‘DIDJA EVER NOTICE?’
David Brenner was one of my favorite comedians growing up. I used to love to watch him on the Tonight Show in my early teens. He, to me, in the seventies, was the best of the new comics Carson had on. He was one of the first of the ‘young comics’ of his day to win by doing repeated shots on Carson. I know the comics stoday work their buts off, and come up with a whole new hour with every special, but back then a guy like Brenner had to dig deep to constantly come up with six minute spic and span sets for television. It was hard tedious work. Stand up pointillism. Brenner was a king in this realm.
He did hundreds of Carson spots. In fact for several years, as he’s talked about, Carson made him come on and do a full stand-up before sitting down. Much longer than he made any other comic. One night during a commercial break Johnny asked David if he was curious why he makes him do a stand-up still after all this time on the show. Brenner was curious. Johnny told him that sometimes during the show he needed a break where he could sit back in the dark and laugh and smoke a cigarette. That’s where Brenner came in.
My favorite joke about first doing The Tonight show is one of David’s. We put it into the Comedy Store Documentary.
Brenner had a lot of class. He was also someone that truly befriended younger comics. New acts like Richard Lewis and Jimmy Walker talked often, and still do about his generosity of the spirit and heart and even how he helped comics out who needed money.
He really was one of the all-time best. He may not have changed comedy like a Pryor or a Lily Tomlin did, but he gave the joint a lot of class. He worked his butt off and he always put on a great show. Watch some of his stuff. He really mastered his craft. I hope we never forget this guy.
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