11:12 AM EDT, March 28, 2014
Comedy legend Joan Rivers tells Deborah Norville all about her triumphant return to The Tonight Show on Thursday night.
"I was so nervous it wouldn't work because I didn't want it to not go well," said Rivers. "I was on The Tonight Show after 26 years of being banned! Twenty-six years of being knocked out of late night TV!"
You'll recall the cheers Rivers got during her brief cameo appearance on Jimmy Fallon's first night hosting The Tonight Show six weeks ago. But this was her first sit-down interview, and Fallon showed her a photo from her 1965 appearance with Johnny Carson.
"To go back on that set, and do a good set!" said Rivers.
Norville told Rivers, "You killed it!"
Watch INSIDE EDITION's Interview with Joan Rivers
Things are good for the 80-year-old funny lady. The fourth season of Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best premieres Saturday night on We TV, and talk about edgy. In one episode, Rivers considers appearing in a porn film.
Norville has known Rivers for a long time, so she can kid her about it, asking, "Think anyone wants to see a sex tape with an octogenarian?"
"You're so cruel," said Rivers. "I think it should be two octogenarian women—me and Joan Collins."
But Rivers got serious when we talked about how she was banned from The Tonight Show after taking a job hosting a rival talk show on Fox.
Rivers said, "Doors slammed! Because Carson lied and said I never called and told him, and what a bad person I was. Of course I called him! Called him twice. He hung up on me twice."
During those dark days, Rivers even considered suicide.
"It was really rough, rough times," she said.
"How'd you get through it?" asked Norville.
"I couldn't kill myself, because I had my daughter, and that would be a terrible thing to do to her," recalled Rivers.
Norville asked, "Did you think about it?"
"Oh, my God, yeah," she admitted.
And she has no kind words for Carson's successor.
"How come Leno never had you on?" asked Norville. "Why did Jay carry the torch for Johnny?"
"I don't know, and I dislike him because of that," Rivers replied. "I think he's a fool. I was never a Jay Leno fan. So ha-ha, I'm thrilled he's off."
The secret to Joan Rivers' remarkable success? Three words: hang in there!
Rivers says, "I hope it's a lesson to everybody. Things come around in your life, if you just keep trying."