I did not know her. I have never met her. She was not my friend.
But something, many things actually, about her, resonated with me - and so I felt this unspoken kinship with her. Female. Comedian. Widow. Those are all me. Those are all Joan. As a woman, I identified with and respected like hell her ability to be such a fierce lioness in the world of Hollywood and comedy, and her almost insane discipline and work ethic. She was probably the hardest working woman, or maybe even person, in show business. As a comedian, I identified with her courageous and edgy material, and her natural way of taking something tragic or horrible, and somehow using the darkness to find the funny. As a widow from sudden death, I understood the way that losing someone in a flash, changes every cell inside you, forever. In Joan's case, her husband Edgar, ended his own life. Somehow, incredibly, Joan was able to simultaneously make dark and thought-provoking jokes about the suicide (always putting herself as the punchline), and also be a voice and an advocate over the years for those who have lost all hope. I found this quote from her tonight, and it stuck with me for so many reasons:
"Edgar was gone. Melissa wasn’t talking to me, my career was in the toilet, I’d lost my Vegas contracts, I’d been fired from Fox. Carson and NBC had put out such bad publicity about me. I was a pariah. I wasn’t invited anywhere. I was a non-person. At one point, I thought, 'What's the point? This is stupid.'