Andy Cohen: Joan Rivers was 'shocking, but so funny'

Sep. 5, 2014 at 7:55 AM ET

After going from being enthralled with Joan Rivers as a boy to becoming a friend who frequently had her as a guest on Bravo's "Watch What Happens: Live," Andy Cohen remembered the late comedy trailblazer's crackling wit and seemingly boundless energy. 

Video: The comedian joins TODAY to talk about Joan Rivers' death, and the first time he met her. “She was one of the first larger-than-life women I connected to,” he said.

'"She was electrifying,'' Cohen told Matt Lauer on TODAY Friday. "She was one of the first kind of larger-than-life women that I connected to, and I just couldn't believe, like everybody in America, the stuff that she said. She was shocking, but she was so funny." 

A comedy legend, Rivers, 81, died at 1:17 p.m. on Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York after complications from a surgery she underwent on Aug. 28. 

Here's more of what Cohen shared about Rivers: 

  • On working with her in a 2006 pilot on Bravo for a show called "Straight Talk with Joan Rivers": "The first thing she said to me when I went in to audition was, 'You gotta get Botox. You have to get Botox.' I never did, and I was thinking last night, maybe I should get a little shot in tribute to Joan. I think it would be a nice tribute to her. But she was incredible. She was generous. She wanted everyone around her to succeed." 
  • On the news of her death: "I think one of the things that's so fascinating about the way everyone is talking about her passing is how shocked everyone was. You don't hear people talking about how shocked they are about an 81-year-old passing away, but that's how much of a relevant life force she was to so many generations." 
  • On her best qualities: "She was smart, she was shrewd, she was loyal. She came prepared, she wanted to kill, and she always did." 

A pioneer

Joan Rivers also helped pave the way for many other women in comedy. Watch this archival clip from an interview on TODAY in 1983 as she talks about her struggles in comedy and her beginnings in the business. 

Video: Flashback: Watch this 1983 clip in which iconic comedian Joan Rivers talks with TODAY’s Bryant Gumbel about her early career ambitions as an actress, her start in comedy and her struggles to get on ‘The Johnny Carson Show.’

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