"Here's a woman, a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy," David Letterman sad on Late Show. "And talk about guts — she would come out here and sit in this chair and say some things that were unbelievable, just where you would have to swallow pretty hard ... but it was hilarious ... the force of her comedy was overpowering."
Jimmy Fallon got choked up while honoring Rivers on The Tonight Show, whom he called "one of the funniest people in the world." "She was fearless. She would come out and say what you were thinking but wouldn't say it. You would stop, but she wouldn't stop," Fallon said. "A lot of people thought her humor was mean, but she just wanted to make everyone laugh." After launching a rival show on Fox against Johnny Carson, Rivers had been banned from The Tonight Show for 26 years until Fallon welcomed her back on his first show in February.
Jimmy Kimmel praised Rivers' passion on Live, noting how the comedian loved her job so much that she "never wanted to stop." The host also shared his favorite interview with Rivers, in which she discussed how much she hoped her grandson would be gay so that he'd care she knew Judy Garland.
Conan O'Brien and guest Chris Hardwick each shared their personal memories of the star on Conan, with the host recalling Rivers' guest-hosting gigs on The Tonight Show with an unparalleled fondness. "When she did, it was an event. Everybody in the country would talk about it the next day," O'Brien said. "People would gather in the living room. Everyone would howl with laughter and the next day, they would talk about because at that time, she was so outrageous and her comedy — it felt so out of the bounds and people were just blown away."
"It's a sad day for us in the comedy community," Craig Ferguson began onThe Late Late Show. "We lost Joan Rivers today, one of the all-time greats. Yes, I know, it's terribly sad. I just hope that when Joan meets the man upstairs, He is wearing something she can insult."
Seth Meyers recalled how when Rivers appeared on Late Night last month, she told "more jokes faster" than anyone he'd ever had as a guest. "I wish she were here right now, because if she were here right now, she would make a joke about how she just passed away — and she would get away with it, because it would be really funny," he added.
"There are very few people in my business that you could say were actually groundbreaking talents. Joan Rivers was one of them," Jon Stewart said onThe Daily Show, before playing a memorable clip of Rivers' stand-up.