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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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16.

South Beach    

I met Ms. Diller years ago and was struck by how warm and genuine she was. A true trailblazer in comedy for women, a great. RIP.

705 days ago
17.

ThePhoenix    

I loved Phyllis and he Fang stories, she and Bob Hope in movies were just great. I'm so sad to have heard this news. You all know she could drink us ALL under the table :-) Thanks SO much for your piano playing your wonderful eating habits that you took everywhere with you ( literally) and for the laughs. .. RIP Phyllis.

705 days ago
18.

ThePhoenix    

I will NEVER forget those housedresses, the hair, that voice or that laugh.

Damn just damn.

705 days ago
19.

jeannie    

I'm not a big fan of Joan Rivers but if she was great friends with Phyllis Diller, that's their business. I can't see attacking Joan because she's paying respect to another comedienne..Phyllis wasn't a trash talker so why not honor her by being respectful here.

704 days ago
20.

Ditchbankgirl    

Don't forget Rusty Warren and her Knockers Up blazed a trail for female comediennes too. Thanks.

704 days ago
21.

StevenB    

That's right, Joan, Miss Diller's death and legacy is all about you.

sheesh!

704 days ago
22.

Smashed    

Why make this about JoanEffinRivers. Jesus. Think u aholes.

RIP Phyllis.

704 days ago
23.

Woot    

Why, oh why couldn't it have been Rivers?

704 days ago
24.

arealrascal    

How disrespectful to Phyllis Diller to have a nontalent like Joan Rivers speak on her behalf. Phyllis Diller was a pioneer. Joan Rivers was a hanger-on who's still trying to say something funny. Rubber-headed coont.

704 days ago
25.

Tigers Wood    

Come on People, watch out for what you are saying on here, Joan might be reading some of these comments and they might hurt her feelings. Gees

704 days ago
26.

peoplearesilly    

Phylllis Diller has way more respect from most of the public than dumb ass Joan will ever have. She's just a loud mouthed bitch with NO CLASS. I don't give one flying fig about what she thinks about anything. I would, however, believe anything Phyllis said because she was nice, sincere and not a loud mouthed idiot. I can't stand Joan Rivers. And I sure don't get what anyone sees in her.

704 days ago
27.

burning_plastic    

Phyllis Diller did dress outlandishly but I don't think she felt forced into it. Maybe she did but I think her outfits were really clever and often a parody of how certain types of ladies dress. I always thought she was funny and she's definitely one of the all-time greats.

704 days ago
28.

Billy    

Come on, let's be honest here, Phyllis Diller sucked as much as Joan Rivers sucks. No one watches either of their commedy anymore. Like Jimmy Buffet sang, "They don't dance like Carmen no more."

Mayberry, Don Knots, My three sons, anything Diller or Rivers has been in. That garbage was fine in the 50's. But times change. To think, aliens in space are receiving our signals from TV boradcasts and they are seeing I Love Lucy. They must really think we are stupid and are looking for a way to find us and attack. This crap comedy is awful.

704 days ago
29.

YouDontSay    

Phyllis was brilliant.Kind and gracious. What a true lady is.

704 days ago
30.

feelicks    

i thought they where the same person....

704 days ago
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