Joan Rivers
Remember Joan Rivers with movies, documentaries and standup specials available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus. Reuters

"Karma" apparently takes its time.

Following news Thursday that Joan Rivers has passed away after nearly a week on life support, her many detractors came out on Twitter to express their belief that the often-controversial comedian was the victim of so-called karmic forces.

Although the legendary funnywoman started her career as decidedly sharp-witted performer and remained so until her death at age 81, countless critics on social media had no problem postulating the idea that her death was payback for her insult-heavy comedic style.

Karma generally refers to the idea that all of a person’s actions -- negative or positive -- provoke correlating reactions. The concept is thought to have originated in Indian antiquity and can be found in many Eastern religions.

Cut from the same insult-comic cloth as midcentury offenders like Don Rickles, Rivers had a penchant for making fierce enemies. Her acerbic style, lightning quick but at times thoughtless and mean, was somewhat out of sorts with the cautious checks and balances of 21st-century pop culture and its unrelenting cycle of outrage. As social media fumed over her jokes -- be they about Adele’s weight or the Cleveland kidnapping -- Rivers has repeatedly refused to offer the kind of insincere mea culpas so familiar among today’s public figures.

Among the most divisive of her recent controversies was an off-the-cuff interview in which Rivers, prodded by a TMZ reporter who asked her about the almost 2,000 Palestinians killed in the conflict with Israel, said that the casualties “deserve to be dead.” In a rare retreat, the comedian later said that her comments were “taken out of context.” Nevertheless, the sting of that comment was still fresh in the minds of many on Twitter Thursday who noted that her death came only a month later.

As countless social media users delighted in news of Rivers’ death Thursday, “RIP Joan Rivers” quickly rose to the top of Twitter’s trending topics, with many thanking the comedian for five decades of laughs.

Karma, slow as it sometimes is, works both ways.