Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

186 Inspiring Quotes by Joan Rivers

  • Last updated Jul 26 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Joan Rivers.

Wikipedia Summary for Joan Rivers

Joan Alexandra Molinsky (June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014), known professionally as Joan Rivers, was an American comedian, actress, writer, producer, and television host. She was noted for her often controversial comedic persona—heavily self-deprecating and sharply acerbic, especially towards celebrities and politicians. She is considered a pioneer of women in comedy by many critics and journalists.

Rivers started her career in comedy clubs in Greenwich Village alongside her peers George Carlin, Woody Allen, and Richard Pryor. She then rose to prominence in 1965 as a guest on The Tonight Show. Hosted by her mentor, Johnny Carson, the show established Rivers' comedic style. In 1986, with her own rival program, The Late Show with Joan Rivers, Rivers became the first woman to host a late night network television talk show. She subsequently hosted The Joan Rivers Show (1989–1993), winning a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. From the mid-1990s, she became known for her comedic red carpet awards show celebrity interviews. Rivers co-hosted the E! celebrity fashion show Fashion Police from 2010 to 2014 and starred in the reality series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? (2011–2014) with daughter Melissa Rivers. She was the subject of the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010).

In addition to marketing a line of jewelry and apparel on the QVC shopping channel, Rivers authored 12 best-selling books and three LP comedy albums under her own name: Mr. Phyllis and Other Funny Stories (Warner Bros 1965), The Next to Last Joan Rivers Album (Buddah 1969), and What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most? (Geffen 1983). She was nominated in 1984 for a Grammy Award for her album What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?; and was nominated in 1994 for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance of the title role in Sally Marr ... and Her Escorts. In 2009, Rivers competed alongside her daughter Melissa on the second season of The Celebrity Apprentice, ultimately winning the season. In 2015, Rivers posthumously received a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for her book, Diary of a Mad Diva.

In 1968, The New York Times television critic Jack Gould called Rivers "quite possibly the most intuitively funny woman alive". In 2017, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her sixth on its list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time, and in October the same year, she was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.


bird in the sky

Joan Collins told a reporter that she hasn't had plastic surgery; come on... she's had more tucks than a motel bedsheet!

--Joan Rivers

closeup photo of lounger chairs and beach umbrellas

I don't think I'm good in bed. My husband never said anything, but after we made love he'd take a piece of chalk and outline my body.

--Joan Rivers

forest and body of water

I was dating a transvestite, and my mother said, "Marry him, you'll double your wardrobe."

--Joan Rivers

three clear glass cups

You can find my book at your favorite bookstore, and if it isn't there, find a new favorite.

--Joan Rivers


green trees under white sky during daytime

She's so hairy -- when she lifted up her arm I thought it was Tina Turner in her armpit.

--Joan Rivers


orange smoke on blue background

Forty for you, sixty for me. And equal partners we will be.

--Joan Rivers

yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

On her daughter Melissa: The only time she really cried is when I sat her down and told her that she was not adopted.

--Joan Rivers

rocky mountain

My daughter and I are very close, we speak every single day and I call her every day and I say the same thing, "pick up, I know you're there."

--Joan Rivers

green leafed trees with fog

I'm never without a bandage.

--Joan Rivers

adult black and white dog leaning on wooden fence

All babies look like Renée Zellweger pushed against a glass window.

--Joan Rivers

pink and blue painted wall

I have a wonderful psychiatrist that I see maybe once a year, because I don't need it. It all comes out onstage.

--Joan Rivers

black bird flying under white clouds during daytime

Life does not measure up to performing... Performing is perfect.

--Joan Rivers



blue painted wall with white paint

I'm a double bagger. Not only does my husband put a bag over my face when we're making love, but he also puts a bag over his head in case mine falls off.

--Joan Rivers

leafless tree

When you begin to losing your audience, do not get loud; get quiet, make them find you and come back to you.

--Joan Rivers

A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

Comedy exists to laugh at things that aren't laughable. But isn't it? That's what separates us from the animals. We laugh.

