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Joan Rivers wasn’t one to hold back. The comedian and Fashion Police host was never shy about harshly critiquing Hollywood, politicians and foreign leaders, living and dead. She cracked jokes at the expense of Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Lawrence, Whitney Houston, President Obama and Princess Diana, among others.
As The Hollywood Reporter looks back at the legendary, tart-tongued comedian, who died Thursday at 81, check out some of her best insults, both clever and shockingly offensive.
Sarah Palin: When TMZ asked Rivers her thoughts on Sarah Palin, including whether the former Alaska governor should be president, Rivers started her remarks with what seemed like glowing praise, before going in for the kill. “I think that Sarah Palin is an amazing woman. I think she represents everything a strong woman should be,” Rivers said. “And she should go someplace, like to another planet, and show them, and get out of our face.”
Watch more of her comments about Palin below.
Tommy Lee Jones: It’s fairly apparent to anyone who’s watched Tommy Lee Jones at an awards show or on the red carpet that he’s not the most playful person. Rivers was a bit more blunt in her assessment of Jones in the below interview, saying, “He makes Hitler look warm and fuzzy.”
Robin Quivers: Rivers unleashed a string of insults when she fired back at those who roasted her in her 2009 Comedy Central roast, but one of her most memorable slams was directed at Howard Stern‘s sidekick Robin Quivers. Claiming that Quivers often mentions that her father molested her, Rivers said, “You should be thrilled he paid any attention to you at all. I saw you backstage, bitch. You look like a f—in’ mudslide.” Watch the video below to see her full speech, including a few other choice slams for Gilbert Gottfried and Brad Garrett.
Whitney Houston: Rivers even poked fun at dead stars, including Whitney Houston, writing of the late singer in here 2012 book I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me, “I hate Houston. It’s crawling with bugs. Oh, wait, that’s Whitney Houston; I’m sorry, my bad. (Can I just mention that Whitney looked fabulous at the Grammys? She was in mahogany from head to toe.)”
Heidi Klum: The Jewish comedian drew the wrath of the Anti-Defamation League when she joked about Heidi Klum’s 2013 Oscars dress by saying, “The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.” She later defended the remark on HLN’s Showbiz Tonight, saying “It’s a joke, number one. Number two, it is about the Holocaust. This is the way I remind people about the Holocaust. I do it through humor.”
Jennifer Lawrence: Rivers took the below shot at Jennifer Lawrence on Twitter after the Oscar winner dissed E’s Fashion Police.
WAIT! It just dawned on me why Jennifer Lawrence fell on her way up to the stage to get her Oscar. She tripped over her own arrogance.
— Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) November 12, 2013
Lindsay Lohan: Rivers often went after one of Hollywood’s favorite punching bags, Lindsay Lohan, tweeting the below allusion to the troubled actress’ many court appearances.
Lindsay Lohan said she wouldn’t mind being under oath because she thought Oath was a Norwegian ski instructor.
— Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) July 9, 2010
Kristen Stewart: In her latest (and final) book Diary of a Mad Diva, Rivers joked about Kristen Stewart’s affair with Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, writing, “The best one-trick-pony is Kristen Stewart, who got a whole career by being able to juggle a director’s balls.”
President and Michelle Obama: In an impromptu interview with a reporter in New York City two months ago, Rivers went after both President Obama and First Lady Michelle. When asked whether the U.S. will ever see a gay president, Rivers responded, “We already have it with Obama, so let’s just calm down.” She then added, “You know Michelle is a tranny … a transgender. We all know.”
Princess Diana: Even the beloved late royal Princess Diana wasn’t off limits for Rivers. On a British-themed episode of Fashion Police, Rivers shocked U.K. viewers when she alluded to Diana’s fatal car accident, saying, “If you ever want to go to Paris, fly; don’t take the tunnel.”
Elizabeth Taylor: The late actress was one of Rivers’ favorite targets, with the comedian often joking about Taylor’s weight. “Is Elizabeth Taylor fat? Her favorite food is seconds,” Rivers once said.
Jennifer Aniston: Rivers slammed Jennifer Aniston (and Demi Moore and Helena Bonham Carter) in a 2011 interview with US Weekly‘s website, saying of the former Friends star, “I’m so bored with her and her stupid movies,” she said. “They’re all the same. I don’t know how they get financed.”
Jay Leno: At the 2009 TCA press tour, Rivers took aim at NBC’s decision to let Jay Leno host his short-lived 10 p.m. talk show after he relinquished The Tonight Show to Conan O’Brien. “I think it’s brilliant that Leno is at 10 p.m., because America can get bored more easily and go to sleep earlier,” she said. “When was the last time you heard, ‘Did you hear what Leno said last night?’ It will be nice for the Midwest because their crops will be greener.”
Britney Spears: “I can’t wait for [Britney Spears’] career to be over so she can serve me coffee at a 7-11. She’s such white trash.”
Marie Osmond: “Marie Osmond is so pure, not even Moses could even part her knees.”
Taylor Swift: “Taylor Swift’s knees have been together more than Melissa and I.”
Boy George: “Boy George is all England needs — another queen who can’t dress.”
Yoko Ono: “If I found Yoko Ono floating in my pool, I’d punish my dog.”
Adele: “I met Adele! What’s her song, ‘Rolling in the Deep’? She should add ‘fried chicken.’ “
Justin Bieber: “I said Justin Bieber looked like a little lesbian — and I stand by it: He’s the daughter Cher wishes she’d had.”
Mick Jagger: “Mick Jagger could French kiss a moose. He has child-bearing lips.”
Madonna: “Madonna is so hairy. When she lifted her arm, I thought it was Tina Turner in her armpit.”
Michael Jackson: “The whole Michael Jackson thing was my fault. I told him to date only twenty-eight-year-olds. Who knew he would find 20 of them?”
Part of this story originally appeared on billboard.com.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek