joan rivers two

An American Woman, three



pass (3) tragic passed away
humble surround statement
pray amazing outpouring
joy facial appreciate
mask off limits outrageous
host calling struggle
puppet (2) take off (2) Phi Beta Kappa
iconic break (3) right away
pair boost appear
launch eventually substitute
proud decision brand new
kill (2) cancel competition
area (3) regroup commit suicide
purpose purposely Auschwitz
laugh career swear/swore/sworn
surge take (2) withering
remark biting put down (2)
fire (2) audience bankrupt






Anchor: Joan Rivers, the famous, famous comedienne, has passed away at the age of 81. We are just getting this information here.

I have a statement from Melissa Rivers, the daughter, the family. Let me just read it to you as we are getting this tragic news:

“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17 pm surrounded by family and close friends.

My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother.

Cooper and I have been humbled for the outpouring of love, support and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated.

My mother’s greatest joy was to make people laugh, and though that is difficult to do right now, I know that her final wish would be to return to laughing soon.”

Joan Rivers, dead at the age of 81. Here’s a look back at her life.

Journalist: Joan Rivers could always talk.

Joan: Do you realize what it’s like to take off a facial mask in the morning and realize that you aren’t wearing one? You don’t know.

Journalist: With sometimes outrageous jokes, nothing was off limits.

Joan: I HATE old people! If you are f_____ old, get up and get out of here right now!

Journalist: Born in 1933, Rivers says even as she was growing up in the New York suburbs, she always wanted to be an actress.

Joan: I never had a choice. I always say it’s like a nun’s calling.

Journalist: But her show business career didn’t begin until she was 24 years old. The Phi Beta Kappa graduate with one failed marriage behind her moved out of her parents’ home and tried to get a job as an actress.

And while her acting career didn’t take off right away, she got her first break playing the puppet Topo Zhizhio on the Ed Sullivan Show.

And joined the iconic Second City Comedy Theater in 1961.

As her comedy career was taking off, she married producer Edgar Rosenberg in 1964 who’d manage her career and be the focus of so many of his wife’s jokes.

The pair had one daughter together, Melissa.

In 1965, Rivers saw her career get a HUGE boost when she appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson for the first time.

Joan: He gave us all of our starts. My life changed. I went on the show the first time. Seven years of struggling. Coming out of Second City, and on the air he said, “you’re going to be a star.” And the next day my life was different.

Journalist: It was the start of a 21-year professional relationship with Carson and the show. She made regular appearances, eventually becoming the show’s substitute host in 1983.

But River’s decision to launch her own show, on the brand new FOX network in the fall of 1986 ended her relationship with Carson and the Tonight Show.

Joan: He should have been proud; I had finally, after my contract was UP—done, took another job. I think it was because I was a woman, he never thought I’d leave. Or maybe he liked me better.

But the minute I became competition—it became out to kill me.

Out to kill me!

And that’s what came down. He never spoke to me again.

Journalist: River’s show was canceled in 1987. Just a few month later, Joan’s husband, Edgar, committed suicide in a Philadelphia hotel room.

Joan: I was in house, and some IDIOT called the house and they said “Where’s your mother?” Somebody from Philadelphia. She said she’s not here. And they said to Melissa, “Your father killed himself.”

How’s that for a phone call?

Journalist: Rivers regrouped by doing what she always did: putting her life out in the open.

Larry King: Is there any area you would not go to?
Joan: No. If I think I want to talk about it, then it’s right to talk about it. And I purposely go into areas that people are still very sensitive and smarting about.
Larry King: Why?
Joan: If you can laugh at it, you can deal with it. That’s how I’ve lived my whole life. I swear to you, I’m Jewish, if I were in Auschwitz, I would have done jokes, just to make it okay for us.

Journalist: Her career surged again when her withering take on red-carpet fashion full of biting remarks and celebrity put downs exposed her to a whole new group of fans.

Joan: I LOVE performing; it’s like a drug to me.

Journalist: And in 2010, she felt that she was at the top of her game.

Joan: I think I’ve worked the best that I’ve ever worked now because it’s all been done to me.

What are they going to do to me? Are they going to fire me? I’ve been fired. Audiences are not going to like me? A lot of audiences didn’t like me. I’ve been bankrupt. My husband’s committed suicide.

It’s OK! And I’m still here.

So it’s OKAY!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Condolences have been coming in from all over the world. Is this correct or wrong?

2. Did Joan want to be a nurse or teacher when she was young?

3. When did her career get a big boost? Why did this boost her career?

4. Was Johnny Carson her husband? What was the relationship between Joan and Johnny in the beginning?

5. What happened in 1986 and 1987?

6. Joan jokes and comments about anything. Yes or no?

7. What is her philosophy on life? Does Joan feel that she has nothing to lose?
A. Are you surprised and shocked by Joan?

B. Are there comedians or other people (friends, classmates, colleagues) like Joan?

C. Who are some famous or popular comedians in your country?

D. Have things changed in your society?

E. What will happen in the future?

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