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Joan Rivers

Phyllis Diller was

UNDERAPPRECIATED

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

0820_joan_rovers_article_tmz
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.

0820_phyllis_diller_flower
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."

47 COMMENTS

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1.

tucker    

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

710 days ago
2.

Ginger    

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.

710 days ago
3.

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.

710 days ago
4.

NoBozo    

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

710 days ago
5.

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.

710 days ago
6.

palermo    

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

710 days ago
7.

Artist    

I appreciated her a lot more than you, bitch

710 days ago
8.

writenow    

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

710 days ago
9.

dierdre    

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.

710 days ago
10.

Reg    

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

710 days ago
11.

Jen    

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

710 days ago
12.

charles    

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

710 days ago
13.

BECKER    

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

710 days ago
14.

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!!!

710 days ago
15.

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???

710 days ago
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