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Phyllis Diller was a one-of-a-kind inspiration

When I was 11, I saw Phyllis Diller on a talk show, maybe Merv Griffin or Mike Douglas, and she was explaining her comedy: “You have to make them laugh, and just when they think they’re done laughing, you have to hit them again.”

And I remember nodding, thinking, right on Phyllis! I knew what she meant.

I didn’t know I would someday be a stand-up comedian just like her, and I didn’t know I would do exactly that, but I felt a kinship with this outrageous hilarious woman.

I later befriended her, while doing "The Bob Hope Ladies of Laughter" special in the early '90s, and then I met her family at the Friar’s Club, where she referred to me as just “Liebman.”  I loved being on Phyllis’s unique and entertaining holiday card mailing list. The return address sometimes read, “Phyllis Diller is funny.”

Phyllis was one of one of a kind. I am heartbroken today.

Wendy Liebman is a stand-up comedian whose special "Taller on TV" aired on Showtime.