--Joan Rivers

pink and yellow flower painting

I've learned you don't always listen to your agents and managers. Sometimes they know nothing.

--Joan Rivers

landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

The fun of working on the road means stealing from hotels. I've been doing it for so long, I have a set of towels from the Ark.

--Joan Rivers

sunset

My routines come out of total unhappiness. My audiences are my group therapy.

--Joan Rivers


person holding hands

I use a smoke alarm as a timer.

--Joan Rivers

brown humming bird flying in mid air

All my friends are dying. That's why I always wear black.

--Joan Rivers

silhouette of trees during nighttime

A female salmon lays three thousand eggs a year -- and has yet to receive a Mother's Day card from one of them.

--Joan Rivers

photo of woman climbing mountain

I always like a charity with people who don't speak English because I get them to do all kinds of things around my house.

--Joan Rivers


pink and blue painted wall

I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.

--Joan Rivers

pen on brown board

I've learned from doing my own show with Fox that people are not your partners if they're signing the checks. Whoever signs your paycheck is the boss -- no matter what they tell you.

--Joan Rivers


None

As comedians, we are all laughing because life is so horrible. Life is so difficult, and I cope with it by making jokes about absolutely everything.

--Joan Rivers

bird at pier

It's feast or famine in showbiz.

--Joan Rivers

lights pattern swirls

My breasts are so low, now I can have a mammogram and a pedicure at the same time.

--Joan Rivers

brown leaf on asphalt road

I am furious about everything.

--Joan Rivers

red rose

Travel is the excitement of life! Everything is an adventure, and if you look at it like that, even at the worst moment you can say: 'We will laugh tomorrow about this.' And you do.

--Joan Rivers

yellow sunflower in bloom plantation

Want to know why women don't blink during foreplay? Not enough time.

--Joan Rivers

selective focus photo of four green humming birds with red flowers

I have so little sex appeal that my gynecologist calls me "sir."

--Joan Rivers

rocky mountain

I have no boobs whatsoever. On my wedding night my husband said, 'Let me help you with those buttons' and I told him, 'I'm completely naked.'

--Joan Rivers

brown houses in front of hill under starry night

I hate Billings, Montana. They have a fashion show at Sears Roebuck.

--Joan Rivers

low angle photography of gray concrete building

I will only praise someone who can't take anything away from me.

--Joan Rivers

sunset

As a wedding gift, Ray J gave Kim Kardashian his profits from their sex tape. It's 'Something Old' as well as 'Something Blew.'

--Joan Rivers


river painting

Girls just want to have fun. Well, so do old ladies!

--Joan Rivers

closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

Having my daughter, I screamed for twenty-three hours straight. And that was just during conception.

--Joan Rivers

person wearing black leather shoe

When you can laugh at yourself no one can ever make a fool of you.

--Joan Rivers

purple flowers under sunny sky

I would not want to live if I could not perform. It's in my will. I am not to be revived unless I can do an hour of stand-up.

--Joan Rivers

Arizona landscape

Listen. I wish I could tell you it gets better. But, it doesn't get better. You get better.

--Joan Rivers

person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

The people voting for the Oscars are so old. I haven't seen one Academy award voter with a tampon in her purse.

--Joan Rivers

grassland landscape

Life goes by fast. Enjoy it. Calm down. It's all funny.

--Joan Rivers

Longer Version:

Life goes by fast. Enjoy it. Calm down. It's all funny. Next. Everyone gets so upset about the wrong things.


low angle photography of green and brown tree

Looking 50 is great, if you're 60.

--Joan Rivers

landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

I am for anyone that will give me lower taxes, stop all this stupid spending. Whoever promises me that gets this chicken's vote.

--Joan Rivers

brown nut on person's left palm

I live very well, but I support a lot of relatives.

--Joan Rivers

silhouette of trees during sunset

I said, "Is there!" I told him there is a Mafia school where they teach them math -- if Johnny has ten fingers and they cut off two, how many does he have left?

