A newly discovered interview with the late, great comedian Joan Rivers shines a light on a little-known part of her career: a feud with Tonight Show host Johnny Carson that lasted for decades.
While Rivers is remembered for her appearances on reality shows and the QVC network, she was also a pioneering stand up comic.
And in an interview with EW Radio from 2014 that was recently rediscovered, Rivers remembers how tough it was to launch her career in a male-dominated industry.
“I was always going up for the part and not getting it,” she said.
“So I had to work twice as hard to get anywhere, because I wasn’t the pretty blonde … nor was I the very homely, wacko friend. So I think I always worked harder because you had to be noticed more.”
One of the few people in Hollywood who took a chance on Rivers was Johnny Carson, host of The Tonight Show.
Rivers became a writer for the show, a regular guest, and eventually a guest host.
“Johnny was the one person who said, ‘Yes, she has talent; yes, she is funny,'” Rivers wrote in 1986. “He was the first person in power who respected what I was doing and realized what I could become. He handed me my career.”
But the success Rivers found on Carson’s show earned her a chance to host her own talk show on Fox, The Late Show with Joan Rivers.
When she agreed to host the show, Rivers says her relationship with Carson turned ugly.