Last night, the Friars Club hosted a tribute to insult king Don Rickles. Guests, including Louis C.K., Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, and Robert De Niro, all got up to roast Don Rickles, which was a hoot. But first, Bob Saget regaled us with a story about how he still gets flashed by girls. “I just played Bonnaroo last week, and [John] Stamos came out and joined me at the end of my set, and girls flashed their breasts at me! And it’s a conflict of interest, that they do that. My audience is anywhere from 16 to 60, so I’ve got 18-year-olds doing that, who grew up watching Full House, so they’re in their 20s, twentysomething. My daughters are older than them. I think they’ve let go of the fact that I was the father on the show, and I’ve done enough things that are R-rated for them to know that that’s me, that I’m not [Danny Tanner]. Because if that were the case, Anthony Hopkins would eat people. That would be bad.” We didn’t have the heart to tell him that those girls were probably flashing John Stamos. Instead, we sat down and enjoyed the show. Here are some zingers and Rickles anecdotes from the stage.
[Talking about going to see Don perform, and his interactions with the audience.] “He asks this woman, ‘How old are you?’ ‘85.’ ‘Yeah, you got a lot of years … ’ There’s not even a joke there! He just told an old lady you’re going to die soon and everybody laughs, and she laughed so hard, and she died. No. But it’s a puzzle to me: How does this work? There’s a lot of fear in life, and a fearless person is inspiring; you see somebody running into battle who doesn’t give a shit, and it makes you feel better. Don did a lot of jokes about race in a time when it was not cool to do that. This was the seventies down to the fifties, and there were riots, and he would just walk up and say, ‘You’re a black guy.’ Like that! I honestly don’t know what race he is. Is he Italian? Rickles. Sounds Irish? He sorta acts Jewy, a little? I can’ t … now that he’s melting like a candle, he looks like he could be Chinese. Indian? I have no idea. But this was a really neat trick to just make fun of race when it was the most scary part of American culture. He tells a woman she’s going to die, and she laughs.”
Robert De Niro
“When I heard that Bob Newhart, Joan Rivers, Lewis Black, Freddy Roman, John Mayer, Bob Saget, and everyone else was going to be here, I thought, Amazing. That’s a really impressive lineup for Don Rickles’s memorial service. Don would have been so proud. And I wondered why it took so long to hold the wake. I wasn’t exactly sure when you died, Don, but I’m pretty sure it had to have been a while ago … I thought like your career, you just quietly faded away … My only regret is that when I was in Israel last week, I wasted my prayer at the Wailing Wall on Don’s memory. I slipped a little note to Don in the wall … I’m surprised and happy to see you’re still with us. Welcome back.”
“He and I were talking about Michael Douglas and the cunnilingus, and I said to him, ‘It’s terrible about Michael Douglas and cunnilingus,’ and he said, ‘I thought it was an Irish airline.’”
“You were the first insult comic, the first irreverent comic, you created an entire genre, I hope you know that. You are like the Captain Kirk of comedy. You’re like Ellen DeGeneres’s vagina — you’ve gone where no man has gone before.”
“Don, remember we met 53 years ago? One of us still had hair? … He would say the sweetest things, like, ‘I use your show as a nightlight when I want to fool around with the wife.’”
“So many stars, nobody big.”