A new documentary about the late Joan Rivers will premiere on April 1 on New York’s PBS WNET Thirteen, Variety has learned exclusively. Titled “Joan Rivers: Exit Laughing,” the doc will feature other notable comedians such as Sarah Silverman, Whitney Cummings, Kathy Griffin, Dick Cavett, Don Rickles, Lily Tomlin, Marlo Thomas and more as they reflect on Rivers’ comedic legacy.
“Exit Laughing” is the first in a planned series of documentary films centered around the grand masters of comedy (and the future inductees of the Comedy Hall of Fame) as an initiative to bring arts programming for comedy to public television. The film will explore how comedy grows from one generation to the next, while celebrating Rivers’ innovation and influence. The historical program will cover Rivers’ journey, process, insights into the field and impact on other comedians.
“Comedy exists today because it was built on the shoulders of past generations of comedians who have pioneered the vast language of comedy and grown its power as an engine for social change,” said Jeffrey Pancer, the curator of the Comedy Hall of Fame’s archives. “As such, Joan Rivers’ legacy and impact has been defined by other comedians: the artists that she knew and those she influenced, offering a unique perspective from the comedians that create the history of the field.”