Don Rickles Remembered | HumorOutcasts

Don Rickles Remembered

April 7, 2017
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“If I were to insult people and mean it, that wouldn’t be funny.” – Don Rickles

And there you have it, the secret to his success. These days everybody wants to be an insult comic—just go to the comments of any web article and watch everyone sharpening their verbal knives, hurling insults, name-calling with glee. They all think they’re original, and they all think they’re funny.

“Who picked your clothes—Stevie Wonder?” – Don Rickles

Don Rickles was way ahead of them, plus he was funnier. He got away with it, too. He didn’t care about your race, sex, religion—he just wanted to know what they were so he could make fun of you.

“My mother was a Jewish General Patton” – Don Rickles

That’s Don on the left, insulting the Japanese during WW II.

How did he get away with it? Easy: He didn’t mean it. Jokes today just seem mean-spirited, like you’re not trying to be funny so much as getting a dig in.

“Compared to what some of the young comics use for material today, I’m a priest.” – Don Rickles

But with Rickles you got the impression it was all an act—that he never meant a thing that he said. That he was—although he’d deny it—secretly a nice guy. And by all accounts of those who knew him, it was true. That, as he admitted himself, was the trick—to be likeable and liked before you start with the insults.

“Oh my God, look at you. Anyone else hurt in the accident?” – Don Rickles

R.I.P. Don Rickles, 90 years old, World War II veteran and, as Johnny Carson put it, “Mr. Warmth”.

“If I took therapy, the doctor would quit. He’d just pick up the couch and walk out of the room.”

(To Johnny Carson) “That’s it, laugh it up. You’re making $50 million a year and your poor parents are back in Nebraska eating locusts for dinner.”

 

Mark R Hunter

Mark R Hunter is the author of three romantic comedies: Radio Red, Storm Chaser, and its sequel, The Notorious Ian Grant, as well as a related story collection, Storm Chaser Shorts. He also wrote a young adult adventure, The No-Campfire Girls, and a humor collection, Slightly Off the Mark. In addition, he collaborated with his wife, Emily, on the history books Images of America: Albion and Noble County, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or So With The Albion Fire Department, and Hoosier Hysterical. Mark’s work also appeared in the anthologies My Funny Valentine and Strange Portals: Ink Slingers’ Fantasy/Horror Anthology. For two decades Mark R Hunter has been an emergency dispatcher for the Noble County Sheriff Department. He’s served over 32 years as a volunteer for the Albion Fire Department, holding such positions as safety officer, training officer, secretary, and public information officer. He also has done public relations writing for the Noble County Relay For Life, among other organizations, and served two terms on the Albion Town Council. When asked if he has any free time, he laughs hysterically. Mark lives in Albion, Indiana, with his wife and editor Emily, a cowardly ball python named Lucius, and a loving, scary dog named Beowulf. He has two daughters and twin grandsons, and so naturally is considering writing a children’s book.

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8 Responses to Don Rickles Remembered

  1. April 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    He was great on the "Get Smart" show. He was supposed to be one for only one episode but he had so many great ad libs, which encouraged Don Adams to ad lib and soon they had enough material for two shows..

    • April 13, 2017 at 6:49 am

      Yeah, he was a great ad libber. He didn’t seem to do so well with his own shows, but maybe that was because he had to stick to the script too much.

  2. April 9, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    He was great on the “Get Smart” show. He was supposed to be one for only one episode but he had so many great ad libs, which encouraged Don Adams to ad lib and soon they had enough material for two shows.

    • April 13, 2017 at 6:51 am

      I was also a fan of his show “CPO Sharkey” — although the funniest moment from that show was when Johnny Carson walked across the hallway from the Tonight Show and invaded while Rickles was in the middle of taping.

  3. April 8, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Wow! I didn’t know he died. I loved his humor as so many did. The art of making insults funny is a talent few people have. It is too easy to slide into the mean spirited category which always puts my teeth on edge. Thanks for writing a tribute to this great funny man, Mark.

    • April 9, 2017 at 1:48 am

      You’re welcome! What I liked about him is that no matter how nasty his words seemed, he never came off as being really mean-spirited. I’m afraid he was one of the very few left of the old-school I loved so much … maybe Bob Newhart, and that’s it.

      • April 10, 2017 at 7:16 am

        Bob Newhart is another one of the greats!

        • April 13, 2017 at 6:49 am

          Absolutely — I still love to catch his shows. He was a riot more recently on “The Big Bang Theory”.



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