love, and I took the bag off my head.

    • Joan Rivers
  • Half of all marriages end in divorce — and then there are the really unhappy ones.

    • Joan Rivers
  • Boy George is all England needs — another queen who can't dress.

    • Joan Rivers
  • [Signature phrase:] Can we talk?

    • Joan Rivers
  • Trust your husband, adore your husband, and get as much as you can in your own name.

    • Joan Rivers
  • My best birth control now is just to leave the lights on.

    • Joan Rivers
  • I was born in 1962. True. And the room next to me was 1963.

    • Joan Rivers
  • I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes — and six months later you have to start all over again.

    • Joan Rivers
  • Don't cook. Don't clean. No man will ever make love to a woman because she waxed the linoleum — 'My God, the floor's immaculate. Lie down, you hot bitch.'

    • Joan Rivers
  • She had more hands up her dress than the Muppets.

    • Joan Rivers
  • Omaha is a little like Newark, without Newark's glamour.

    • Joan Rivers
  • I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my bath toys were a toaster and a radio.

    • Joan Rivers
  • Run scared ... and they never catch you.

    • Joan Rivers
  • She's so fat, she's my two best friends. She wears stretch kaftans. She's got more chins than the Chinese telephone directory.

    • Joan Rivers
  • It's been so long since I made love, I can't even remember who gets tied up.

    • Joan Rivers
  • Mick Jagger has big lips. I saw him suck an egg out of a chicken. He can play a tuba from both ends. This man has got child-bearing lips.

    • Joan Rivers
  • A friend of mine confused her valium with her birth control pills — she had fourteen kids but didn't give a shit.

    • Joan Rivers
  • I told my mother-in-law that my house was her house, and she said, 'Get the hell off my property.'

    • Joan Rivers
  • [When told that her grandchild had her nose:] I didn't get this nose until I was thirty-four.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Adair Lara, The Granny Diaries: An Insider's Guide for New Grandmothers ()
  • I said to my husband, 'Why don't you call out my name when we are making love?' He said, 'I don't want to wake you up.'

    • Joan Rivers
  • The one thing women don't want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband.

    • Joan Rivers
  • I could never be in a cult. For starters, they never accessorize properly. David Koresh had no fashion sense, Jim Jones wore leisure suits, and I don't care how charismatic Osama bin Laden was, an AK-47 and an insulin drip do not take the place of drop earrings or a well-placed brooch.

  • I would not want to live if I could not perform. It's in my will. I am not to be revived unless I can do an hour of stand-up.

    • Joan Rivers
  • I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.

    • Joan Rivers
  • Don't tell your kids you had an easy birth or they won't respect you. For years I used to wake up my daughter and say, 'Melissa, you ripped me to shreds. Now go back to sleep.'

    • Joan Rivers
  • In my class picture I was the entire front row.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Richard Meryman, "Directing Her First Movie or Cracking up Carson, Joan Rivers Has Angst in Her Pants," People ()
  • [On her early work in comedy:] If a trash can had a bulb, I played it. Strip joints. Places so Mafioso you were scared to say, 'Stop me if you've heard this.'

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Richard Meryman, "Directing Her First Movie or Cracking up Carson, Joan Rivers Has Angst in Her Pants," People ()
  • Every object has feelings. Everything is full of pain. I have sets of dishes in the basement, and I can't throw them out because they'll feel terrible. Old shoes — break their hearts.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Richard Meryman, "Directing Her First Movie or Cracking up Carson, Joan Rivers Has Angst in Her Pants," People ()
  • What I love about writing is that it's permanent; performing is smoke, no matter how great a show you do, once it's over, pfft, it's gone. Anyway, you don't have to put on eyelashes to write, and you can be judged without being there.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Morag Veljkovic, "Joan Rivers," After Dark ()
  • It's a devastating experience the first time a woman gets called 'ma'am.' A friend of mine first heard it from an A&P delivery boy, 'Where should I put these, ma'am?' 'Put them here in the bedroom,' she said. I don't know what happened, but that delivery boy never called her ma'am after that.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • "I'm Glad I'm a Middle-Aged Sex Object," McCall's ()
  • [When asked if she wanted her daughter to marry for money:] I want her to marry a boy who wants to make money and who is fabulous to his mother-in-law, who'll say to her, 'Oh, Melissa, please let your mother come along on our honeymoon — just this once.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Nancy Collins, "Funniest Lady," People ()
  • ... the ones who hit on me are very interesting. It's always out-of-town businessmen or real Hollywood dumb machos. The kind who haven't read a book since Dick and Jane and are really impressed when I tell them how it ended.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in "20 Questions: Joan Rivers," Playboy ()
  • [On sex:] I came from a generation where you knew nothing; you learned by doing. My old joke was: 'I thought you took turns moving.'

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in "20 Questions: Joan Rivers," Playboy ()
  • ... the born-again religious fanatics are very terrifying. It's scary, you know, when God only listens to certain people.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in "20 Questions: Joan Rivers," Playboy

Joan Rivers, U.S. comedian, entertainer

(1933 - 2013)

Real name: Joan Alexandria Molinsky Sanger Rosenberg.