The nicer side of Joan Rivers
When she died last week at age 81, Joan Rivers was remembered for her pioneering stand-up comedy career, her years backing up Johnny Carson as fill-in host of "The Tonight Show," and her biting fashion commentary.
There was more to Rivers than that; she also wrote a pretty nice thank you letter.
News Arts Editor Jeff Simon, who wrote an appreciation of her career in Saturday's Buffalo News, was on the receiving end of that letter after he reviewed her June 1975 performance at Melody Fair in North Tonawanda.
"Joan Rivers is more than endearing," Simon wrote. "She is a brilliant comic, perhaps even a great one considering how rare she is."
It's hard to believe this now given her career trajectory that followed, but Rivers opened that night for singer John Davidson. Of Davidson, Simon wrote: "In theory, it's almost impossible not to be offended by his wholesomeness. On television, you expect him to reach over and offer someone, anyone, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
A month after the review appeared, Simon received this in the mail: