Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Joan Rivers – First Performance on The Ed Sullivan Show

Joan Rivers is known for being a fashion critic, covering the red-carpet of the biggest award shows and for hosting Fashion Police, but how did her career originally take off? Joan Rivers started out in show business as a writer and stand-up comedian in the 1960’s. By 1965, Joan Rivers had made a name for herself as a comedienne and was making appearances on major television shows including The Ed Sullivan Show.

Joan Rivers’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show took place on May 22nd 1966. Prior to that appearance, Rivers had been involved in the show as a writer. In fact, she was a writer for the famous Italian mouse puppet Topo Gigio on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Her first stand-up performance on the show came to fruition in large part thanks to a slip of the tongue.  On the previous show Ed Sullivan was supposed to announce singer Johnny Rivers, but instead mistakenly said “Next week, Joan Rivers!” Since she had already been announced, the producers of the show immediately booked her for the following week. Joan Rivers would have undoubtedly been asked to perform on the Sullivan stage eventually, but this slip of the tongue helped launch her career. Little did she know that she would soon become a household name across America.

That night, Ed Sullivan introduced Rivers by saying “I was watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson the other night and Joan Rivers came up, she was hilarious! So here is Joan Rivers! You’ll love her.”  Indeed, everyone did love her.  She received many laughs from the audience throughout her act, as she mused about being jealous toward beautiful women.

After her debut performance, Joan Rivers quickly became one of the show’s favorite acts appearing a total of 21 times between 1966 until the show ended in 1971. Her appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show helped Rivers further promote her thriving career and gave way to many future successes.

In the subsequent years, Rivers became the first regular guest host on The Tonight Show.  She also hosted Late Show Starring Joan Rivers followed by the Daytime Joan Rivers Show, for which she won an Emmy.

Joan Rivers is a Renaissance woman.  She has been nominated for a Tony, written books, and plays, directed a feature film, and created her own jewelry and cosmetics lines, among other accomplishments. Now she hosts the popular fashion talk show Fashion Police on E! Joan Rivers has come a long way and today, at 79 years old, she is still going strong and making people laugh on a daily basis.