Anderson Cooper was not a fan of Joan Rivers until he was old enough to understand her sense of humor.
While reflecting on the comic legend’s life and influence following her death on Thursday, the CNN personality told guest Andy Cohen that he didn’t like Rivers as a boy, because she made fun of his fashion designer mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.
“Honestly, as a kid, I didn’t like her because she actually made fun of my mom in some jokes, when my mom was doing the jeans and stuff,” Anderson said during the segment (above). “As a little kid, I found it upsetting to see her making fun of my mom. But as an adult, I came to really like her and appreciate her.”
Rivers died surrounded by family a week after being rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York following complications during surgery on her vocal chords at a nearby clinic. The “Fashion Police” host known for her unapologetic, sharp tongue had been placed in a medically-induced coma and was on life support.
Cooper, an openly gay newscaster, also recognized Rivers’ popularity in the gay community.
“It’s hard to understand why some people have that appeal in the gay community,” Cooper said. “I think she — beyond her acceptance of people — there was something about how she had overcome all of these obstacles: Her husband committed suicide, she had a child to raise, she was cut off by Carson, and yet she persevered.”
“She was an underdog from the beginning,” Cohen added. “She was a female stand up comic who made it big, and gay people like uncensored divas.”