50+ Unforgettable Joan Rivers Quotes On Life, Love, And Comedy

by Team Scary Mommy
Originally Published: 
joan rivers quotes
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The word “icon” is thrown around much too easily these days, but without a question, Joan Rivers was an icon of comedy. Her quippy, acerbic, and revolutionary style of comedy helped shape the landscape we know and enjoy now. A world where female comedians like Amy Schumer, Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, and Ali Wong can freely talk about sex, relationships, double standards, and call their male counterparts out on their bullshit.

But it didn’t come easily. Rivers crawled and clawed her way up in the world of comedy dominated by men when she first hit the scene in the 1960s, becoming the first woman to host a late-night network television show. Over a storied career that spanned nearly six decades, Rivers perfected her own style of comedy — a style that was often abrasive and at times even abusive. But in her own way she also added to the cultural conversations around grief and loss, plastic surgery, sexuality, inequality in marriage, ideals of beauty, and so much more.

Rivers once famously said, “If you’re going to die, die interesting.” But the life she led was compelling and full of accomplishments. If you’re looking for a laugh, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up the best Rivers quotes and jokes on life, love, and everything in between.

Interested in quotes from other sassy and confident women. Check out our quote page for Cardi B, Samantha Jones, Leslie Knope, and more!


1. “A man can sleep around, no questions asked, but if a woman makes nineteen or twenty mistakes she’s a tramp.”

2. “I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.”

3. “It’s been so long since I made love I can’t even remember who gets tied up.”

4. “I am not into exercise. If God wanted me to bend over he would put diamonds on the floor”

5. “I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door — or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.”

6. “I blame my mother for my poor sex life. All she told me was ‘the man goes on top and the woman underneath.’ For three years my husband and I slept in bunk beds.”

7. “The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it.”

8. “People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.”

9. “Listen. I wish I could tell you it gets better. But, it doesn’t get better. You get better.”

10. “Ginger did everything Fred did, only backwards and in high heels!”

11. “It’s obvious that women are smarter than men. Think about it – diamonds are a girl’s best friend; man’s best friend is a dog.”

12. “Forty for you, sixty for me. And equal partners we will be.”

13. “If you have more than a couple of kids, you’re not parents—you’re hoarders. And hoarding is a disorder, not a gift.”

14. “The only good thing about age is that sooner or later all of the SOBs who dumped you are going to die.”

15. “If you’re going to die, die interesting! Is there anything worse than a boring death? (Other than a Charlie Rose marathon on PBS?) I think not. When my time comes I’m going to go out in high style. I have no intention of being sick or lingering or dragging on and on and boring everyone I know.”

16. “The act of creation fascinates me. You can only sit with blank page and wait. You cannot press a button, cannot program it.”

17. “Everything comes out of smoke and mist and nothingness, a mystical happening…”

18. “I hate weddings. Weddings are nothing more than catering with virgins. Sorry, in the old days it was virgins; now it’s baby mommas.”

19. “I have never learned how to tell somebody something good about myself; that should be a secret they must find out .”

20. “Laughing made me feel safe. I was not going to be enveloped by the seediness that coated this world like dust.”

21. “Maybe that is why in my comedy I try and puncture the hypocrisy all around us, why it is almost a crusade with me to strip life down to what really is true.”

22. “Humor doesn’t come out of the good times, it comes out of the anger, pain, and sorrow. Always the anger.”

23. “The revelation that personal truth can be the foundation of comedy, that outrageousness can be cleansing and healthy…”

24. “When you begin to losing your audience, do not get loud; get quiet, make them find you and come back to you.”

25. “I do a lot of lectures on survival. I always say you can’t change what happened, so have a little wallow, feel very sorry for yourself, and then get up and move forward. You can’t change what happened.”

26. “Keep moving. It’s hard for old age to hit a moving target.”

27. “Life is a movie, and you’re the star. Give it a happy ending.”

