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David Brenner, who passed away on March 14, was the quintessential comedian, best known for his satirical pokes at current events and a brilliant tendency to talk for days but never finish a sentence without wandering off subject quite often. But whether his subjects were original or offshoots, they all flourished into great anecdotes.
Image courtesy of William T. Wade Jr/INFevents.com
David made his debut on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He went on to appear on The Tonight Show 158 times, guest hosting 75 times. In all of his appearances on the show, he was always required to do a stand-up routine. He once asked Carson why he never graduated from that requirement, as most did, to being able to just come out and sit on the panel for conversation without doing a monologue first. Johnny’s answer was, “I like to sit back, smoke a cigarette and laugh for six minutes.”
Brenner once said his career goal was “to make as many people laugh, as heartily as they can, for as long as I can.”
After 9/11, Brenner canceled his 48-week Las Vegas gig and embarked on a tour called “Laughter to the People.” He called this his most gratifying tour, saying, “I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine and that if one can laugh, one can live. The same applies to a country and her people.”
In memory of David Brenner, his observational comedy and his compassionate spirit, here are 10 of our favorite performances/discussions by him.
image: video screenshot