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David Brenner, comedian and popular 'Tonight Show' guest, dies at 78

By Kyle Johnson,

David Brenner, who is likely best remembered for his many, many appearances on The Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was host, passed away at the age of 78 on Saturday.

Jeff Abraham, Brenner's former publicist, released a statement on behalf of his family confirming that the comedian had died, while at his New York home, of cancer, reports the Los Angeles Times. The statement also noted that Brenner was still working gigs at a standup comedian only a few months ago.

During Carson's run as host of the Tonight Show, Brenner made over 150 appearances, which also helped boost his career. He was so popular on the show that he even helped stand in on a couple occasions as host.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Brenner was born in Philadelphia on Feb. 4, 1936 and followed his father, Louis Brenner, into comedy and performing, albeit not immediately and in a more roundabout fashion.

After a two-year stint in the Army and attending Temple University, Brenner worked on, in many different aspects, over 100 TV documentaries that often focused on poverty since he himself grew up in a poor neighborhood.

In 1969, Brenner got his first paying standup gig at The Improv. His agent managed to convince a talent coordinator from The Tonight Show to attend a gig of his, but the coordinator was not a fan and said, "Brenner does vomit material. Not only will he not be on The Tonight Show, we'll never let him in the building."

Brenner said that pushed him to try and make it onto the show, which he pulled off in 1971 and afterwards found himself getting plenty of offers for paying gigs.

One such Tonight Show appearance:

image: Screenshot

 
 

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