Joan Rivers Banned from Late Night, Calls Leno ‘Not Funny’

by | July 23, 2010 at 9:55 AM | The Late Show with David Letterman, TV News

Joan Rivers on 'The Late Show' (Photo: CBS)

Joan Rivers on 'The Late Show' (Photo: CBS)

Joan Rivers brought a surprise guest along with her when she appeared as a guest Thursday night on
The Late Show with David Letterman.’

Rivers carried on stage a small container holding the ashes of her late husband Edgar Rosenberg.

“Is that legal? Do you carry him around everywhere?” Dave wondered.

“No, just when I go on late night,” Rivers replied, “because I’ve been banned so long, so I like to say, ‘Look we’re back.’” Then she smudged some of the ashes under Dave’s desk.

Moving along, Dave was more interested in her comment about being “banned” from late night.

“Joan Rivers, banned from late night, is that true?” Dave asked.

“Well, look how long I’ve been off this [show], let’s not go there. I don’t even know who you are, really,” she joked.

Dave laughed, “Why would you be any different than the rest of America.”

“No, I’m talking about all of late night, like … what’s the one that’s not funny—[Jay] Leno,” Joan said, taking a dig at the new old ‘Tonight Show‘ host.

VIDEO: Joan Rivers Reveals Why She Was Banned from Late-Night Here

Dave denied that he ever blocked Rivers from his show, but the bad blood between Rivers, NBC and ‘The Tonight Show’ is well known. “It was all about the Carson mess,” Joan said. “It doesn’t matter, you move on.”

“The Carson mess” refers to Rivers’ falling out with her mentor, Johnny Carson, who Joan admits gave her her big break.

A frequent guest comedian on ‘The Tonight Show,’ Rivers eventually took over as the permanent guest host — until she decided to launch her own competitive talk show on Fox.

Rivers said she called Carson to tell him she was doing her own show, and he hung up on her twice and never spoke to her again.

Unfortunately, Joan Rivers’ late-night talk show was canned within a year. Her husband Edgar, who produced the show, committed suicide by overdosing on prescription medication just months after the show was canceled.

Twenty-one years later, ‘The Tonight Show’ has not welcomed her back on the show, despite Joan’s claims she’s been desperately beating down their door.