Chris Rock’s Tribute to Joan Rivers: ‘We Liked Johnny Carson, But We Loved Her’

Chris Rock spoke to Variety about his new comedy “Top Five,” which premieres at the Toronto Film Festival on Saturday night. During the interview, he took a moment to reflect on the death of Joan Rivers this week at 81:

“I met Joan Rivers on the worst day of her life. I did the very last ‘The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers’ on Fox. It was my first time on television. Her show just gotten cancelled and her husband had just shot himself in the head. And for whatever reason, she decided to go and do the last show. Boy, did I learn about the show must go on that day.

“She had it together on camera. When we were on commercial, she was losing it a little bit. I can definitely say I saw her start to cry. She kept it together. That was the first time I met her.

“There’s a weird thing that happens in art when you meet somebody and they are 30 years older than you. But if you last in the business long enough, one day you’re the same age–you’re peers. The last few years, I would bump into her and talk comedy. I just loved Joan Rivers. My family, we watched ‘The Tonight Show’ for Rivers. We liked Johnny Carson, but we loved Joan Rivers. I know I’m going to get shit for that. But that’s how it was in Bed-Stuy.”

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