Terribly sad news today with the announcement that comedy legend Joan Rivers has passed away at the age of 81 at home in New York. Rivers had a legendary 50-year career in the entertainment industry, beginning as a stand-up in the 1960s and remaining consistently popular for half a century. A frequent talk-show guest, she eventually became the first woman to host a late-night talk show with Fox’s ‘The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers.”
Rivers mostly kept her career to the live circuit and television rather than the movies, but did make a few big-screen appearances, mostly cameos as herself in the likes of “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” “Shrek 2,” and “Iron Man 3.” She was also the focus of the excellent 2010 documentary “Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work,” and became world famous for her hilarious and acerbic commentary on awards red carpet pre-shows, most notably at the Oscars. But the comic did actually direct one feature film, 1978’s “Rabbit Test.”
Also co-written by her, the film stars Billy Crystal, in his first big-screen appearance, as a man who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand. Shot, oddly, on video, it’s rough around the edges, but Rivers’ comic voice shines through, and the film proves a precursor not just to the similarly-premised “Junior,” but also modern-day pregnancy comedies like “Knocked Up.” The film’s available in full on YouTube, and in memory of Joan, you can watch the whole thing below. R.I.P, and our condolences to her friends, family and colleagues.