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Joan Rivers

Phyllis Diller was


8/20/2012 1:50 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Phyllis Diller
was way ahead of her time -- so says Joan Rivers, who tells TMZ, Diller didn't get the appreciation she deserved in her prime ... because the 60s sucked for comedy.

Rivers -- whom Diller called her "protegee" -- tells us, "The only tragedy in [Diller's] entire life is that she was funny in an era when you had to look funny to be funny."

Rivers adds, "Her lines were so brilliant that all she had to do was stand on the stage and say 'em and you would have cracked up" ... but in the 60s, Diller's comedy was undermined by stupid outfits.

Rivers says she and Diller were BFFs 'til the end -- in fact, the two grabbed brunch just last month.

Fun fact: Rivers says Diller was dating into her 90s, and even had a boyfriend at the time of her death.

Rivers says Diller "was the most generous of comedians" -- supporting Joan from the very beginning of her career. Rivers adds, "I adored her."


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She's right! Phyllis was the first of her kind. She opened doors for women like Joan.

794 days ago


And Phyllis did it without vulgar language. I love Joan but I've had to stop watching her fashion show. She's just too filthy - and I'm not a prude.

794 days ago

Liz from Australia     

Phyllis Dillar was the greatest. I can remember watching movies in the 70's as a child laughing so loud and hysterically. Loved her and agree she was the greatest comedienne of our times.

794 days ago


Phyllis Diller was a true pioneer in comedy. She was so very, very funny and a great patron of musical arts.

794 days ago

Mumra the Ever Living    

Let me get this straight. A woman who has made her face into a clowns mask says Diller was under appreciated because she had to "look funny to be funny". Joan, I knew Phyllis Diller, A great fan of Phyllis Diller. Believe me when I say that you are NOT and never will be Phyllis Diller.

794 days ago


Joan's so called "comedy" is not a patch on Phyllis Diller's. She isn't fit to shine her shoes.

794 days ago


I appreciated her a lot more than you, bitch

794 days ago


Phyllis was the best. Ms. Handler is what women are stuck with today. Not exactly progress.

794 days ago


One of the GIANTS in show biz, along with Lucille Ball. She truly was a comedian til the end. and she lived a long life. I totally love Joan Rivers, but i do agree with some, that she could never tie Phyllis Dillers shoes. May she R.I.P. We have lost sooooo many people this year. UNBELIEVABLE. At least she lived her life.

794 days ago


RIP Dear Phyllis,
What an absolute legend.
Sad Sad day.

794 days ago


Joan saying something nice about another female comedian?? Amazing!
Phyllis was a true comedic genius and will be greatly missed.

794 days ago


we need to be reminded of the tremendous social pressures of the past. She overcame a lot.

794 days ago


Joan is saying something just to say something She was and will always be a Pain in the A$$ and a talentless hack

794 days ago

Rafaelle Zuccaro    

You got that right Loan, she, like you naver got into the SLIME, or SEWER to her fame and notoriety like you did== You learn nothing from her- Her comedy was CLEAN and Decent- Always funny -NEVER FILTHY like you!!!! You never got out of the BOTTOM- Diller didnt have to go to the FILTH like you did!!!

794 days ago

Rafaelle Zuccaro    

I dont know if Diller was Jewish like you JOAN and Chelsea Handler- Why is it that she OUTDID YOU AND handler??? Its because all you and Handler do is stir the Toilet for your comedy-- Filth and Crap is all you and Handler 'handle'" Why is filth in every Jewish comedians ACTS???

794 days ago
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