Remembering Don Rickles

Don Rickles - Hello Dummy! - Music

If Don Rickles were alive today, you would find him standing on the unemployment line after his visit to the soup kitchen.

Americans now take themselves so seriously. Everything is a slight, an insult, a racist remark!  We are so thin-skilled that we have to watch every word we say because we are afraid someone in the vicinity will be offended! 

We all know that the entire Presidential election was a big joke, a megalomaniac running against a possible dementia patient.  But nobody is laughing about that. No worry, Biden will “stutter” and “stagger” through his Presidency with help of the crew of misfits he will assuredly appoint.  Cannot fathom the possibility of Biden surviving his entire term.  Hail, Kamala Harris, the diversity VP, Queen of the inherited presidency!  Why run for President when you can just “slide” into the seat?

In the movie, Beverly Hills Cop, Eddie Murphy uses “MF” umpteenth times in one locker room scene alone, which for the record, was not even remotely funny.  It actually was a pathetic attempt at humor, much worse than anything Lenny Bruce every did.  For the record, Lenny was publicly castigated for “Every day, people are straying away from the church and going back to God.”   Much funnier and more poignant than Murphy, but the Pope didn’t get it. 

Don Rickles offended everyone.  He was an equal opportunity offender.  He went after Italians, fat people, Jews, and particularly anyone daring enough to sit in the front row of his audience.  In the Catskills, Buddy Hackett was a capable offender, along with Henny Youngman and even Alan King on occasion. (My favorite Alan King response when asked how long he had been married: “I’ve had six very happy years of marriage, and out of twenty-six, that’s not bad”.  Some of the wives didn’t find it so humorous!)

There is of course the havoc created by LGBTQ, who will simply not tolerate any “off-color” remark regarding gay men, lesbians, transgenders, etc.  As a result, we have lost a plethora of jokes about the WNBA from our society. Too bad!  Tragic Loss!

No more body shaming I have been informed.  That just doesn’t seem fair.  We have a national crisis as a result of chronic obesity and morbid obesity and we cannot even joke about it.  We even had a NYC girl, Jazlyn Bradley, sue MacDonald’s because she believed her obesity was a result of the excessive calorie count and lack of nutritional value of its food.  The case was dismissed of course.  Not quite sure what she was thinking when she habituated MacDonald’s, thinking that this particular restaurant was the cure for her propensity to eat far more than the RDA required amount.  (5’6”, 270 lbs.).  Apparently, the journey to MacDonald’s was insufficient exercise!

Let’s be fair.  We coddle our kids, allowing them to eat everything unhealthy.  Keebler, Fritos, Pepsi & Coke.  Hershey Bars & Mars Snickers, not even including Godiva and Toblerone. Not so easy to have any self-discipline, so we just dismiss and say “no body shaming”.  That is far easier than actually teaching our kids to eat healthier foods and controlling what we bring into our homes. 

 James Cordon, a British talk show host, went on a tirade against Bill Maher when Maher did an entire routine on fat shaming.   The real problem, of course, is that Cordon has always had a weight problem and refuses to take personal responsibility.  If you listened to Maher, you realize that he was pretty much on target, with the exception of the unfortunate individuals that have glandular and other medical disorders that prevent them from losing the weight.  Oh, well, there go all of Jackie Gleason’s great jokes about being overweight, out the window. 

Who else has destroyed our sense of humor? We can certainly thank the ACLU, one of the most “offensive” organizations every created. They state they want to protect our First Amendment freedom of speech while going after anyone who says anything remotely racist or ethnicist, even as a joke.  

We can thank Al Sharpton for turning every incident with a Black person into racism even when it never was intended as such.  All of us remember Tawana Brawley and the wreckage of Steve Pagones’ career, except for the ignorant followers of the less than revered Reverend, who apparently have contracted short-term memory loss.  But you have to love Curtis Sliwa’s nicknames for him: “Al Sharpy Sharpton” and “Slim Shady”.  (After big Al lost all that weight.}   

We can thank Colin Kaepernick, who is fortunate not to have injured his knees too severely during his abbreviated career as an overpaid NFL quarterback.  Otherwise, he could not have “taken a knee” during the National Anthem in order to offend many Americans, specifically Veterans and servicemen. It’s not that Colin was entirely wrong, but let’s consider that he hardly grew up in a deprived environment. Maybe spending a little more time improving his skills after injuries rather than pursuing his political agenda might have kept him in the NFL a bit longer.  

Never have really determined why is it ok on a basketball court in the Bronx or Newark for all the Black kids to call each other the “N” word, but if a “White” boy playing basketball with them uses the “N” word he is certain to be crucified?  The answer may be simply: “Reverse Racism”.  It is assumed that when the White boy uses the term, he is expressing racism, but that the Black kid is just being funny!  That is a total crock, spread by organizations like BLM and individuals like Al Sharpton.

After George Floyd, we had better not laugh any more.  We have “Black Lives Matter” clashing with “Blue Lives Matter”.  Personally. I believe that we need more bona fide movements. What about “Hispanic Lives Matter”, “Native American Lives Matter”, “Jewish Lives Matter”, “Islamic Women’s Lives Matter” (the men will be included  if and when “niqabs” are banned forever) and finally “Asian Lives Matter” (we may have to diversify that one to Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. but we’ll discuss that later)?   (Yale and Harvard are having a major problem with the last one).  Of course, we can’t have “White Lives Matter” as that is currently not politically acceptable or fashionable along with “All Lives Matter”!! Where are all these “Movements”?  Seems like too many people are spending their time on “bowel movements” instead of protest movements!!

The Covid-19 pandemic has altered our reality. But it may not be more tragic than the fact that we have now been deprived of any humor in our lives.  The ability to laugh at ourselves, at our frailties, at our differences has always been special and unique. Our sense of humor has now been replaced with a black cloud of anger.  It is so very sad that we are no longer able to look in the mirror and realize that we are just passing through this universe and the ability to laugh is a gift from God.  


There are two poignant quotes to accompany this tirade:

“The secret to success is to offend the greatest number of people!”  George Bernard Shaw.

“Trouble knocked at the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away”. Ben Franklin


Don, may you rest in peace!  I’ll just keep watching the Dean Martin Roasts and appreciate the gift that you gave us.