I’d say my place in hell is now firm, but that happened a long time ago.
I am normally all for touching tributes, but I’m sure Don Rickles would rather we all remember his wit and “equal opportunity offender” humor. Having grown up with parents (ok, my dad) who exposed me to legendary comedians and their work (guess who watched George Carlin on TV when they were ten years old?), I am familiar with Don Rickles work. Given my age, I should only know him from the Toy Story movies, but I’m pretty well schooled with comedians. Rickles’ humor was off-color and insulting, but to me and many others, he is legendary, and unless you have no sense of humor, it is pretty hard not to laugh.
I was home last night, and distinctly recalled an In Living Color sketch where Jim Carrey played Don doing what he did best. Over on Retroist, I’ve written a few tributes in the last year to several other celebrities who had the distinction of being parodied on that show (more specifically, Prince, Muhammad Ali, and Alan Thicke). While I worried then about possibly offending anyone in the past (I hate how touchy we’ve gotten), I remember that Don Rickles didn’t care if he insulted you (especially if he called you a hockey puck), because it meant he liked you.
I found this sketch from In Living Color (I think it is from 1992), and it features Jim Carrey as “Mr. Warmth,” entertaining dignitaries at the United Nations. Or, at least, he’s entertaining himself.
Click play to watch this sketch, and may we all laugh knowing that wherever he is, Rickles is probably calling someone a hockey puck.
It is also a pretty good impression.
Rest in peace, Don Rickles.
Ya hockey puck.
Trust me, he would have wanted us to remember him that way!