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Raging Rivers

November 29, 1987|Connie Benesch

Joan Rivers, who had a tradition of cracking jokes about hubbie Edgar Rosenberg, is trying out new material about him now that he's gone--even alluding (at least in one gag) to his suicide three months ago.

At the same time, she bitterly complained that former boss Johnny Carson never called to express sympathy after Rosenberg's death.

It all surfaced last week at Carlos 'n' Charlie's, where she occasionally tests new routines.

At the end of her set, she took questions from the audience. One fan asked if she would ever again have her own late-night show.

Rivers, fired from "The Late Show" after months of dismal ratings, insisted: "Never again do I want to do that. Over and out."

Another fan wondered, "What did Johnny say?"

"Johnny Carson, I've never heard a word from since I left his show . . . including my husband's death," Rivers announced flatly. "Not a word. Not a note. Nothin'."

There were sympathetic "oh's" from the audience.

"You heard he called me?" she snapped. "Well, if he called me, I never got the call. Bull. Listen and watch my lips: Nothing. Got it? Nothing.

"Well, that's his problem, not mine."

The packed house burst into applause and cheers.

Meanwhile, the comedienne joked about married life and what couples go through, including: "My wedding night, he looked at my body and went into shock."

And: "When you're married a long time--I was married 22 years--you don't look at each other. You know what I mean? You're married, married, married. I couldn't even identify my husband's body--I hadn't looked at it for years. . . . Oh, I think that looks like. . . . Let me see the ring."

The audience response was mixed.

A spokesman for Carson--miffed that we called about Rivers' remarks--said, "I haven't the slightest idea if he (Carson) has talked to her. . . . Do you think he's going to call me up and (say) 'I sent (her) a condolence letter'?"

The rep added that Rivers has "said a lot of things that she shouldn't have said."

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