Yeah, she made fun of people but she made fun of herself making fun of them. She was flamboyant and over the top.
My Aunt Kitty used to come and watch me sometimes when I was over at my grandmother's (her sister). Aunt Kitty smoked and drank and cursed. As a child she scared me. She lived alone in Philadelphia and she said she liked it. I used to think that she knew all the people on the television because she would say that she loved so and so in a very familiar fashion...and she was so old just as old as the black and white movies that she made me sit through. She hated Shirley Temple- called her a brat.
All these things about Aunt Kitty scared me as a little child. Aunt Kitty and I think had I not first seen Phyllis Diller consciously as a cartoon character, the same could be said. Both women took life on their own terms and refused to be defined as a woman by a man. I wish I understood that about Aunt Kitty. I also wish she didn't smoke so much. Although because she smoked her gruff laughter is stuck in my head 30 years after her death. Just like we will always her Ms. Diller laughing at her own stories.