Legendary comedian Don Rickles, famous for insulting nearly everyone, died of kidney failure yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 90. Given today’s political and social climate, it’s unlikely we’ll see anyone like him again.
The video below gives a taste of his humor, and do read the New Yorker profile of Rickles from 2004, “Don’t call me Sir: Don Rickles and the art of the insult.”
It makes the point that although Rickles frequently drew his comedy from stereotypes of women and ethnic groups, it was an equal-opportunity humor with a good motive. As the New Yorker noted, “The stated intention of this genial racism is a liberal one. Rickles is an equal-opportunity offender, the idea goes—a kind of workingman’s Lenny Bruce—deploying stereotype to demonstrate that we are all different and all equal. For many years, he ended his act with a prayer that he would one day see…
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