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The 80-year-old comedian and E! Fashion Police host was banned by Johnny Carson in the 1980s — and aside from a brief appearance on Jimmy Fallon‘s opening night on Feb. 17 — she has not been back on since.
Even after waiting so long to make her triumphant return, Rivers still managed to be late thanks to airport issues and a broken-down Mercedes, which led to a joke about the Germans that made Jimmy wish he had a bleep button. “Welcome back to the network, Joan,” he giggled when he could finally speak again.
“It is very special for me to be back,” she said, before announcing that: “My girlfriend and I decided to get matching vagina rings … mine hurts but I spoke to Bruce Jenner and her’s is fine.”Poor Fallon collapsed into laughter, as his first guest, Russell Crowe, sat smirking like a naughty school boy on the couch next to Rivers.
The host went on to quickly change the subject to his Tonight Show debut, when Rivers came out with a whole host of guests to give him a dollar, and was the first to break out of character and congratulate him. “I love you so much. You were very touched that night, I think that’s because you’re Irish,” she said.
Fallon then pulled out a black and white photo of Rivers and Carson on the former set of The Tonight Show. “This was you in 1965,” he said.
“Second night I was on … My legs look good, the breasts are in the right place,” she gushed.
Rivers had gotten her first big break as Carson’s permanent guest host in fall of 1983 but left just a few years later to launch her own competing program, Fox’s The Late Show With Joan Rivers — a move that Carson would never accept.
“I adored Johnny. In the ’70s, I did opening monologues, I was hosting. The turning point was when I left the show,” Rivers told The Hollywood Reporter last December.
“Everybody left the show to go to do their own shows. Bill Cosby. David Brenner. George Carlin. Everybody. I stuck around for 18 years. And they finally offered me my own late-night show. The first person I called was Johnny, and he hung up on me — and never, ever spoke to me again.”
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