Joan Rivers was interviewed in 2006 as part of PBS’s miniseries “Make ‘Em Laugh.” After her recent death, “American Masters” has made available seven never-before-seen outtakes from the series covering an array of topics.
In the videos, which can be seen above and below, Rivers talks about the challenges as a female comedian in a male-dominated profession. She laughed about her accidental booking on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” which turned out to be a huge step toward her gaining mainstream acceptance without watering down her show.
But it wasn’t an act that came together quickly, as Rivers recalled. She talked about the years she spent trying to figure out what kind of a performer she wanted to be. She started out with aspirations as an actress, and because of her attractiveness she felt pressured into choosing the path of a singer over a comedian.
“It wasn’t until I got into Second City that I realized, I’m funny in what I think is funny … I had a lot of false starts,” Rivers admitted. But she honed her craft with the improv troupe and discovered her own voice. With the support of contemporaries like Woody Allen, George Carlin and Bill Cosby, she embraced the notion that it was okay to be herself and talk about the things that she thought were funny.
The interview outtakes were made available on the “American Masters” website to supplement the “American Masters” broadcast of documentary “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” which PBS aired on Tuesday as an in memoriam tribute to the late comedienne.
Michael Kantor, who’s currently the “American Masters” series executive producer, served as “Make ‘Em Laugh’s” series producer, director and writer, and conducted the interview with Joan Rivers for that series in 2006.
Watch these seven never-before-seen interview moments in the videos above and below:
Note: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that these outtakes originated on PBS’s “American Masters.” TheWrap regrets the error.