Melissa Rivers breaks her silence for the first time since the loss of her mother Joan Rivers. American actress, television host and producer, equestrienne and philanthropist says during her tribute speech that ‘My mother was fearless… She was willing to say what others were thinking and too frightened to admit.’ Her speech was moving yet a funny speech at The Hollywood Reporter’s 2014 Women in Entertainment breakfast in Los Angeles on Wednesday, December 10.
She told the audience,
“For me the last three months and six days – not that I’m counting – have been different to say the least. Not just because it is the first time I’m speaking in tribute to my mother, but because every single person in this room could hire me, and a few have actually fired me. You know who you are but I don’t want you to feel bad… but technically I am now an orphan.”
“My mother was fearless,” Melissa recalled, “And I don’t mean she didn’t have any fears, I mean that even though she was only 5’2, she stood tall and walked through it. And that’s what made her such a brilliant performer. She was willing to say what others were thinking and too frightened to admit. She made fun of herself first and foremost which gave her the right to joke about others.”
“She never apologized for a joke, and no topic was taboo and she was fine with that. Truth be told, my mother never thought of herself as a woman working in a man’s world. She thought of herself as a comic that had to be funnier than anyone else… she just wanted to do her job and that was to make people laugh,” she continued.
Melissa then concluded her speech with a joke, “If my mother were here this morning, she’d not only be grateful and proud, she would be beyond herself. She would be sitting at the table beaming, while very discreetly shoving croissants and silverware into her purse. On behalf of my mother – thank you so, so much. It’s an honor.”
During the event, Sarah Silverman also paid tribute to Joan.
“Joan Rivers was not done,” the 44-year-old comedian said, “At 81, she lived a life that could jam-pack ten lifetimes. She wasn’t the average person. She wasn’t done. She left us unfinished.”
“She once said she didn’t find her comedic voice until she was 70. And I love that… The only thing that was going to stop Joan from being a comedian was death. Touche death, and f**k you very much… It kills me that she was never seen as the actress she was. I know that it meant something to her. This is a woman who was banned from the ‘Tonight Show’ for the crime of getting her own show.”