Family, friends remember Joan Rivers in poignant, funny funeral

Sun Sep 7, 2014 3:32pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Family and friends bid farewell on Sunday to Joan Rivers, the outspoken comedian who became famous around the world for her acerbic wit and brash style, at a private funeral sprinkled with jokes, laughter and songs.

Journalists Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, comedian Whoopi Goldberg, tycoon Donald Trump, actress Sarah Jessica Parker and comedian Kathy Griffin were among the celebrities who attended the service at Temple Emanu-El, a landmark synagogue on New York's Fifth Avenue where Rivers, 81, was a member of the congregation.

Comedian Jeffrey Ross described it as "somber but funny" with plenty of hearty laughs from Rivers' friends.

"Nothing was off limits. Comedians have a responsibility to shine a light on the darkest things in the world, that's what Joan did. People really addressed that today," he said after the service.

Guests exited the funeral to the sound of bagpipes and some mingled and hugged as many hundreds of fans, along with dozens of reporters, photographers and television crews, waited behind barricades to get a glimpse of Rivers' friends and family.

The Brooklyn-born comedian wrote in her 2012 book "I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me," about wanting her funeral to be a big showbiz affair and that is what it was.

Journalist and talk show host Geraldo Rivera said he never saw a funeral with more laughter.

"It really was so funny. Howard Stern opened with an X-rated joke," he said about the radio and TV personality.   Continued...

Television personality Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner arrive to attend the funeral of comedienne Joan Rivers at Temple Emanu-El in New York September 7, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson