A newly discovered interview with the late, great comedian Joan Rivers shines a light on a little-known part of her career: a feud with Tonight Show host Johnny Carson that lasted for decades.
While Rivers is remembered for her appearances on reality shows and the QVC network, she was also a pioneering stand up comic.
And in an interview with EW Radio from 2014 that was recently rediscovered, Rivers remembers how tough it was to launch her career in a male-dominated industry.
“I was always going up for the part and not getting it,” she said.
“So I had to work twice as hard to get anywhere, because I wasn’t the pretty blonde … nor was I the very homely, wacko friend. So I think I always worked harder because you had to be noticed more.”
One of the few people in Hollywood who took a chance on Rivers was Johnny Carson, host of The Tonight Show.
Rivers became a writer for the show, a regular guest, and eventually a guest host.
"Johnny was the one person who said, 'Yes, she has talent; yes, she is funny,'" Rivers wrote in 1986. "He was the first person in power who respected what I was doing and realized what I could become. He handed me my career."
But the success Rivers found on Carson's show earned her a chance to host her own talk show on Fox, The Late Show with Joan Rivers.
When she agreed to host the show, Rivers says her relationship with Carson turned ugly.
In the EW Radio interview, Rivers explains that Carson never invited her back on The Tonight Show.
In fact, the host refused to ever speak to her again after she took the job. When she tried to call him and explain her decision, she says he hung up.
"What Johnny should've done—and it's so theatrical, after the whole thing, after I left the show, and after I was fired from Fox, and after Edgar committed suicide, Johnny should've had me back on the show and said to me, 'Where you been?'" she told the hosts.
Edgar was River's husband, Edgar Rosenberg, who committed suicide in 1987. Even that tragedy couldn't bring Carson and Rivers together again.
The feud even manged to outlive Carson, who died in 2005. When Jay Leno took over the Tonight Show, he continued to keep Rivers off the show.
It wasn't until 2014, just months before Rivers's death, when Jimmy Fallon started hosting the show, that she was invited back.
She was one of the all-time greats! Rest in peace Joan!