Chelsea Handler’s whole career is basically channeling Joan Rivers. Her version is a little hipper – she basically just rebooted Joan’s sensibility and rhythm in a younger prettier possibly sluttier body.
History should be kinder to Joan Rivers than it has been. She was brilliant for a long time before she made the decision that warped her career. It wasn’t like she wasn’t good enough to host her own Late Night talk show, she’d been doing it during Johnny Carson’s night’s off for years.
America had this religious obsession with Johnny Carson in the late ’70s early ’80s. It was for some reason seen as disloyal to our patriotic history to compete against Johnny Carson. The one guy who had tried it was from Canada – Alan Thicke – and people treated him worse for his efforts than they did the Ayatollah Khomeini.
When Joan did it, it was seen as almost stabbing her beloved father in the back. There’s no way she could have been successful, no matter how good she was, she was treated like a traitor.
You have to give Carson credit – he had things working for him. He only works like 3 or 4 days a week and never on Mondays. He’s making all the money because he owned the show. His sloth should be inviting every comic in the country to try and challenge him, but instead he’s so worshiped that to do so would make the entire country wish the Black Plague upon you.
Carson drank, smoked, made it with the ladies and he still was as popular as Tiger Woods at his apex. For some reason, America said, “Johnny’s our kind of guy. He grew up in Nebraska. He’s a good boy.”
So Joan’s move was just an epically bad decision and it also sadly gave us Jay Leno. Imagine how angry America was at her for competing against Johnny – her husband committed suicide and they still didn’t forgive her.