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Las Vegas Legends

Vegas Headliner Don Rickles

Don Rickles last interview with
Johnny Carson in May 1992

"Everything I've ever done in my whole career, people might not know, I've never written anything down on paper." - Don Rickles

A headliner in Las Vegas (Sahara and the Golden Nugget), comedian Don Rickles was a 'peripheral member' of the legendary Rat Pack, basically a court jester, thanks to his friendship with Frank Sinatra who took an instant liking to the insult comic. Rickles was one of the few allowed to kid Sinatra so viciously. “Nobody ever dared with Frank,” Rickles was quoted as saying, “because he had such mood swings and you never knew how he was going to react. But I could tell the minute I saw him that he was going to be in my corner.”

It was often said Rickles was an equal-opportunity offender, he insulted anyone and everyone. From The New York Times: One night, on learning that some members of his audience were German, he said, “Forty million Jews in this country, and I got four Nazis sitting here in front waiting for the rally to start.” He said that America needed Italians “to keep the cops busy” and blacks “so we can have cotton in the drugstore,” and that “Asians are nice people, but they burn a lot of shirts.” He might ask a man in the audience, “Is that your wife?” and, when the man answered yes, respond: “Oh, well. Keep your chin up.”

“An insult comic is the title I was given. What I do is exaggeration. I make fun of people, at life, of myself and my surroundings.” He liked to say, to temper the acidity of his act, “I wish for you, my friends, that for years to come you have what I have—people who care.” He frequently told jokes about his wife being the epitome of the Jewish American Princess stereotype who “likes to lie in bed, signalling ships with her jewelry.”

Because of his effervescent unpredictability, Rickles was a favorite guest star on talk and variety shows like The Hollywood Palace, Dean Martin Show, Merv, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Show with David Letterman. Johnny Carson especially proved to be a superior straight man for Rickles' putdowns, his first appearance on Carson's program was in 1965.


After Carson retired in 1992 after 3 decades on the air, Rickles continued appearing on the Tonight show after Jay Leno took over as host. Here's an appearance from 2011:

 

I always thought Rickles worked better with Letterman than Leno. This is from 2007:


Kids today know Don Rickles as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Disney Toy Story franchise. Toy Story 4 was dedicated to the comedian (in addition to animator Adam Burke). Don Rickles died in 2017, he was 90.

 

 

 

Stuff you might not find at other web sites - Vegas Legends collects obscure stories about the greatest entertainers of all time! With rare performances from the casino showrooms and from the world of Television.

Frank Sinatra

Dean Martin

Sammy Davis Jr Story

Dean Martin Live in Las Vegas

Frank Sinatra
with Dean Martin

Jerry Vale

Don Rickles' Last Carson Appearance

Joan Rivers vs Johnny Carson

Angie Dickinson

Remembering Bobby Darin

Who Killed Elvis?

Viva Las Vegas!

Sammy Davis, Jr.

Elvis

Lola Falana

Don Rickles

Don Rickles' Last Show

Sonny & Cher

The Supremes

Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows

Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy

Louis Prima

Pat Cooper

Johnny Carson

Mort Lindsey

Liberace

Red Buttons

Donny & Marie Are Calling It Quits

Donny & Marie Are Calling It Quits

Totie Fields

Phyllis Diller: An Appreciation

Steve Allen

Betty White on Don Rickles

Totie Fields

Phyllis Diller: An Appreciation

Steve Allen

Betty White on Don Rickles

Elvis' Background Singers

Wayne Newton

George Carlin

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme

Redd Foxx

Las Vegas & The Mob

Henny Youngman

Rodney Dangerfield

How Las Vegas Has Changed Since the 1970s

How Las Vegas Has Changed Since the 1960s

More on How Las Vegas Has Changed Over the Years

Vegas Fashion

Joan Rivers

Las Vegas Postcards

BONUS: Garry Shandling in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Legends

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