The comedienne’s Monday night appearance marked exactly 49 years to the day since she first appeared on Johnny Carson’s ‘Tonight Show’ in 1965.
Joan Rivers made a quick cameo on Jimmy Fallon’s «Tonight Show» on Monday, in a parade of the new host’s celebrity friends.
But Rivers’ seconds-long appearance during Fallon’s opening skit also marked the first time the comedienne had been on the «Tonight Show» in nearly 30 years.
Rivers, 80, was reportedly banned from «Tonight» by longtime host Johnny Carson in 1986, after she abandoned her position as permanent guest host of his NBC show to lead a competing program on Fox, according to Variety.
She became Carson’s direct competitor with the short-lived Fox gig — dubbed «The Late Show starring Joan Rivers.»
Carson saw her move as a betrayal, claiming he never found out about the new show from Rivers — and reportedly never spoke to her again after that. The legendary late-night host died in 2005.
Rivers also never appeared on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show,” which ran from 1992 until earlier this month.
Coincidentally, Rivers first appeared on Carson’s «Tonight» on Feb. 17, 1965, exactly 49 years to the day from her Monday night return to honor the new host.
«It’s about time!» she joked to Variety, about her banishment. «I’ve been sitting in a taxi outside NBC with the meter running since 1987.
n an apparent move to make amends with the show, Rivers had only kind words for Fallon’s new beginning.
«It was a double thrill for me to help welcome Jimmy on his first night,» she told the magazine.
«The program brought me great luck and I know it well do the same for him. He’s the consummate entertainer whose reign as host, I predict, will surpass any of his predecessors.»