Pop Culture

Joan Rivers: 8 ways the comedy legend laughed at herself

Molly Riley / Today
Joan Rivers in Washington, D.C., in 2008.

Although Joan Rivers was known to tease everyone from politicians to A-listers, there’s one target she may have loved mocking more than anyone else: herself.

Perhaps that self-deprecating humor is what helped her (sometimes) get away with tweaking the elite.

When Joan Rivers died Thursday at the age of 81, she left behind a trove of honest and funny quotes. Here are eight ways Rivers had fun at her own expense:

Her career
At the beginning of her 2010 documentary, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” Rivers looks around the stage of a stand-up gig and says, “This is my career. I mean, how depressing is this? Forty years in the [expletive] business, and this is where you end up?”

Her appeal as a 20-something single woman
As a 30-something comic on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1967, she made fun of how single she was in her 20s. “When I was 21, my mother said, ‘Only a doctor for you!’” she said. “When I was 22, she said, ‘All right, a lawyer, a CPA.’ At 24, she said, ‘We’ll grab a dentist.’ Twenty-six? She said, ‘Anything.’ If he can make it to the door, he was mine, y’know. ‘What do you mean you don’t like him? He’s intelligent. He found the (doorbell) himself. What do you want?’ Anybody that came to my house was it. ‘Oh, Joan! There’s a most attractive young man down here with a mask and a gun.’”

Related: How Joan Rivers paved the way for modern funny women

Her aging
“I am at the age — now I have liver spots,” she said while guest-hosting “The Tonight Show” in 1984. “My dog tried to eat my hand.”

Her pregnancy
“I carried so big, when my water broke, there were fish in it,” she said, also while guest-hosting "Tonight." “When my water broke, it showed up on the weather report.”

Her body
In 1986, Rivers told Johnny Carson about her breast implants. “I had some boobs, [but] I have so much rubber in me, they erased what I had.”

Her plastic surgery
A few years ago, Rivers joked that her grandson had a name for her: “Nana Newface.”

Her singing abilities
“I sang once for Barbra Streisand,” Rivers told a British audience in 2007, “and her eyes crossed the other way.”

Her marriage
“I remember my husband — we would be making love and he would call out another woman’s name,” Rivers told Wendy Williams earlier this year. “And worse, she would answer from under the table.”

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