Joan Rivers' 10 Most Famous Feuds
No one was spared Rivers' tongue lashings
Joan Rivers spared no one her caustic wit and mercurial temper: not the young, not the old and certainly not the famous.
Her most haunting feud was with Carson, who never spoke to her for leaving The Tonight Show as a permanent guest host to lead her own late-night show on Fox. That didn't stop her from quipping about it. "I'm the only woman in the history of the world who left Johnny Carson and didn't ask him for money," she once said.
Speaking of The Tonight Show, Rivers officially gave former Tonight Show host Jay Leno the finger (literally) the same day she taped an appearance on Jimmy Fallon's version of the show. She never once appeared on the show during Leno's tenure. "Well, Jay, 23 years. I'm still here and you're gonna be selling cars," Rivers told Inside Edition in February after flipping him the bird.
Rihanna and Rivers engaged in a Twitter feud in 2012, when the comedian fired the first shot: "Rihanna confessed to Oprah Winfrey that she still loves Chris Brown. Idiot! Now it's MY turn to slap her." Rihanna responded by tweeting: "@Joan_Rivers wow u really do get slow when you're old huh?" And it went on from there, with Rihanna suggesting Rivers "Slap on some diapers." Rivers eventually attempted to make peace, tweeting "Honey, @Rihanna, everyone knows: If he hit you once, he’ll hit you again. Read the statistics. PS – Love to have you on Fashion Police!"
Rivers recently criticized her fellow E! Network host for her ratings. "She came out saying things like, 'I'm the first woman ever to do a late-night show.' She did this one day, and I followed her on the dais and I said, 'I guess everyone's forgotten the [Johnny] Carson show.' She never spoke to me again," Rivers told The Huffington Post in July. Later, Rivers said she tried to bury the hatchet: "I went to her, I was at a party, I said, 'Let's take a picture together because it'll make the papers.' She walked away," Rivers said in the same interview. "I thought, 'Oh, you stupid girl.' It's a small business, we should all be friends."
There was no love lost between Rivers and Gwyneth Paltrow, who referenced the comedian in a 2013 interview with Harper's Bazaar. Paltrow said she would not try Botox again. "I looked crazy. I looked like Joan Rivers!" Rivers fired back in an April episode of Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, mocking the actress' selection as People's 2013 selection as the world's most beautiful woman, remarking "Voted by Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder!"
This passage from her book Diary of a Mad Diva got Rivers in trouble earlier this year: "Many stars only do one thing well. Of course, the best one-trick-pony is Kristen Stewart, who got a whole career by being able to juggle a director's balls." TMZ reported in June the actress had threatened to sue unless Rivers unless the lines were removed from her book.
One of America's most likeable celebrities criticized Rivers' Fashion Police in 2013 for promoting unhealthy beauty standards. Rivers snapped back, telling the New York Post, "I love that she’s telling everyone how wrong it is to worry about retouching and body image, and meanwhile, she has been touched up more than a choir boy at the Vatican. Look at her posters."
Rivers reportedly angered the Kardashian clan in March by spoofing Kim Kardashian's infamous sex tape for Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best. She even enlisted the sex tape's other star — Ray J — for authenticity purposes. Later, Rivers called baby North West, the heir to the Kim Kardashian-Kanye West gene pool, "ugly" during a standup performance, reported by RadarOnline. Not stopping there, she continued, "That baby is ugly. … I've never seen a six-month-old so desperately in need of a waxing."
This feud never quite materialized, even though Lena Dunham sort of wanted it to. Rivers mocked Dunham in Diary of a Mad Diva, writing the Girls star is the "first fat girl naked on the television" and saying she never wants to see Dunham's "ass, boobs or tattoos” again. Dunham responded on Twitter, writing on June 20, "Joan Rivers is truly the only rivalry I would entertain starting, but she'd enjoy it too much :( peace and love peace and love."
Dunham marked Rivers' death with a series of tweets, writing "Watching Joan Rivers do standup at age 81 was incredible: athletic, jaw-dropping, terrifying, essential. It never stopped. Neither will she." She added that she'd promised comedian Marc Maron she would have a Rivers zinger upon her death, and delivered this one: "That being said, Joan is gone but a piece of her lives on: her nose, because it's made of polyurethane."
Even The Muppets weren't immune. Apparently Miss Piggy and Rivers were once best friends, but it went south. Watch the video to find out what went wrong.
Sept. 5, 7:50 p.m. An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Bravo's Watch What Happens Live as an E! show. THR regrets the error.