--Joan Rivers

black and gray floral textile

Gay marriage, I am so against it because if all my gay friends get married, it will cost me a fortune in gifts.

--Joan Rivers

pink and white abstract painting

Don't tell your kids you had an easy birth or they won't respect you. For years I used to wake up my daughter and say, 'Melissa you ripped me to shreds. Now go back to sleep.'.

--Joan Rivers

black and white window illustration

Money can't buy you happiness but it can pay for the plastic surgery.

--Joan Rivers

None

Anger is a symptom, a way of cloaking and expressing feelings too awful to experience directly -- hurt, bitterness, grief and, most of all, fear.

--Joan Rivers


coconut tree near body of water

A child can be taught not to do certain things, such as touch a hot stove, pull lamps off of tables, and wake Mommy before noon.

--Joan Rivers

pair of white lace-up shoes

I am definitely going to watch the Emmys this year! My makeup team is nominated for Best Special Effects."

--Joan Rivers


landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

Florida wants to change the state's motto to attract younger people. They're thinking about: More than just a great place to die.

--Joan Rivers

red roses on book

I'm telling you that at eight she knew more about reproduction than Xerox.

--Joan Rivers

grayscale photo of pug on floor

She's so pure, Moses couldn't even part her knees.

--Joan Rivers

grayscale photography of mountain surrounded by trees

My mother told me 'man on top, woman underneath.' For years my husband and I slept in bunk beds.

--Joan Rivers

blue sky and white clouds

I was absorbing a sorry truth of show business -- rejection is the norm and acceptance the oddity. I was learning to cut the tops off my highs and stay with the lows where the rejections and letdowns would be shallow.

--Joan Rivers

bird in the sky

The act of creation fascinates me. You can only sit with blank page and wait. You cannot press a button, cannot program it.

--Joan Rivers

body of water surrounded with plants under cloudy sky

I started my career in a town so small the local clinic was called Fred's Hospital and Grill.

--Joan Rivers

2 people riding on boat during sunset

I hate Arizona. It's always eight hundred degrees outside and everybody's always saying, ‘But it's a dry heat!' So's the inside of my microwave.'

--Joan Rivers

brown short coated dog wearing blue and red shirt

The first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it.

--Joan Rivers

None

Comediennes are the lucky ones, because if you're funny, you can be 125 years old and they will still accept you.

--Joan Rivers

calm ocean

Being Jewish has always been important to me. I now have 6M tattooed on the inside of my left arm. It's only a half-inch, but every time anyone sees it, they're reminded of the six million who perished, and so am I.

--Joan Rivers


water on seashore

My personal style is over-the-top dowager. The old days they said get dressed and take one thing off, I say get dressed and put one thing on.

--Joan Rivers


black and white abstract illustration

My mother could make anybody feel guilty -- she used to get letters of apology from people she didn't even know.

--Joan Rivers

yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

I think I was the third person in the world to get a Kindle, and I hated it from the minute I got it.

--Joan Rivers

four wooden boat on teal sea

I am a huge 'Downton Abbey' fan -- huge!

--Joan Rivers

white stars in the sky during night time

I'm racist? How can that even be possible? I was a friend of Michael Jackson's back when he was black.

--Joan Rivers

grayscale photography of mountain surrounded by trees

The one thing women don't want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband.

--Joan Rivers

brown rocky mountain under gray sky

If God wanted us to bend over he'd put diamonds on the floor.

--Joan Rivers

bonfire in forest

I have no sex appeal. If my husband didn't toss and turn, we'd never have had any kids.

--Joan Rivers

houses and trees during nighttime

I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag.

--Joan Rivers

white flowers in brown stem

Don't follow any advice, no matter how good, until you feel as deeply in your spirit as you think in your mind that the counsel is wise.

--Joan Rivers

three clear glass cups

I don't excercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.

--Joan Rivers

assorted books on wooden table

No more Botox for me. Betty White's bowels move more than my face.

--Joan Rivers


brown rocky mountain under blue sky during daytime

I've always been salaried; I've never owned anything. I've done very well, lived very well.

