In a joke-filled speech delivered at the 92nd Street Y in 1992, Ms. Diller said she had been interested in death since was a child. Because her parents had her when they were relatively old (her father was 55; her mother 38), she attended many funerals at a young age. She transformed this gloomy reality into something lighter, saying that she didn’t need to believe in heaven or hell, because life is wonderful enough.
“I will regret my death; I know that,” she said in the speech, letting loose a quick honking laugh before nailing the landing. “I know I’m going to miss me.”
One thing’s for sure: She’s far from alone.
The New York Times explores the comic craft of Phyllis Diller and includes this audio from 92Y, her 40-minute monologue, released for the first time.