Remembering Don Rickles: Top shots from his celebrity roasts

Even after he assumed the office of the presidency, Ronald Reagan couldn't escape Rickles' japes.

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Frank Sinatra is surprised when Don Rickles suddenly appears and pays "homage" to the godfather of Hollywood in one of the funniest moments on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1976). Still image taken from YouTube video of the sequence.

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2017 — For those not quite old enough to remember the in-your-face brand of insult comedy perfected by old Hollywood hand Don Rickles, Zachary Leeman’s recent piece in Lifezette will give you a taste of this comedian’s up-close-and-personal barbs and skewers.

No one escaped Rickles’ pinpoint aim, something that’s particularly evident in those famous Rickles TV roasts of top stars that made him famous once again. Even after he assumed the office of the presidency, Ronald Reagan couldn’t escape Rickles’ japes. Perhaps even more surprising, the volatile Frank Sinatra endured Rickles’ insults with reasonably good humor and forbearance, actually refraining from taking out a contract on the comedian.

Yet there was always a warmth and genuine sense of humor hiding beneath Rickles’ jabs that seems sorely missing in 21st century-style standup comedy. He will be missed.


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