Features / Other Bloomers and Shakers

OTHER BLOOMERS AND SHAKERS: The Joy Of Making People Laugh

by Nicole Wolverton

We all have dreams, but few of us have the intestinal fortitude to give up a successful or well-established career to try to make those dreams come true. Joy Behar—most famous for her stint as a host on “The View” and of her own talk show—has guts in spades.

Born in 1942 to blue-collar parents in Brooklyn, Joy’s destiny seemed tied to academics. She earned a B.A. in sociology and an M.A. in English education, which she parlayed into a career teaching high school English. She married a college professor, and they had a daughter. For most people, this would have been enough for a good life. But Joy wanted something else, wanted more. She fantasized about a career in comedy.

An ectopic pregnancy that nearly killed her was the catalyst Joy needed to quit teaching and pursue her dreams. She was 37. With age comes experience and wisdom, and she tried taking the sneaky way in: she secured a job as a receptionist at “Good Morning America” in hopes of being discovered. But let no one ever say the road to fulfillment is smooth and easy. There was no magic discovery. Joy did begin performing in comedy clubs within a year; then shortly thereafter, her marriage ended.

No matter, though. Joy’s first break came in 1987, when she was 45—she landed a Lifetime variety series, “Way Off Broadway.” It ran for only one season, but that was enough; Joy was able to support herself and her daughter with her comedy as well as small parts in films and radio hosting. And then came the co-hosting gig on “The View” in 1997 and “The Joy Behar Show” in 2009, both of which lasted until 2013.

Now at 71 years of age, Joy may no longer be hosting talk shows, but she continues to act and do comedy. That is a dream well achieved.

Bloom Post End

Homepage image courtesy Nick Step

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