--Joan Rivers


silhouette of elephant on brown sand during sunset

Any form of complacency is the kiss of death for any professional.

--Joan Rivers

green plant

I've learned from my dealings with Johnny Carson that no matter what kind of friendship you think you have with people you're working with, when the chips are down, it's all about business.

--Joan Rivers

crescent moon above mountain

My mother loved entertaining, and I've followed suit, so we have big celebrations for New Year, Passover, Thanksgiving and birthdays.

--Joan Rivers

green trees under white sky during daytime

Emotional troubles are like landfill. Get them outside, and the air disintegrates them.

--Joan Rivers

mountains covered with fog

I was getting dressed and a peeping tom looked in the window, took a look and pulled down the shade.

--Joan Rivers

brown and black leaf in close up photography

I get butterflies before I go out to say hello at a party.

--Joan Rivers

houses and trees during nighttime

I could stop and live carefully but that's ridiculous. I don't want to live carefully.

--Joan Rivers

pavement surrounded with dried leaves

I was smart enough to go through any door that opened.

--Joan Rivers

cluster of stars in the sky

When I turn down work, I feel guilty, I feel terrible; I don't know where the next job is going to come from.

--Joan Rivers

grayscale photography of pug

One of the most rebellious things a woman can do is allow people to think she's mean.

--Joan Rivers

galaxy

Dogs are easier to love than people; they're certainly more dependable. Once they love you, that's it. A true friend in life is a dog.

--Joan Rivers

dew drops on glass panel

I am driven. Being driven is my energy source. It is my fun.…I believe that where there is action, there is movement, and those ripples will eventually produce something positive.

--Joan Rivers

brown and white humming bird

I hate McDonald's. I don't want to order my dinner by yelling into a clown's mouth. If I want my face in a clown's mouth, I'll tongue kiss Glenn Beck.

--Joan Rivers

white pampas grasses near body of water at daytime

I'm in nobody's circle, I've always been an outsider.

--Joan Rivers

The Muppets Kermit plush toy on gray sofa

Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.

--Joan Rivers

man riding horse

Is Elizabeth Taylor fat? Her favorite food is seconds.

--Joan Rivers

body of water under clear blue sky painting

My earliest childhood memory was watching my parents loosen the wheels on my stroller.

--Joan Rivers

red textile in close up photography

My mother was a very elegant woman. When a flying saucer landed on the lawn, she turned it over to see if it was Wedgwood.

--Joan Rivers

forest trees

If you're not a wreck in this business, you're not around.

--Joan Rivers

bonfire in forest

With age comes wisdom. You don't need big boobs to be feminine. Look at Liberace.

--Joan Rivers

adult black and white dog leaning on wooden fence

There's always an adjective before my name, and it's never a nice one.

--Joan Rivers

blue and black abstract painting

Having a baby is definitely a labor of love.

--Joan Rivers

man in black bubble hoodie looking at the stars

My body is dropping so fast, my gynecologist wears a hard hat.

--Joan Rivers

sunset

I was a Brownie Scout mother.

--Joan Rivers

raindrops on clear window

Reading should be a pleasure, not a chore.

--Joan Rivers

None

I don't think there'd be a Tina Fey now if I hadn't tried to look good in the beginning.

--Joan Rivers


fawn pug lying on gray blanket

Never buy a fur from a vegetarian.

--Joan Rivers

black Corona typewriter on brown wood planks

You've gotta understand -- when you interview someone, it's not an interrogation. It's not the Nuremberg Trials.

--Joan Rivers


None

With plastic surgery, the general anesthetic is like a black-velvety sleep, and that's what death is -- without waking up to someone clapping and going, 'Joan, wake up, it's all over and you're looking pretty'.

--Joan Rivers

milky way wallpaper

If you're saying the same line 10 times and making it look like you just came up with it, that's acting.

--Joan Rivers

Arizona landscape

I have no sex appeal and it has screwed me up for life; my gynecologist examines me by telephone.

--Joan Rivers

green water in close up photography

My obstetrician was so dumb that when I gave birth he forgot to cut the cord. For a year that kid followed me everywhere. It was like having a dog on a leash.

--Joan Rivers

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

I am never honored. My career is hilarious to me. I am either under the radar or over the radar.

--Joan Rivers

body of water

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God's gift, that's why we call it the present.

--Joan Rivers

adobe wall

I hate old people, I hate children. I think any celebrity that adopts a child from a third world country is a fool.

--Joan Rivers

photography of yellow petaled flowers field

I like colonic irrigation because sometimes you find old jewelry.

--Joan Rivers

yellow green leaf

The fashion magazines are suggesting that women wear clothes that are 'age appropriate.' For me that would be a shroud.

--Joan Rivers

person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

I'm always shocked when I get an invitation. People are always shocked when they see me at a party.

--Joan Rivers

sunset with agave stem

I love Katy Perry! She's very charming.

--Joan Rivers

fawn pug lying on floor

I will work as hard as I do because I love it.

--Joan Rivers

brown leaf tree facing the lake

You know you're getting old when work is a lot less fun and fun is a lot more work.

--Joan Rivers

yellow and red color textile

I have no sex appeal, which kills me. The only way I can ever hear heavy breathing from my husband's side of the bed is when he's having an asthma attack.

--Joan Rivers


forest trees photograph

When a man has a birthday, he takes a day off. When a woman has a birthday, she takes at least three years off.

--Joan Rivers

birds flying under cloudy sky during daytime

When you first get married, they open the car door for you. Eighteen years now...once he opened the car door for me in the last four years -- we were on the freeway at the time.

--Joan Rivers

flying blue and green hummingbird

Keep moving. It's hard for old age to hit a moving target.

--Joan Rivers

man in black jacket and pants jumping on white rock

I now consider it a good day when I don't step on my boobs.

--Joan Rivers

multicolored abstract painting

Having a baby can be a scream.

--Joan Rivers

grayscale photography of pug

I was just reading about the new Lindsay Lohan diet, which is all liquid. 80 proof.

--Joan Rivers

grayscale photography of elephant

Yeah, I read history. But it doesn't make you nice. Hitler read history, too.

--Joan Rivers

castle surrounded fog

A woman went to a plastic surgeon and asked him to make her like Bo Derek. He gave her a lobotomy.

--Joan Rivers


Arizona landscape

Self-pity shortens your life.

--Joan Rivers

brown butterfly perched on flower

I can't wear yellow anymore. It's too matchy-matchy with my catheter.

--Joan Rivers

three person looking stars and milky way

My love life is like a piece of Swiss cheese. Most of it's missing, and what's there stinks.

--Joan Rivers

forest with tall and green trees during daytime

Don't talk to me about gravity. When I get out of bed in the morning, I have to be careful not to step on my breasts.

--Joan Rivers

woman in white dress holding hands with girl in white dress

I have no methods; all I do is accept people as they are.

--Joan Rivers

boy wearing American flag print eyeglasses sticking his mouth open

Looking fifty is great -- if you're sixty.

--Joan Rivers

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

I have never learned how to tell somebody something good about myself; that should be a secret they must find out .

--Joan Rivers

horse

I think any celebrity that adopts a child from a third world country is a fool.

--Joan Rivers

blue and white water surface

Maybe that is why in my comedy I try and puncture the hypocrisy all around us, why it is almost a crusade with me to strip life down to what really is true.

--Joan Rivers


None

The last time I appeared in Las Vegas, they were wearing hoop skirts and Davy Crockett hats, ... But they say 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.' And as far as fashion is concerned, that's a good thing.

--Joan Rivers

silhouette photography of trees and sky

Everyone needs a facelift, except if you are from Brooklyn then you need a nose job !

--Joan Rivers

mountains covered with fog

When I am on E! for the 'Fashion Police,' I only care about being a critic. It loses me many friends.

--Joan Rivers

purple petaled flower on gray surface

Both of my parents got to see me host Carson, thank God. That's all anyone wants: to have their parents see they're going to be all right in life.

