Joan Rivers Joan Rivers

Tributes have been pouring in for Joan Rivers since the comedienne died on Sept. 4 at the age of 81. Among her fans, Rivers was known for her abrasive humor and brash commentary, but among those closest to her, Rivers was known for her kindness, loyalty and early brand of feminism.

Joan Rivers: Hollywood remembers a comedic legend

The Hollywood Reporter recently compiled comments from two dozen current and former colleagues of Rivers into a career-spanning oral history. Here are the seven most telling excerpts from the piece:

1. On paying dues: "[Rivers' 1973 pilot with Phyllis Diller] was before women really emerged. Phyllis was in San Francisco, and Joan was in New York. The idea of funny women wasn't an idea at all. Women were the butt of the joke. They didn't do the joke. And Phyllis and Joan came in and just changed everything. ... Joan paid her dues before they knew what dues were." — TV producer George Schlatter

2. On bossing men around: "She wasn't funny on the set. It was all business. ... A lot of men on the set were annoyed with her, annoyed with her clarity and her focus. The way [the men] treated her, you saw that they were not pleased to take comments from a woman. But she kept on going and doing it. One man was so furious he told her to get off the set. ... She just ignored him." — Doris Roberts, whom Rivers directed in 1978's Rabbit Test

Could Joan Rivers' death have been prevented?

3. On the early days of The Late Show: "We did try to make Joan comfortable in her new home. We literally built a luxury condominium under Stage Four at the old Fox television center, with seven rooms, including a bedroom, a gym, a bar, a jewel room. And we built the stage and the rake of the [seating] to be as close to The Tonight Show as possible, so she would feel comfortable. ... She wanted her close-up camera to be slightly out of focus so you didn't see any wrinkles. It was kind of funny. You would be in the control room and look at all the cameras, and they would all be sharp as a tack except for her close-up camera." — former Fox executive Garth Ancier

4. On breaking rules:  "One time we had a problem because Joan was saying the word 'sh--' on the air on live television. So I was dispatched to fly to Las Vegas, where she was doing a show, to meet with her and let her know that when she came back to L.A. the S-word was forbidden. The next day Joan got back and went on the air live, and in her opening monologue she said, 'I had a visit from one of the executives at Fox, and he told me that I can't say 's---' on the air anymore. So I'm not going to say 's---' anymore after tonight.'" — former Fox executive Kevin Wendle

5. On her legacy: "When Robin Williams died, people said, 'He was one of the best stand-up comedians of all time.' But when Joan died, it's like 'She was one of the best female comedians of all time.' F--- you! People are always saying, 'Joan Rivers broke down all these barriers for women, blah, blah, blah.' I think that's a disservice. Joan Rivers is one of the greatest stand-up comedians ever to live. No man ever said, 'Yeah, I want to go on after Joan.' ... She was the hippest comedian from the day she started to the day she died. Don't put her in a box; Joan is like Mount Rushmore." — Chris Rock

6. On her Celebrity Apprentice win: "She was 76 years old the day she won Celebrity Apprentice, and she had more energy than these athletes and actors that were less than half her age. Her energy was just unbelievable, and she was stronger at the end than she was at the beginning. She was really a hard worker." — Donald Trump

7. On sharing a flight with her: "All the flight attendants knew her. ... Literally every week she brought them gifts for their kids. They all loved her. And we get on the flight, and Bradley Cooper also was on the plane, and she was like, 'Watch this, the plane is going to crash and they're going to be like, 'Bradley Cooper and two comedians died in a plane crash.' But that's how she saw herself. She just saw herself as a comedian, and she was really, really nice to me. It just felt very cool that she liked me." — Nick Kroll