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Joan Rivers On Her Own Funeral: 'I Want Paparazzi'


Joan Rivers knew what she wanted for her memorial service. I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene, she once wrote. I don't want some rabbi rambling on. I want Meryl Streep crying in five different accents.

We got to interview her a few times. Joan Rivers really was unruly and outrageous. She was also hilarious and we can reveal it now - nice. For someone who joked about how much plastic surgery she'd had done, she was genuine.


JOAN RIVERS: I am so lucky. I always said, if I can make a living - just make a living, pay my car payment by being in the business; writing and performing, I'm lucky. And that's - to this day, that's what I always think.

SIMON: But Joan Rivers had a struggle just to get on stage, a woman who made audiences squeal as well as laugh. Her husband took his life. She found out in a phone message, leaving his daughter and wife to wonder why and what if.


RIVERS: So what makes me laugh is, of course, the absurd, the horror - anything that upsets me. I talk about how I hate children because I really love them. You know, so I reverse a lot of stuff.

SIMON: You hate children? You love your daughter.

RIVERS: I adore my daughter. But it kind of hurt when she started to cry when she found out she wasn't adopted.

SIMON: And when Joan Rivers died this week at the age of 81, her daughter Melissa Rivers said, my mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh.


RIVERS: I say exactly what I think and very often, it's totally politically incorrect. And totally - I get always chastised for it. And I also think - serious for a second?

SIMON: Yeah.

RIVERS: Life is so tough. I don't know how old you are, but I have seen so much in a wink. One phone call and your life is changed forever. We all know that. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.