“If I were to insult people and mean it, that wouldn’t be funny.” ~ Don Rickles
We lost another great comedian this week. It broke every comedian’s heart that I know. Yeah, he was 90 but even when George Burns died at 100 years old it was still heartbreaking. Rickles will always be a national treasure. Here was also a good actor. Among other roles, his acting in “Casino” was flawless.
Donald Jay “Don” Rickles (May 8, 1926 – April 6, 2017) became well known as an insult comic, his pudgy, balding appearance and pugnacious style led to few leading roles in film or television; his prominent film roles included Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) and Kelly’s Heroes (1970), and beginning in 1976 he enjoyed a two-year run starring in the sitcom C.P.O. Sharkey.
He received widespread exposure as a popular guest on numerous talk shows, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Show with David Letterman, and later voiced Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story films. He won a Primetime Emmy Award for the 2007 documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.
I love the story of his great pal Frank Sinatra. Rickles was having dinner with a young lady that he wanted to impress and he saw Sinatra sitting a few tables away. When she went to “powder her nose”, Don asked Frank to wait until she came back and then come to the table and say hi to him, impressing the lady.
After she returned, Sinatra went to their table to say hello. He did and Rickles said, “Frank, can’t you see were having dinner here? Stop bothering me”!
🎥 WATCH: Don Rickles & Johnny Carson’s Cigarette Box Bit | Heavy …
I never had the good fortune to meet him but by all accounts he was loved and respected by millions. I’ve performed in front of 10,000 people and everything in between, but one of the shows I’ll never forget was performing in front of one guy. He had his arms crossed and wasn’t laughing at anyone.
Finally it was my turn. He didn’t laugh at me either. So I went down to talk to him. I asked him what kind of comedy he liked. I swear he said, “Something more subtle, like Don Rickles. I know! I said, “Seriously? Don Rickles is about as subtle as Simon Cowl”.
Then I asked him, “So if I did an insult show like Don Rickles, you would like it”? He said, “You’re no Don Rickles”. Check please. The show was over. I ended up having a nice chat with the guy who said he had just had a fight with his wife before he came down and decided he wasn’t going to laugh at us. He admitted that a lot of our material was funny. Good guy.
In any event, we will miss you, Mr. Rickles, sir. You were truly one of a kind.