Joan Rivers has been known not to pull any punches during her long, abrasive comedy career. The entertainer and QVC queen has been as timid about offending people as her contemporary (and insult master) Don Rickles. Obama is the first gay president, Rivers recently opined, in one of her less controversial pronouncements. (Well what about Buchanan? But that’s a different story.) Rivers pissed off Johnny Carson so much that she went from being his favorite substitute host to persona non grata at The Tonight Show–all in a day. Granted, Carson was sensitive, but he never spoke to her again. So you’d think Rivers could take a shot, since she dishes them out with cutting regularity. But she has trouble turning the other cheek, apparently. (And this is unrelated to the trouble she has moving her face at all.)
Still you better have the goods if you’re going after Joan Rivers. On Saturday CNN aired an interview with the surgically preserved comedian in which she got so pissed at the host Fredricka Whitfield that she quit, walked out. Whitfield, in what was hardly a stretch, had ventured to say Rivers was “mean.” Rivers bit back, “You are not the one to interview a person who does humor, sorry.” Whitfield was trying to make news, of course, also calling out Rivers for wearing fur while also advocating for animal rights. Provoked, Rivers went right at Whitfield’s self-righteousness: “Are you wearing leather shoes?” the comedian asked. “Then shut up.” Touche. You don’t last as long as Joan Rivers–she’s 81–without being quick on your feet. Feet which were likely also clad in comfortable leather.