After nearly a 26 year ban, Jimmy Fallon surprised everyone as he invited Joan Rivers to return to The Tonight Show Thursday night. While this marks the second time Rivers has appeared on the show with Fallon (she made a cameo on Fallon’s first night with other celebs), it is her first time sitting down on the couch being interviewed since her ban all those years ago. Though Joan Rivers was appreciative to be back on the couch of The Tonight Show, she made her return anything but subtle.
If you’re not aware of the history that makes this appearance so extraordinary, let’s go back 26 years ago to the time of Johnny Carson’s reign. As a constant guest on The Tonight Show since the 60s, Rivers earned herself guest hosing duties for Carson in 1983. She did so well that in 1986, was offered to host her own late-night comedy program on FOX. This potential competition enraged Carson who, “banned, banned, banned” Rivers from ever appearing on The Tonight Show again. Though this ban held strong during Jay Leno’s reign, Jimmy Fallon finally broke the 26 year ban last night, leaving us to wonder – will she return for round 2? Probably.