Phyllis Diller (1917-2012), of the crazy clothes and crazier hair, was an American original. She broke the comic gender barrier by being the first woman to go toe-to-toe with male stand-ups, often leaving them in the dust. Diller paved the way for Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, Ellen DeGeneres, Whitney Cummings – all of whom are her spiritual daughters or granddaughters.
Here’s Diller as she’d want to be remembered, in classic form, killing it on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969.
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