Joan Rivers' death one year ago today is still firmly juxtaposed in our minds with the word untimely. Not to mention unreal.
At 81, she was as spry as could be, sharp as a tack and maintaining a work schedule that still provokes a little anxiety when we think about it. She had an indefatigable spirit and was always cracking wise about one taboo subject after another. And as much as she was known for poking fun at others, Joan made sure that she was always right in her own line of fire as well.
There are countless reasons to keep Joan in our thoughts forever, let alone move on with life under the assumption that she most definitely is out there, somewhere, making those lucky enough to be in that circle of heaven laugh. (Oh, the Trump jokes we're missing out on, for shame...) She not only helped blaze a career trail for fellow comedians, but she was also fearless and a stellar example of someone who loved her life's work.
Joan, of course, was also considered part of the Hollywood rite of passage—get a role, go to an awards show, get made fun of by Joan. Being picked apart by the Fashion Police host and red carpet game-changer meant that you had arrived.
And touchingly, once Joan was gone, the stories about what she meant to people were countless, with seemingly everyone who had ever crossed paths with her or who just watched her on TV having a memorable moment to share. Ultimately, that was just about everybody.
In honor of the talent that we were deprived of way too soon, here are 26 pitch-perfect tributes to Joan Rivers from the surreal year without her that just passed:
From the stars who took their lumps and laughed:
"I can't even comprehend the fact that I was @Joan_Rivers last best dressed on @e_FashionPolice. It was a dream come true. Thank you Joan." —Sarah Hyland
"RIP Joan Rivers... You made fun of my boobies just last week and it was an HONOR. Thanks for making so many people laugh here on Earth." —Demi Lovato
"What's the point of wearing all these dumb costumes if Joan's not here to rip them apart RIP Joan Rivers. You are a one of a one." —Katy Perry
"The one time I met Joan Rivers she said to me: "I have no idea how you get laid in those outfits". Legend." Alexa Chung
"RIP Joan Rivers. Being publicly told that my dress is hideous will never feel quite as awesome. You will be truly missed." —Anna Kendrick
"Dear Joan , 12 years being the butt of your jokes ...Then we met, had a laugh and I learned you were something amazing . Shine on." —Russell Crowe
"She was always very nice to me and even when she wasn't I still laughed, she still made me laugh." Reese Witherspoon
From the subsequent generations of comedians who came up in her wake:
"What a full life. Every woman in comedy is indebted to her. She was there at the beginning and funny to the end." —Amy Poehler
"Joan was hilarious and relevant all the way to the end. She inspired every comic I know and we will carry her with us and quote her jokes forever." Amy Schumer
"Besides being a pioneer for women in comedy—for everyone in comedy—she was a very lucky person because Joan loved her job so much. She never wanted to stop, and she didn't have to stop because she was so great at it." —Jimmy Kimmel
"She loved with her whole heart and she also hated with her whole heart, which I loved." —Sarah Silverman
Jemal Countess/Getty Images
"Watching Joan Rivers do standup at age 81 was incredible: athletic, jaw-dropping, terrifying, essential. It never stopped. Neither will she." —Lena Dunham
"She would come out here and sit in this chair and say some things that were unbelievable, just where you would have to swallow pretty hard and twice, but it was hilarious. And she stood behind her jokes, and to my knowledge, would say these things and never apologize because she always felt, 'Hey, I'm a comedian. These are jokes. There are no victimless jokes.' And she was harder on herself than anyone, really. She would tell these God-awful jokes about herself." David Letterman
"She wanted to know how everything worked and how people were communicating now and she wanted to understand digital content. I adored her and she was lovely and a pioneer. She never stopped working—such an inspiration." —Chris Hardwick
"She wrote every day, and to write every day for that long is just so impressive to me. [She was] the nicest person in the world when I got to talk to her backstage...I wish she were here right now, because if she were here right now, she would make a joke about how she just passed away—and she would get away with it, because it would be really funny." —Seth Meyers
"I just hope that when Joan meets the man upstairs, he is wearing something she can insult." —Craig Ferguson
"I feel very lucky that I knew Joan Rivers and I feel very sad that she's gone. She was a great comedian and a wonderful person. I never saw someone attack a stage with so much energy. She was a controlled lightning bolt. She was a prolific and unpredictable, joyful joke writer. She loved comedy. She loved the audience. She was a great actress and should have done that more. She loved living and working. She was kind. She was real. She was brave. She was funny and you just wanted to be around her. I looked up to her. I learned from her. I loved her. I liked her. And I already miss her very much. It really f--king sucks that she had to die all of a sudden." —Louis C.K.
She always had new material. A lot of comedians, they hit their later part of their career and they rest a little bit. They do a greatest hits act. She was always fresh. She always had a new take on new subjects, and I don't know anybody else you could say was relevant into their eighties." —Jeff Ross
From her devoted friends, colleagues and admirers:
"She was not only the funniest woman I have ever met but was incredibly loving, honest, and lived her life with no regrets. Working with her for the last 13 years has been one of the true joys of my life. She could put a smile on your face, instantly, no matter how hard your day was." —Giuliana Rancic
"Had the pleasure of working with #JoanRivers .... She made me laugh, made me blush and gave me her watch... What a woman!" —Cat Deeley
"Unapologetically offensive, kind, tough, complicated, irrepressible, supremely energetic...and above all, bloody funny." —Piers Morgan
"Thanks for the laughs @Joan_Rivers ! The last woman to bed me!" Lance Bass
"Not only did she make us laugh, she made us think." —President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, as relayed in a story told by Melissa Rivers about the condolences she received from the first couple.
Joan won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio version of her final memoir, Diary of a Mad Diva.
Benjamin Schwartz /The New Yorker - Condé Nast
The New Yorker made sure to pay homage to Rivers, both an icon and a Brooklyn-born girl.
And The Simpsons, still pretty much the arbiter of what matters in pop culture, made sure to put Joan in her place as well: A box seat in Heaven's VIP section.