Why Kathryn Hahn Is No Longer Playing Joan Rivers in Showtime's The Comeback Girl

A month after Kathryn Hahn was tapped to play beloved comedian Joan Rivers in a new limited series, the project was tabled. Find out why!

By Alyssa Ray Oct 26, 2021 10:16 PMTags
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Call the (fashion) police: The Joan Rivers limited series is no longer happening.

On Tuesday, Oct. 26, Variety reported that the highly anticipated series—called The Comeback Girl—starring Kathryn Hahn as the legendary comedian had been tabled at Showtime. The series was set to be directed and executive produced by Greg Berlanti, who is best known for producing TV hits such as The Flight Attendant, You, Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and more.

According to the publication, there was an issue with securing the rights to tell Joan's story. Specifically, producers didn't secure the life rights that are currently held by Joan's daughter, Melissa. Without this permission, the series wouldn't have been able to use any of Joan's best jokes or her famous catchphrase, "Can we talk?"

This update is, of course, surprising, as Kathryn's planned portrayal of Joan was announced just last month. The casting garnered quite the reaction, including Sarah Silverman's disapproval of Kathryn, a Catholic-raised actress, booking the role.

"One could argue, for instance, that a Gentile," Sarah said on her podcast, "playing Joan Rivers correctly would be doing what is actually called 'Jewface.''

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Fans of Kathryn shouldn't be too worried, since the actress is booked-and-busy thanks to her upcoming roles in Apple TV+'s The Shrink Next Door with Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd and the Daniel Craig-starring film Knives Out 2. Oh, and don't forget, there's that WandaVision spin-off in the works.

There's no denying that Joan's legacy has had an impact on Hollywood, with the late comedian seemingly inspiring Jean Smart's Emmy-winning role in Hacks.

Joan passed away in 2014 following a throat operation in New York City. The celebrated funny lady, who co-hosted Fashion Police for E!, was 81 years old.

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Her daughter, Melissa, confirmed in a statement at the time, "It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother. She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother."

E! News and NBCUniversal went on to pay tribute to the legendary performer, noting, "She was unapologetic and fiercely dedicated to entertaining all of us and has left an indelible mark on the people that worked with her and on her legions of fans."

You can learn more about Joan's incredible career here.

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