Could Joan Rivers have had the same career as Woody Allen?
It might seem an odd question if you only know Rivers from her talk show omnipresence and her work on E!, but there was a time when she had a chance to break into film the same way some of her comic peers were, and I can't help but wonder what would have happened if "Rabbit Test" had worked.
When she broke through as a comic in the mid-'60s, she already had a fully-formed comic voice. She was from New York, and there was an edge to her work from the very start. She had an attitude about aesthetic beauty, about celebrity, about women in culture. She was one of those comics who straddled an older tradition of comedy, based on careful joke structure and a sort of surface level engagement and a newer tradition, in which taboos were smashed and society was fair game for deeper examination.