Oh no, not Joan. The legend died today at 81 after complications from vocal chord surgery, a fantastically unfair finale for one of the world's most irrepressible personalities. Tonight, honor her legacy and be awed by her trailblazing five-decade career with her 2010 documentary, A Piece of Work.
Filmmakers followed Rivers around for a year and a half and ended up capturing what may have been some of the most vulnerable moments of her life. Yet from the jarring opening scene where she appears without a scratch of makeup, to the scenes confronting the desperate fears of an aging star with an empty calendar, Rivers never flinches (even though she cries a few times). The film is both an eye-opening, full-frontal view of her brutal work ethic—she indexes all of her jokes into a card catalog!—and a retrospective of her raucously inappropriate, yet ahead-of-its-time humor. Through it all, no one pushed herself harder than Rivers, and no one will ever come close to stealing her crown as the original queen of comedy. [Netflix]