Joan Rivers is widely considered to be a comedy icon, breaking boundaries for others in the entertainment industry. She was known for her iconoclastic delivery and cutting-edge remarks. Ahead of her time and full of wit and wisdom, Rivers remained active in until her death in 2014. While Rivers had many friends, she also was involved in a number of feuds and spats with other high-profile figures. Most notably, she was reportedly banned from The Tonight Show for decades — until Jimmy Fallon welcomed her on.
Joan Rivers was banned from ‘The Tonight Show’ for years
Rivers was an up-and-coming comedian in the ’60s when she first started making guest appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. She quickly won the host over and went on to make many appearances on the program. Johnny Carson, who was notoriously difficult to impress, believed that Rivers had what it took to be a big star. He even hired her as a writer for the show.
However, by the mid-80s, Rivers was growing dissatisfied with her role at NBC. According to People, Rivers was worried that the network had no intention of furthering her career, and opted to enter into negotiations with Fox, a rival network. Carson found out about the negotiations, and reportedly, he saw it as a betrayal on Rivers’ part. He never invited her back to The Tonight Show again. As reported by BuzzFeed, this ban would carry through even after Carson’s retirement, with new host Jay Leno opting to keep the ban in place out of “respect for Johnny.”
Jimmy Fallon welcomed Joan Rivers on the first episode of his hosting stint
In 2014, Saturday Night Live veteran Jimmy Fallon took over hosting The Tonight Show. And one of the first things that he did was lift the decades-long ban on Rivers as a guest. In fact, Rivers made an appearance on the very first episode that Fallon hosted, much to the delight of fans who had been following her career.
Although her appearance on the show was brief, it was impactful — and it was especially meaningful for Rivers. “It was a double thrill for me to help welcome Jimmy on his first night,” she said (via Variety). “The program brought me great luck, and I know it will do the same for him. He’s the consummate entertainer whose reign as host, I predict, will surpass any of his predecessors.”
Rivers also mused on her own history with The Tonight Show. “Being in the studio brought back the most wonderful, wonderful memories of the night that jump-started my career,” she added. “So when people ask me, ‘why was last night different from all other nights?’ I’ll tell them that it certainly beats Passover!”
Joan Rivers was a regular guest on Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’
Over the months that followed, Rivers would make several appearances on The Tonight Show. Laconic and hilarious, Rivers warmed to Fallon and he seemed to respect her prowess and talent immensely. Sadly, the iconic comedian died in late 2014.
Fallon paid special tribute to Rivers after her passing. As reported by People Magazine, he recalled their first encounter. “We had her on our very first Tonight Show, when I took over,” Fallon shared. “She came out, and she came over to me, and she started crying, and gave me a kiss. It was really emotional and really nice.”
Jimmy Fallon Broke a ‘Tonight Show’ Tradition With His First Guest
- League Standings Of Ghana In The AFCON Qualifiers
- We Are Still Facing A Crisis At The Border – Steve Bannon’s War Room: Pandemic
- CDC Warns Of Artificial Tears Eye Drops; Dangerous Side Effects Including Death |
- Trump Posts Photo Of Him Holding A Baseball Bat Next To Pic Of Bragg
- Ghost’ Season 3 Premiere Sets Starz Viewership Record