Defiant Joan Rivers Bashes Late-Night Hosts, Insists She is 'Blackballed'


Joan Rivers hasn't made much of a secret about her hatred for NBC, from which she says she was banned 25 years ago after striking her doomed late-night hosting deal with Fox. Save for her triumphant return to the network on Celebrity Apprentice, she has been virtually off its air since the Carson era. Furthermore, she told an audience Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival, she's a late-night pariah across the board. As you can imagine, she wasn't happy about it.

"I know [former manager] Billy called The Tonight Show constantly, and we were always turned down," said Rivers, participating in a Q&A following a screening of her documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. "It isn't like we didn't try. I am blackballed from late-night. Letterman had me on once in 30 years. Conan had me on once in 20 years. Leno has never put me on. And I have offered and offered and offered. And now there's a new crop. There's Jimmy Fallon, who loves me. There's Jimmy Kimmel, who loves me. And you know what? F*ck them. Die. I'm on to the next thing. You know? You don't want me, fine. I'll move on and be funny on The View with Joy [Behar]. You know what I mean? You don't want me? Screw you -- your loss. What are you gonna do?"

Not that she's missing much, she seemed to imply to another audience member who asked if anybody had replaced Johnny Carson as late-night's cultural king- (or queen-) maker.

"No," she said. "You know, the great thing about Carson -- and I was so lucky. I did the Carson show in 1967, I think. Or 1968. It was somewhere in there. When you were on The Tonight Show, the next day the world saw you. Now we have, what, 1,000 choices with all the stupid cable shows? Nothing makes anybody anymore. People say, 'I've been on Letterman 19 times,' and you go, 'I didn't see you.' There's no star-maker now."

Rivers took a breath before continuing: "Maybe if you can dance, like Kate Gosselin. Every time they swing her around I'm so worried other kids are going to come flying out of her."