A Joan Rivers Tribute

How sad I was when I learned that Joan Rivers had died. My husband and I were faithful viewers of her television show, Fashion Police. She kept us in the know about modern entertainers. Her observations about what they were wearing and how they were presenting themselves to the public were usually spot on. Invariably, we would bust out laughing at something she said.

In 2010, I had the unexpected pleasure of sitting behind Ms. Rivers on a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles. I had been working in East Timor, had become sick, needed to return home, and cashed in frequent flyer miles to upgrade to first class to be more comfortable. Before takeoff, Ms. Rivers happily posed with me while another passenger took a photo with my camera. In Los Angeles, I stood next to her in the immigration queue. She was gracious, down to earth, funny, and interested in what I did. I was star-struck and tongue-tied, even though 4 days before I had no problem leading a meeting with the Timorese Minister of Health.

Joan said things that made me uncomfortable. She was sarcastic; sometimes biting and mean. But she also made me laugh out loud, which for my money, is the sign of a great comedian.