Just got the sad news that the all-too-young David Brenner has passed away. Brenner’s stand-up style was brash and urban as befits a street kid from Philadelphia. (Although his body language and delivery always reminded me of that of his good friend Joan Rivers; I’ve always assumed the two influenced each other.) Brenner actually started out making television documentaries before going into stand-up. The historic clip below records his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1971. He would go on to appear on the show over 150 more times.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
For more on comedy history see my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc