Howard Stern was invited to delivery the eulogy at Joan Rivers‘ funeral, and he couldn’t have been a more perfect fit. The pair had been friends for years, and Stern was able to bring levity to a very sad situation. He later talked about the experience on his Sirius XM radio show (via US Weekly).
“You know, to be at her funeral yesterday was really probably the most remarkable service I have ever witnessed,” Stern, 60, told listeners. “Beautiful temple. I have never been there before [and] it was magnificent. I’ve never seen anything like it. Just sitting in there made you reflective. And so, I got there early because I had gotten a call from [Joan’s daughter] Melissa like a day and a half before the service, asking me if I would speak. I said to her, ‘Melissa you’re asking the wrong guy.’
Still, he agreed to speak before Rivers’ friends and family. “I said, ‘I’ll do it. I will do anything for Joan. I’ll do anything for you.'”
To prepare for the moment, Stern immediately sought advice from another fellow comic. “I was in touch with Louie C.K. and he’d written me and he said, ‘You know, Joan really deserves a great sendoff because of her impact.’ He said something very profound: ‘Joan was like an aunt or a best friend who could make everything better. And even in times… after lets just say 9/11 or the country just seems to be going downhill or things just seem to be bad… she would crack a joke, and you know this is true, when she would crack a joke, you didn’t feel so alone. You felt like we were all together and you felt like oh maybe things aren’t so bad.'”
“Louie said probably the loneliness and the unhappiness of life — what else could ease that despair than a great comedian? That’s what great comedians do. Great comedians have the ability to snap you out of this sadness, this loneliness…to set it all right again and she was really really a top pro.”
Stern also revealed that he was particularly moved by a performance given at the service by none other than Hugh Jackman, which… okay! (I had NO idea they were friends at all.)
“It was one of Joan’s favorites,” Stern said. “He starts singing it quietly and part of the song is clap your hands together. He made everyone get up and start clapping their hands to the song. I was so f—ing moved by this guys performance. I had tears. Now, you know me. I’m a big scumbag. I don’t get moved. I appreciated this guy so much. Hugh Jackman. You know f—ing Wolverine.”
Sounds like it was a fantastic celebration of Rivers’ life for those who knew and loved her.