joan rivers is a sage

The Best Pieces of Advice Joan Rivers Ever Gave Us

Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan

Since news of Joan Rivers’s death, I’ve been watching and reading everything I can about her: She was funny, ballsy, brassy, and I really wish she’d written an advice column. In both her perfectly crafted jokes and off-the-cuff quips, you can find some really sharp insight on life, love, work, parenting, and just being awesome in general.

Here are some classic nuggets of Joan Rivers wisdom, to suit your every need.

If you’re worried you’ll be the woman who dies alone with her cats (or dogs): “Don’t make friends with your dogs. The sons of bitches will literally die ahead of you and cause you grief!” —The Hollywood Reporter, 2013

If you’re wondering how to find ultimate career success: “I love what I do, but I also know you must do it.” The Fashion Police, 2014

If you feel like you’re never going to be as good as the next guy: “First of all, don’t worry about the money. Love the process. You don’t know when it’s gonna happen. Louis C.K. started hitting in his 40s; he’d been doing it for 20 years. And don’t settle. I don’t want to ever hear, ‘It’s good enough.’ Then it’s not good enough. Don’t ever underestimate your audience. They can tell when it isn’t true. Also: Ignore your competition. A Mafia guy in Vegas gave me this advice: ‘Run your own race, put on your blinders.’ Don’t worry about how others are doing. Something better will come.” —The Hollywood Reporter, 2012

If you’re wondering how hard you need to work in life: “Work anywhere, anyplace, anytime. Just work.”  —The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, 1981

If you’re struggling with the career and motherhood balance:  “My pediatrician — because I was working a lot of nightclubs, and I would come home and I would cry and I would say, ‘I don’t see the child because she’s asleep’ — he said, ‘Wake her up and spend time together and let her sleep during the day the way you do.’” —E!, 1989

If you’re wondering if you look good in that new dress: “Style: It’s like herpes. You either have it or you don’t.” The Tonight Show With David Letterman, 2014

And, finally, if you’re just having a shitty day: “Life is very tough. If you don’t laugh, it’s tough.” —Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, 2010 

The Best Pieces of Advice Joan Rivers Gave Us