It’s like a national holiday on the E! Network this weekend. That’s because Joan Rivers turns 80 years old on Saturday, June 8th–which provides us with a good chance to look back at the early years. What some people might even call the funny years. We know that she’s the Queen of the Red Carpet nowadays, and we certainly haven’t been above enjoying a few of her catty comments in recent years. It’s just that we also remember the Joan Rivers who–among other things–helped blaze a trail for female film directors when she helmed Rabbit Test back in 1978.

Yes, it was a movie about Billy Crystal being pregnant. Yes, it almost killed Billy Crystal’s career. You still can’t blame Hollywood for giving Joan a chance. After all, she’d written one of the best TV-movies of all time–that being The Girl Most Likely To… back in 1973. Heck, that might be one o the best comedies of all time. People forget that Joan was a cutting-edge talent. You can even see her in 1968’s The Swimmer. A lot of film fans will tell you that’s a great lost classic.

And those of us who live in New York know that Joan has always enjoyed returning to her (career) roots by playing small rooms in the city. She’s a real survivor, too. Here are a few clips that show why people of a certain age think of Joan as a genuine talent and not just a snarky fashion commentator. But is it so bad to be a snarky fashion commentator? Those are some of our best friends…

The Ed Sullivan Show – (1967)

Joan breaks down being single after the age of 21… in the 1960’s. The line about how the “hair has to be in shape” at :41 really got us, but really, her hair is perfectly in shape.


 Stand-Up: Heidi Abromowitz, “Can We Talk?” (1982)

Joan runs us through some of her sexual escapades– including plastic wrap? Dead.

Joan Being Shocking on The Tonight Show (1984)

Check out the snappy segues, and how often was herpes used as a gag back then?

So happy birthday, Joan Rivers. We hope you have a wonderful celebration–or at least as much fun as people have had being shocked by you.