Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers' book includes crass jokes about Whitney Houston's death

May 21, 2012 at 5:07 PM ET

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Joan Rivers

Comedian Joan Rivers is taking some heat for two Whitney Houston jokes that reportedly appear in her upcoming book, "I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me."

The Village Voice reports that in a section on travel, Rivers writes: "I hate Houston ... it's crawling with bugs. Oh, wait, that's Whitney Houston; I'm sorry, my bad. (Can I just mention that Whitney looked fabulous at the Grammys?  She was in mahogany from head to toe.)"

Houston, 48, was found dead in her Beverly Hills, Calif. hotel bathtub on Feb. 11, the day before the Grammys.

The jokes shouldn't be a surprise to those who read the book's description on the website of publisher Penguin, which reads, "uncensored and totally uninhibited (Rivers gives) the best of her worst to First Ladies, closet cases, hypocrites, Hollywood, feminists, and overrated historical figures," and goes on to call the book an "honest, unabashedly hilarious love letter to the hater in all of us."

Readers of the Village Voice post were divided over whether Rivers' remark was too much, too soon.

"There's funny tasteless and there's just tasteless and unfortunately, this joke is in the latter category," wrote one reader.

Said another: "Joan Rivers is still funnier than most comedians half her age. Making tasteless jokes about celebrities is what she does. If you don't enjoy her, fine, but please don't try to say that all of a sudden she's crossed a line she never crossed before."

Back in February, in an interview with Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live," Rivers said she's never regretted insulting anyone because her jokes are "never meant to be mean." She also said when singer Willie Nelson's daughter wrote her to say that a Rivers' joke about Nelson resulted in the girl being teased at school, she took that joke out of her act.

Also in February, Rivers was criticized by some for snarky remarks she made about Houston's wardrobe on the E! show "Fashion Police." According to Women's Wear Daily, Rivers said, "Am I sorry (Houston) died? Of course I am, for God’s sake." She also said "If Angelina Jolie died tomorrow, I would still say she was anorexic."

After Houston's death, Rivers tweeted, "Whitney Houston. What a sad tragedy — the end of the life of an incredible talent. RIP to an amazing singer and legend.”

Rivers' book will be published June 5.

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