Diller died in Los Angeles on Monday at the age of 95. The legendary performer paved the way for female comedians and referred to Rivers as her protégé.
Rivers described Diller as the first female comedian who "just stood up." She added, "She didn't sing, she didn't dance, she just went out and competed with the men on their turf. And did it brilliantly."
Rivers recalled the first time Diller saw her perform. "She saw me first in Greenwich Village and I stank," Rivers said. "I was on the bill with Barbra Streisand...and Phyllis came and sat in the front and laughed, and applauded, and was so generous when she went backstage."
When asked how Diller inspired her, Rivers said she taught her to be "very simple."
"One of the first jokes I ever heard her say,