Monday, March 17, 2014
Rant #1,365: Last Laugh
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the weekend, many of you might have missed the Obituary section this weekend.
There was one passing that I really did a double-take on.
Comedian David Brenner died after losing his bout with cancer.
He was 78, and this is the thing that got me, his age.
He was one of the young lions of comedy that came up in the early 1970s, guys like Robert Klein and David Steinberg.
They were the next wave of comics, looked at life a different way than their more staid comedic brothers, had longer hair, wore chains as opposed to ties around their necks, and due to shows like "The Tonight Show," became household names for quite a spell.
I just didn't realize that Brenner, a native of Philadelphia and one more in the long line of Jewish comics, was older than most of his contemporaries when he hit it big. Heck, he was just five years younger than my parents.
Brenner was a popular comic, but I don't think he had the cache of many of his peers, from Klein to Jay Leno. He didn't have that one standout schtick that made him instantly recognizable, even though through the early 1990s, he was as ubiquitous on television as any comedian of the day.
He also had his cable TV specials, but I don't think he embraced that as much as a Robert Klein or George Carlin did.
Brenner was a true comic, but he seemed to be the one out of that group who had one foot in the old type of comedy--the really funny, just everyday type of stuff, and the new, where he wanted you to laugh as well as think.
His comedy started to take a nosedive on television, at least, when he made headlines by a protracted battle to win custody of his son.
If I remember correctly, he had had a relationship with a woman, she became pregnant, had the child, but refused Brenner's desire to be a father to his kid.
She was into drugs and that sort of lifestyle, and after years of battles that made headlines, he came out the victor.
At the time of his death, he had married another woman, and I believe that he had children with her.
Even though that battle was very public, his other family was very low-profile, which I think was a situation he desired after the nonsense he went through on a public stage about his first child.
Anyway, Brenner was still all over the place to his dying day.
Although his type of more cerebral comedy was somewhat passe--heck, you don't have to think much when comedy is splattered with more four-letter words than clean words --he was still pretty ubiquitous in just about all media.
You would often hear him on Mark Simone's old "Saturday Night Oldies" show on WABC, and he was still doing standup and appearing on several of cable's political and news channels here and there.
That is why when I opened up the paper on Saturday--a truly dead day for newspapers during the week--I was really startled to hear of his death, and in particular, his age when he passed.
R.I.P., and just know this guy is making people laugh--and think--where he is now.
Posted by Larry at 2:00 AM