By Samantha Grossman
September 4, 2014

Joan Rivers, who TIME’s Richard Corliss remembers as an “acidly funny comedy diva,” has died at 81 after complications from throat surgery. Though her contributions to the world of television of comedy are incredibly vast, we’d like to take a moment to appreciate a small but bright little moment from the later years of her career: a 2011 cameo on Louie.

In the episode — titled “Joan” — Louis C.K.’s semi-autobiographical character, Louie, finds himself hanging out with Joan in her hotel room after an Atlantic City gig. Louie starts to whine about being a comedian, and Joan immediately shuts him down to deliver some serious real talk.

“Listen, I wish I could tell you it gets better, but it doesn’t get better. You get better,” the comedy veteran tells him. “I’ve gone up, I’ve gone down, I’ve been bankrupt, I’ve been broke. But you do it, and you do it because we love it more than anything else. That’s why you’re doing it.”

After she finishes her very wise and heartfelt speech, Louie of course pulls a Louie and totally ruins the moment, but the impact of her words remain.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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