Thanks for the Laughs, Joan Rivers: 47 of Her Greatest Jokes

We'll always have the one-liners from the comedian that brought a smile to our faces

By Bruna Nessif Sep 04, 2015 1:00 PMTags
Joan RiversBrian Bowen Smith/E!

UPDATE: It's unreal that Joan Rivers has been gone for a year, not least because she left behind a body of work for five careers, let alone the one she crafted out of wit, intelligence, timing, heart and fearlessness. To name just a handful of ingredients, of course. In honor of the late comedienne, enjoy 47 of her fiercest zingers.


The world has lost yet another star who was the source of many laughs.

Comic legend Joan Rivers died today after being taken off life support, E! News confirms, following complications from a recent throat operation in New York City on Aug. 28. She was 81.

Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, released the following statement: "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."

She added: "Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated. My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."

While we continue to try and grasp the idea of a world without Joan Rivers, we are grateful that she has left us with numerous cracks that continue to bring a smile to our face:

1. "Grandchildren can be f--king annoying. How many times can you go ‘And the cow goes moo and the pig goes oink'? It's like talking to a supermodel."

2. "I was dating a transvestite, and my mother said, 'Marry him, you'll double your wardrobe.'"

3. "She's so hairy—when she lifted up her arm I thought it was Tina Turner in her armpit."

4. "If you don't want gays in the military, make the uniforms ugly."

5. "I was getting dressed and a Peeping Tom looked in the window, took a look and pulled down the shade."

6. "Why women don't blink during foreplay…not enough time."

7. "A man can sleep around, no questions asked, but if a woman makes 19 or 20 mistakes, she's a tramp."

8. "My best birth control now is just to leave the lights on."

9. "The fashion magazines are suggesting that women wear clothes that are ‘age appropriate.' For me that would be a shroud."

10. On Donatella Versace: "That skin! She looks like something you'd hang off your door in Africa."

11. On Queen Elizabeth II: "Gowns by Helen Keller. Nice looking. Not at all like her stamp. Wears her watch over the glove, though—tacky."

Brian Bowen Smith/E!

12. "My love life is like a piece of Swiss cheese; most of it's missing, and what's there stinks."

13. "You know you're getting old when you buy a sexy sheer nightgown and don't know anyone who can see through it."

14. "You know you've reached middle age when you're cautioned to slow down by your doctor, instead of by the police."

15. "The first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it."

16. "There's no one to call up and have the same memory bank...Nobody wants to hear that you met Harry Truman...I met Harry Truman...But you know what I mean? Nobody's interested. They want to know you met Rihanna."

17. "I must admit I am nervous about getting Alzheimer's. Once it hits, I might tell my best joke and never know it."

18. "At my funeral, I want Meryl Streep crying in five different accents."

19. "When a man has a birthday, he takes a day off. When a woman has a birthday, she takes at least three years off."

20. "I hate housework. You make the beds, you do the dishes, and six months later, you have to start all over again."

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21. "Had a friend who is going through menopause come by for lunch today. Her hot flash was so bad, it steam-cleaned my carpet."

22. "The funniest [writer] in person but rather boring on the page is, hands down, Leo Tolstoy. If I hear one more time: ‘How many czars does it take to change a light bulb? None; they didn't have them in those days,' I think I'll scream!"

23. "The book I wish I'd never written is Joan Rivers's Pop-Up Guide to Gynecology."

24. "We all mourn in our own way. I mourn with a great steak."

25. "Trust your husband, adore your husband, and get as much as you can in your own name."

26. "Joan Collins told a reporter that she hasn't had plastic surgery; come on… she's had more tucks than a motel bedsheet!"

27. "Is she fat? Her favorite food is seconds."

28. "I was so ugly that my parents sent my picture to Ripley's Believe It or Not: they sent it back and said, 'We don't believe it.'"

29. "She's so fat, she's my two best friends."

30. "My body is dropping so fast, my gynecologist wears a hard hat."

31. "I have no sex appeal; if my husband didn't toss and turn, we'd never have had the kid."

32. "I don't exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor."

33. "Thank God we're living in a country where the sky's the limit, the stores are open late and you can shop in bed thanks to television."

34. "I was born in 1962 and the room next to me was 1963."

35. "I'm no cook. When I want lemon on chicken, I spray it with Pledge."

36. "I am definitely going to watch the Emmys this year! My makeup team is nominated for Best Special Effects."

37. "At my age an affair of the heart is a bypass!"

38. "A child can be taught not to do certain things, such as touch a hot stove, pull lamps off of tables, and wake Mommy before noon."

39. "Love may be a many-splendored thing, but hate makes the world go round. If you think I'm kidding, just watch the six o'clock news. The first twenty-nine minutes are all about dictators and murderers and terrorists and maniacs and, worst of all, real housewives."

40. "Half of all marriages end in divorce—and then there are the really unhappy ones."

41. "A study says owning a dog makes you 10 years younger. My first thought was to rescue two more, but I don't want to go through menopause again."

E! Entertainment

42. "People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made."

43. "I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I'd look like without plastic surgery."

44. "The fun of working on the road means stealing from hotels. I've been doing it for so long, I have a set of towels from the Ark."

45. "There are many self-help books by Ph.D.s, but I hold a different degree: an I.B.T.I.A.—I've Been Through It All. This degree comes not on parchment but gauze, and it entitles me to tell you that there is a way to get through any misfortune."

46. "You know you're getting old when work is a lot less fun and fun is a lot more work."

47. "Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century."

(Originally published Sept. 4, 2014, at 2:36 p.m. PT)