Comedian Don Rickles, master of the insult rather than strictly the joke, died today. He was 90 years old.
Like so many comedians, Rickles used his act to mask the kind of person he really was. He was well-liked by everybody.
However, he liked to push the envelope. As the linked obituary notes, he insulted everybody. He didn't discriminate at all when it came to the insults. Good thing he made his career before the queer theory cancer took hold because he would have been "no-platformed" everywhere in the country.
From the obituary:
As brutal as his remarks could be, they rarely left a mark. (“I’m not really a mean, vicious guy,” he told an interviewer in 2000.) Sidney Poitier was said to have once been offended by Mr. Rickles’s racial jokes. But in “Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project,” a 2007 documentary directed by John Landis, Mr. Poitier sang Mr. Rickles’s praises.
Recalling the first time he saw Mr. Rickles perform, Mr. Poitier said: “He was explosive. He was impactful. He was funny. I mean, outrageously funny.”
Mr. Rickles got his first break, the story goes, when Sinatra and some of his friends came to see him perform in 1957 — in Hollywood, according to most sources, although Mr. Rickles said it was in Miami. “Make yourself at home, Frank,” Mr. Rickles said to Sinatra, whom he had never met. “Hit somebody.” Sinatra laughed so hard, he fell out of his seat.
Sinatra was the butt of many of Rickles' jokes/insults.
Not only that, but his wife, whom he married when he was 40 years old, was also a source of barbs. Somehow they stayed married for over 50 years.
Rickles continued to work until 2015.
Here is a Don Rickles appearance on the Tonight Show from 1990: