In reacting to the death of TV legend Johnny Carson, most comedians interviewed for this CNN obituary simply said something nice about him. Joan Rivers managed to praise her own washed-up self -- not just once, but twice:
If Carson liked you, you were set. He got the bright comics. He picked the ones who were different, who were smart.So Rivers is letting us know she's smart. She's one of the different, bright comics. And later, we get this:
We all started on his show. Every solid comedian today really got their break on the Carson show.Wow, she's not only smart and different, she's solid! Quite impressive for someone whose biggest gig these days is pestering nominees on the red carpet outside the Academy Awards show. (And by extension, I guess that means guys like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, who didn't get their start on The Tonight Show, aren't as "solid" as Rivers.)
In her remarks, Rivers displayed the same lack of class as when she launched her own late-night talk show in 1986 to compete with Carson, the man who launched her career. (It went off the air after 6 lackluster months and Carson never spoke to her again.) The same poor taste is visible on her vacuous website, which hawks tacky trinkets side-by-side with the breathless "Johnny Carson dead at 79!"
Obviously there had been some bad blood between the two of them. But Rivers might have chosen the occasion of Carson's death to apologize, too late, or to simply thank him. Instead, she took the opportunity to pat herself on the back. It's something you just couldn't imagine Johnny Carson doing -- and that's part of the reason he will be missed, and Rivers will be forgotten.