As I write these words, beloved insult comedian Don Rickles has been dead for about 72 hours.
His ability to reduce audiences to near helpless laughter was practically the stuff of legend. What follows are just a few of the jokes he made in the presence of – and at the expense of – the revered and the famous:
“There’s no booing! There’s no booing! If there’s another outburst we’re going to let Bob Hope get up and do his jokes.”
Bob Hope, as you all know, he’s in the back standing there with three soldiers and an American flag saying ‘find another war.'”.
“We kid, we kid about great stars such as you, Bob. Why? Because you’re old and washed up.”
Sammy Davis Jr.
“I wish you wouldn’t touch me, Sammy. You people rust.”
“Sammy, you’re a black man. I took a guess. If you ain’t black you fell into a bucket of M&Ms.”
“All peoples are alike. You live in my neighborhood, I’ll live in yours, right Sam? Are you crazy?”
“Dean, thank you for the wonderful introduction. You would love the evening if you knew you were here.”
“Dean’s laughing. And why not, Dean? There’s a contract out for you.”
“My wife said to me last night as we laid in bed, she said, ‘Is Lucy young?’ and I said, ‘Baby, young is not the point. It’s what’s in your heart.’ Right, Lucy? Lucy? Put her in a home! Look at this, the husband went, ‘Yeah!'”
“Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, has been a great star for so many years. This man was married to a great many women in his life. They’re all flat now.”
“The man works in a closet, for Christ’s sake.”
“Howard, you look like a Jew Zulu.”
Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro
“Marty, you are the most annoying director I ever had in my life. DeNiro is sitting there–God bless you, Bob, he’s got the beard on. To know him is a treat, he’s one of the great actors of our time. You ask him! You ask him, he’ll tell you.”