I LOVED working with Joan Rivers. I can’t help but wonder what she would be saying about the world we live in now.

Our friendship started when we were paired up do to a story for the today show began back in 2007. She had discreetly put a dating profile up on Yahoo personals (Yeah, remember personals? We weren’t swiping yet.) She didn’t announce that she had done it – she simply put together a profile with her assistant Matt, a photo of her on 72nd street (outside her glorious penthouse) with sunglasses barely disguising her distinct look.

In some ways she was just what you expect – hilariously funny, bold, and unapologetic.

When I first met her and we were setting up the shoot, I asked her if she had a “favorite side” – as many celebrities have a preference if they’re angled to the left or to the right, to flatter an angle of their face or hair they prefer. She turned around and pointed to the back of her head. Classic, quick, funny Joan. She was still sans makeup at the time, and I was struck but how pretty she was without all of the glam.

But in many more ways, she surprised me.

There was always a misconception that Joan was always as brash as she could be when doing standup. Quite the contrary. In person she was sweet, very polite, and classy. (I mean, she WAS friends with the Royal Family.)

After our first segment together, we did another… and then another. Each time she would ask how I was doing, naming specific people in my life and asking about them. She ended up inviting us to her house for Thanksgiving – you can bet your ass I canceled on my parents so we could go! Sorry, mom and dad! (They forgave me.) She moves all of the furniture out of her penthouse floor living room – a room detailed with gilded gold, which once served as the building’s ballroom. Across the room is one long table, that easily seats 30 people. It was always an amazing array of guests. From playwright Charles Busch to Joann Worley (I sat next to her!) Of course, her daughter Melissa and grandson Cooper were there. It was beautifully decorated and catered, and most of us would try to stifle our sheer ecstasy at being there and just try to remain cool. We would eventually return for Passover and other holidays.

Joan was thoughtful. She wrote thank you notes after every segment, or after you sent a gift. She was giving herself, too. I was with her once at a restaurant once when a man came up and said, ‘My wife just loves you.’ She took a bracelet off her wrist, handed it to him, and told him to give it to her. He was blown away. I have to imagine that woman still cherishes that bracelet, and the husband cherishes the experience. It turns out she would wear extra jewelry (from her own QVC jewelry line) for moments like this.

I have to wonder what she would have to say about the world today. For certain, she’d be cracking some wildly inappropriate jokes in this, one of the most trying times we seen in decades. I wish she were here to remind us that a joke that’s ‘so wrong it’s right’ is sometimes just what we need.

I have a lot more to say about my experiences with Joan, so consider this a post in progress. I’ll be back with some more funny stories from working with and knowing this truly special woman.