How Melissa Rivers Asked Howard Stern to Eulogize Joan Rivers

And how this touching tribute to the late icon almost didn't happen.

ByABC News
September 8, 2014, 2:55 PM

— -- All the news coming from Joan Rivers' memorial service in New York on Sunday was how beautiful, thoughtful and even funny Howard Stern was when speaking about his late friend.

Today on his radio show, Stern talked about the "remarkable friend" Rivers was and how he got asked to eulogize her at Temple Emanu-El.

"I remember there was a time she invited me over to her home," he said. "It probably meant nothing to her but it meant something to me, because I don't think a famous person had ever invited me to their home before. ... She was so gracious and nice and made me feel like I was part of show business, which quite frankly, I never feel like I am."

He continued, "I'm really rocked by her death."

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Stern called the service one of the greatest events he'd ever witnessed, but that at first, he wasn't sure he should do the eulogy.

"I had gotten a call from Melissa like a day and half before the service asking me if I would speak," he said. "I said to her, 'Melissa, you are asking the wrong guy.' I said, 'I'll do it, I would do anything for Joan, I will do anything for you.'"

The radio host and an icon in his own right added that he thought someone else could do a better job speaking about Rivers and giving her the send-off her knew the comedic legend deserved.

"[Melissa] said, 'No, I want you to do it,'" he added. "It was a lot of pressure because I wanted to come through for Melissa and come through for Joan."

Stern added that he even left the Hamptons and his wife to be alone in the city with his thoughts.

"I didn't want to say the wrong thing," he said. "I was in touch with Louis C.K. and he said, 'You know, Joan really deserves a great send off. He said something very profound. He said, 'Joan was like an aunt or a best friend who could make everything better.' Even in times after say 9/11 or the country just seems to be going down or things just seem to be bad, when she would crack a joke ... you didn't feel so alone."

He added, "It just made you feel better knowing Joan Rivers was making a joke about it."