28. “When you can laugh at yourself no one can ever make a fool of you.”

29. “Marriage isn’t a contest to see who is most often right. Marriage requires being what the Japanese call ‘the wise bamboo,’ which means you bend so you don’t break. Treat your spouse with the flexibility and respect you would give to a top client. Think how we treat clients; We smile, we are polite, we listen to their ideas. Never forget that your spouse is your most important client.”

30. “Nothing is yours permanently so you better enjoy it while it’s happening.”

31. “At my funeral, I want Meryl Streep crying in five different accents.”

32. “Don’t tell your kids you had an easy birth or they won’t respect you. For years I used to wake up my daughter and say, ‘Melissa you ripped me to shreds. Now go back to sleep.'”

33. “A child of one can be taught not to do certain things such as touch a hot stove, turn on the gas, pull lamps off their tables by their cords, or wake Mommy before noon.”

34. “My mother could make anybody feel guilty — she used to get letters of apology from people she didn’t even know.”

35. “My daughter and I are very close. We speak every single day and I call her every day and I say the same thing, ‘Pick up, I know you’re there.’ And she says the same thing back, ‘How’d you get this new number?'”

36. “Don’t follow any advice, no matter how good, until you feel as deeply in your spirit as you think in your mind that the counsel is wise.”

37. “I enjoy life when things are happening. I don’t care if it’s good things or bad things. That means you’re alive.”

38. “Part of my act is meant to shake you up. It looks like I’m being funny, but I’m reminding you of other things. Life is tough, darling. Life is hard. And we better laugh at everything; otherwise, we’re going down the tube.”

39. “I have no methods; all I do is accept people as they are.”

40. “I was smart enough to go through any door that opened.”

41. “I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.”

42. “The fun of working on the road means stealing from hotels. I’ve been doing it for so long, I have a set of towels from the Ark.”

43. “Thank God we’re living in a country where the sky’s the limit, the stores are open late and you can shop in bed thanks to television.”

44. “There’s no one to call up and have the same memory bank. … Nobody wants to hear that you met Harry Truman. … I met Harry Truman. … But you know what I mean? Nobody’s interested. They want to know you met Rihanna.”

45. “I must admit I am nervous about getting Alzheimer’s. Once it hits, I might tell my best joke and never know it.”

46. “Love may be a many-splendored thing, but hate makes the world go round. If you think I’m kidding, just watch the six o’clock news. The first twenty-nine minutes are all about dictators and murderers and terrorists and maniacs and, worst of all, real housewives.”

47. “Diets, like clothes, should be tailored to you.”

48. “I made so many jokes about poor Russell Crowe, he once knocked on my dressing room door, and told me he wanted to go out on this chat show we were on to laugh with me. Now he’s ruined it. I can’t make another joke about him.”

49. “I’ve never thought of it consciously… I say exactly what I think, and very often it’s totally politically incorrect. I get, always, chastised for it. So it’s not shtick. But I think I’m the one who says, ‘The emperor has no clothes.”

50. “I never dwell on what happened. You can’t change it. Move forward. Don’t waste your energy on being angry at something that somebody did six months ago or a year ago. It’s over. Done. Move forward.”

51. “I’m a New York girl. I come out of New York theater.”

52. “As comedians, we are all laughing because life is so horrible. Life is so difficult, and I cope with it by making jokes about absolutely everything.”

53. “My eyes opened, and the first thing I thought of when I could put thoughts together was I want to be in show business. Never wanted anything else. I used to sneak in the costume room at my nursery school and smell the costumes.”

54. “Being Jewish has always been important to me. I now have 6M tattooed on the inside of my left arm. It’s only a half-inch, but every time anyone sees it, they’re reminded of the six million who perished, and so am I.”

55. “Everyone forgets comedians are actors. There’s no question about it. A Robin Williams cannot say the same line every night for 40 weeks and make it sound fresh unless he’s doing an acting job.”

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