Margaret Cho: Joan Rivers Put the “Fun” in Funeral, “We All Wept — Like Professional Mourners” at Service

Margaret Cho
Margaret Cho wrote an in-depth, first-person account from Joan Rivers' star-studded funeral held at NYC's Temple Emanu-El on Sunday, Sept. 7: "Joan Rivers put the 'fun' in funeral," the comedienne said. Beck Starr/WireImage

She sure did! Comedian Margaret Cho penned an in-depth, first-person account from Joan Rivers' star-studded weekend funeral in a Monday, Sept. 8 blog post on lifestyle website xoJane.

"Joan Rivers put the 'fun' in funeral," Cho, 45, wrote of the late comedienne's service held Sunday, Sept. 7 at a synagogue on Manhattan's Upper East Side. "I arrived almost an hour early, as our invitations had suggested because of tightened security. I snuck into a side entrance, so I missed the grand spectacle of paparazzi, fans, well-wishers and shiny black cars, a mass of people covering at least three city blocks in front of Temple Emanu-El."

Inside the funeral venue, Cho sat with her fellow female comics, Rosie O'Donnell and Kathy Griffin. "The temple was huge and packed and silent and all her fancy friends were there, as well as many of us girl comics," Cho wrote, "because we had lost our dear leader (I do see her as my own personal Kim Jong Il as she was tiny yet commanded an empire) and so it was our saddest day."

Margaret with Joan and Kathy
This photo from 2012's Las Vegas Pride Night Parade features Kathy Griffin, Joan Rivers, Margaret Cho. Both stars attended Joan Rives' funeral on Sunday, Sept. 7, on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Broadimage

According to Cho, the entire congregation was in tears. "Judy Gold wept," she wrote of the comedienne, "which is hard for me to watch — my ebullient and sunny and tall friend who I have known for over a quarter of a century and have never, ever seen cry was overwhelmed by grief. Rachael Ray consoled her, and hugging they looked like a lower case letter 'h.' We all wept — like professional mourners. We should have gotten paid! Tears fell as we listened to the dulcet tones of the Gay Men’s Chorus with their rendition of 'Hey Big Spender.' It was bittersweet and perfect."

To be part of such an emotional moment was not an easy feat, Cho revealed. "It is still hard for me to see women comics sad, no matter how many adorable men are singing in harmony," she wrote. "I can’t take it — that is too terrible — and all the funny people, not only us, the female comics who marched so faithfully to the tune of Joan’s stiletto footfalls, but all her friends and family and mighty legions of producers and writers who helped her create the industry that was Joan Rivers — none of us could stop crying. You don’t know heartbreak until you have seen John Waters in tears. I am sure stock went up in cucumbers as we all needed them for our eyes this morning."

Cho then recalled how Rivers' longtime pal Donald Trump, after arriving later than most celebrities, "was whisked to the front near the family, ginger hair exploding and obvious over all the yarmulkes." She remembered Howard Stern's raunchy joke about the late Fashion Police host (which Rivers likely would have applauded).

Not knowing how to react at first to Stern's joke, the room — comprised of dozens of celebs like Sarah Jessica Parker, Giuliana and Bill Rancic, Andy Cohen, Barbara Walters, and more — eventually bursted out into laughter. "Of course I started laughing hysterically, and everyone else, remembering who we were there to honor, followed suit," Cho wrote. "It was so wrong but so right at the same time. So Joan. So great," she concluded. "RIP my friend."

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