Joan Rivers certainly earned her moniker as the Queen of Mean, and she didn’t hold back when talking about former E! colleague Chelsea Handler. But the younger comedian didn’t exactly pull her punches. In the first of two back-to-back interviews with Howard Stern in January 2012, Handler said, “What the f**k do I care about Joan Rivers?” The next day, Rivers showed up to the shock jock’s studio, countering with: “Number one, [Handler] made it on her back, f***ing the president [of the network], we all know that.” She added, “Number two, she’s fine, she’s ordinary. She’s not a genius.” Shots. Fired.
A few years later, they were still swinging, with Handler telling The Guardian in June 2014 she didn’t think of Rivers as a role model. One month later, Rivers told HuffPost that Handler started the whole thing. “She came out saying things like, ‘I’m the first woman ever to do a late-night show,'” Rivers said, adding, “She did this one day, and I followed her on the dais and I said, ‘I guess everyone’s forgotten the Carson show.’ She never spoke to me again.”
Rivers died in September 2014 during a routine surgery, putting a tragic end to a beef that was surely far from over. However, in 2016, Handler gave Rivers a nod for paving the way for female comics. “Joan Rivers and I weren’t friends,” Handler said. “But she did definitely open so many doors for me.”