--Joan Rivers

None

I didn't want to do 'Fashion Police' because I thought, 'This is stupid, this is beneath me, who wants to talk about fashion?' It has taken off. We are the number one show in England on E! Who knew?

--Joan Rivers

blue and red bird during daytime

Omaha is a little like Newark, without Newark's glamour.

--Joan Rivers

man on running field

Edgar had a heart attack, and I'm to blame. We were making love, and I took the bag off my head.

--Joan Rivers

body of water under blue sky during daytime

I do a lot of lectures on survival. I always say you can't change what happened, so have a little wallow, feel very sorry for yourself, and then get up and move forward. You can't change what happened.

--Joan Rivers

gray slabs

Never floss with a stranger.

--Joan Rivers


silver round analog wall clock

What are people going to do? Fire me? I've been fired before. Not book me? I've been out of work before. I don't care.

--Joan Rivers

lightning strike at night

You know it's time to start using mouthwash when your dentist leaves the room and sends in a canary.

--Joan Rivers

green leafed plant

A study says owning a dog makes you 10 years younger. My first thought was to rescue two more, but I don't want to go through menopause again.

--Joan Rivers

None

Somehow, some way, every person in the arts has to find an accommodation with disappointment and embarrassment. They are the pollen in the air we breathe.

--Joan Rivers

Longer Version:

Somehow, some way, every person in the arts has to find an accommodation with disappointment and embarrassment. They are the pollen in the air we breathe. If you must go into the arts, go into them for yourself alone. On some basic level you must enjoy the act of doing it ... Otherwise, you are going to end up frustrated and unhappy. Recognition in the arts is luck and gravy.


rock formation under starry skies

I could be the Greta Garbo of comedy, very secluded, but Garbo had a man who was beyond rich to support her.

--Joan Rivers

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

I said to my husband, 'Why don't you call out my name when we're making love?' He said, 'I don't want to wake you up.'

--Joan Rivers

brown textile in close up image

All Angelina Jolie wants to do is do good for people. And she was saying to me: If I could just make one person happy, Joan, I'll die satisfied. I said: Easy! Just give Jennifer Aniston back her husband.

--Joan Rivers

silhouette of trees near body of water during sunset

Comedy is learning to be funny, and you learn to be funny in small rooms with young audiences.

--Joan Rivers

photo of fogs during nighttime

It's been so long since I've had sex I've forgotten who ties up whom.

--Joan Rivers

red and white led lighted heart decor

The worst thing that ever happened to me on stage is someone ran forward to tell me they loved me and projectile vomited all over the stage. It was horrible.

--Joan Rivers

city lights from hill

A man can sleep around, no questions asked, but if a woman makes nineteen or twenty mistakes she's a tramp.

--Joan Rivers

brown leaf tree facing the lake

I think I've lost 3lbs -- I'm very, very happy. I thought of it as work and a spa.

--Joan Rivers

beach during daytime

Thank God we're living in a country where the sky's the limit, the stores are open late and you can shop in bed thanks to television.

--Joan Rivers

None

My parents hated me. All I ever heard was, "Why can't you be like your cousin Shelia? Why can't you be like your cousin Shelia?" Shelia had died at birth.

--Joan Rivers

snow covered mountain under blue sky during daytime

Don't cook. Don't clean. No man will ever make love to a woman because she waxed the linoleum.

--Joan Rivers

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

Just remember: Surviving is the best revenge, no matter what the disaster has been.

--Joan Rivers

landscape photography of horizon

I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.

--Joan Rivers

green trees beside body of water during daytime

At my funeral, I want Meryl Streep crying in five different accents.

--Joan Rivers

shallow focus photography of condenser microphone

There is not one female comic who was beautiful as a little girl.

--Joan Rivers

sunset

The revelation that personal truth can be the foundation of comedy, that outrageousness can be cleansing and healthy.

--Joan Rivers

shorebird on pier

I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.

--Joan Rivers

We welcome your feedback, error reports, feature requests, constructive criticism, and quote submissions here: Contact Us.

We wish you a perfect day!