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Joan Rivers’ “False Starts” from Make ‘Em Laugh


“I had a lot of false starts,” says comedian Joan Rivers in this interview outtake. Beginning her storied career in a period when female performers were given rigid expectations, Rivers describes the difficulties she often encountered.

“When I started it was a very difficult thing for a woman to be fairly good looking and funny, it just was not accepted,” Rivers explains. “You were either funny-looking, and then you could do your jokes – that was the tradition I came out of – or you were attractive and you were a singer.”

Conducted on November 16, 2006, this never before seen interview outtake is from the archives of the six-hour PBS comedy series MAKE ‘EM LAUGH: The Funny Business of America.

American Masters presents an In Memoriam tribute broadcast of Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) on Tuesday, September 23, 10:30 p.m.-12 midnight on PBS (check local listings).