Sunday’s star-studded memorial for late comedienne Joan Rivers was everything we’d expect it to be.
The controversially funny diva, who once said she wanted a “big showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action” in lieu of a somber service, was granted her wish — Howard Stern delivered the eulogy, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus sang “Hey Big Spender,” Broadway actress Audra McDonald crooned “Smile,” and a host of Hollywood friends came out to say their final goodbyes.
Rivers’ legions of fans also lined the street, acting as the last audience to one of the greatest comedic performers we’ve ever known.
Tributes and reminiscences were delivered by TV anchor Deborah Norville, close friend Margie Stern, columnist Cindy Adams and Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, who spoke about how she respected her mother, who died Thursday at 81, and appreciated everyone’s support.
Hugh Jackman sang “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady On Stage” at the end of the memorial, and bagpipers from the New York City Police Department played on the streets as mourners filed out of Temple Emanu-El, many dabbing their eyes.
“She would love this. We’ve all said this so many times: The one person who would really think this is the greatest thing ever is the lady who it’s all about, and she’s not here,” said Norville afterward, amid the throngs of well-wishers and sound of bagpipes.
Kathy Griffin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Donald Trump, and Fashion Police counterpart Kelly Osbourne were also in attendance.
Daughter Melissa Rivers led the pack, wearing all black and accompanied by her son.
Theater stars Bernadette Peters, Alan Cumming and Tommy Tune were there. Record producer Clive Davis was, too. Fashion designers Carolina Herrera, Dennis Basso and Michael Kors were in attendance. Stars from TV such as Barbara Walters, Geraldo Rivera, Diane Sawyer, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb and Andy Cohen. Late night band leader Paul Shaffer.
“It was uplifting. We were celebrating her life,” Basso said.
The service mirrored much of what she detailed in her 2012 book I Hate Everyone…Starting With Me.
Instead of a rabbi talking, Rivers asked for “Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents” and “a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyonce’s.”
It’s unclear if a wind machine was involved, but her wishes were printed in the funeral program, lest mourners forget Rivers’ unmatched sass.
The funeral program also included a page with three classic Rivers’ lines printed out: “Can we talk?” ”Who are you wearing?” and “Because I’m a funny person.”
The cause of Rivers’ death is being investigated. Her publicist said that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to God’s Love, We Deliver; Guide Dogs for the Blind; or Our House.
May she rest in perfect peace.
SOURCE: CBS | PHOTO CREDIT: Splash, Getty