Don Rickles. What can you say? 60 years in show biz. 82 years old and still runs rings around stand-ups pumping Red Bulls at the Improv. Okay, maybe he moves a little slower, but with aim as deadly as his, who cares?
You’d think that sixty years later, with a million-gag repertoire in that huge hairless skull, Rickles would be coasting. But he worked this show! He insulted the band, the audience, Jimmy – anyone in range. And they loved it. Were some of the jokes creaky? You bet. But if you don’t like this one, there’ll be another along any second. Ba-rum-bum!!
Rickles’ political incorrectness is his stock in trade and still occasionally seems shocking in these sensitive times. Mr. Warmth, however, can get away with anything. When Jimmy noted that JK Live was approaching its 1000th episode, Rickles reflected on the show: “Once in a while when I take a shot at the wife, I use it for a nightlight.” There were other jokes The Guest Whisperer won’t even repeat!
Since Kimmel is in the middle of his concert stunt run, the audience is mostly young enough to get carded. However, when Rickles trotted out an old gag from the ‘60s – “Look at this kid – Halloween’s over!” – both the 19-year-old target and the rest of the audience were falling over. He did get sincere for a second, thanking Jimmy for hosting the Television Academy event featuring his new DVD (“Mr. Warmth – The Don Rickles Project”).
All in all when it comes to talk show appearances, the man is a class act in a class by himself.