So, when family, friends and fans arrived at her service at New York City's Temple Emanu-El to say their final goodbyes, longtime pal and Fashion Police co-host Giuliana Rancic says, "It was exactly what she would have wanted."
"Joan said in her book that she would want lights, camera, action and people lined up outside and paparazzi, and she got it," says Rancic, who attended the Sept. 7 service, just three days after Rivers was taken off life support at 81.
"There were tears, there wasn't just laughter, there was roaring laughter, and there was such funny moments. We were hysterically laughing with tears streaming down our face. It was great, really beautiful, touching."
Over the course of Rivers's lengthy career, which was kickstarted in 1965 after an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, the comedian built a huge fan base, despite suffering both personal and professional setbacks.
Most recently Rivers starred on E!'s Fashion Police, where she continued to bring the laughs.
"I remember just when she was about to deliver a joke, she would start it and you could tell it was going to be really edgy," recalls Rancic. "Joan would start laughing and she couldn't deliver the punch line because she would be laughing at her own joke so hard knowing what was coming."
While it was evident from the size of the crowds that showed up to pay their respects to the comedic legend, whose story is featured in this week's issue of PEOPLE, it was her love for laughter that will always be remembered.
"After all these years, she still found the funny in everything."
For more on the life and death of Joan Rivers, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday