Because there would have been no joke in a routine outpatient procedure gone wrong until Joan Rivers sat up in her hospital bed, found the nearest piece of stray paper, and jotted it down herself, we kept this image in our mind and hoped the indefatigable 81-year-old comedian would emerge from this latest challenge with a slew of new gags she could’ve added to her overflowing card catalog of hilarity. Sadly, she passed away today in her hometown of New York City.
In this Trunkworthy clip from Louis C.K.’s FX show Louie, Rivers mentors the demoralized Louie, who has found himself booked in the small lounge of a casino while the legend Rivers performs in the much larger room. Here she is absolutely playing herself: her work ethic, which has prevailed through the highs and lows of her decades-long career, and the understanding—and for Louie, confirmation—that what they do is not a job, but a calling. Where the scene goes next is brilliant and unexpected, as Louie, let’s say, is overcome, but the humor (including her line, “Nobody likes necrophiliacs”) is absolutely in line with Rivers’ comedic genius, and how she used comedy to deal with encroaching mortality.