The comedy world had a big scare earlier today when word came down that Joan Rivers stopped breathing during a throat procedure at a New York clinic and was rushed to the hospital. She was initially in critical condition and there were reports that her heart had stopped, though E! is now reporting that she’s been upgraded to stable.
The comedian’s career dates all the way back to the Greenwich Village coffee house scene of the early 1960s, where she regularly worked alongside Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby and many other future icons. Writings jobs on The Ed Sullivan Show and Candid Camera built to appearances on The Tonight Show and eventually her own talk show in the 1980s.
At age 81, she works much harder than comedians a third her age. She spends half her time in Los Angeles, where she films Fashion Police for E! as well as her reality show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? and her web show In Bed with Joan. The rest of her time is spent in her hometown of New York, where she frequently plays a midtown nightclub, and on the road performing stand-up. Her near-psychotic work ethic was chronicled in the fantastic 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.
Here’s a look back at Joan’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on April 23rd, 1967. She was 33 at the time, and much of her act revolved around the fact she was still single. “When I was 21 my mother said, ‘Only a doctor for you,'” Rivers said. “When I was 22 she said, ‘Alright a lawyer or C.P.A.’ At 24 she said, ‘Grab a dentist.’ At 26 she said, ‘Anything.’ If he could make it to the door, he was mine. ‘What do you mean you don’t like him? He’s intelligent. He found the bell himself! What do you want?'”