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Comedian David Brenner, 'Tonight' favorite, dies

David Brenner, 'Tonight Show' Favorite, Dies At 78

LOS ANGELES (AP) - David Brenner, the gangly, toothy-grinned "Tonight Show" favorite whose brand of observational comedy became a staple for other standup comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser, died Saturday. He was 78.

Brenner, who had been fighting cancer, died peacefully at his home in New York City with his family at his side, according to Jeff Abraham, his friend and publicist.

"David Brenner was a huge star when I met him and he took me under his wing. To me, historically, he was the godfather of hip, observational comedy," comedian Richard Lewis said in a statement. "He mentored me from day one. ... His passing leaves a hole in my life that can never be replaced."

Brenner's standup routines became a favorite of "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson starting in the 1970s.

His 150-plus "Tonight Show" appearances turned the former documentary filmmaker into a hot comedian. Brenner was a regular on other TV talk shows and game shows and starred in four HBO comedy specials. He also briefly hosted his own syndicated talk show in 1987.

He moved with the times, trading routines about the humor of everyday life for jokes about social and political issues. He appeared on MSNBC and Fox News Channel cable programs as well as talk shows.

"David was one of the most respected and liked comedians by his peers. He was always there helping a bright young comedian, whether it be Richard Lewis, Freddie Prinze or Jimmie Walker, and he was still doing it until the very end," Abraham said.

Brenner worked steadily through 2013 doing standup. A four-day gig last December included a New Year's Eve show at a King of Prussia, Pa., casino-resort in which he showcased young comedians.

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simmondsfrank March 16 2014 at 8:42 PM

He made me LAUGH !

Rest In Peace

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bfld8 March 16 2014 at 9:05 PM

He was a very human and kind client of mine. He saw humor in everything and was patient with the foibles of others. One of my favorite possessions will always be an autographed and personalized copy of his very sweet autobiography.

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virgo363r March 16 2014 at 7:28 PM


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Brian Cherry March 16 2014 at 7:25 PM

It seems like all the great talent is slowly fading away...
Loved this guys humor, looks and wisdom, thanks for the memories.
See you down the road... R.I.P.

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oldsmoky11 March 16 2014 at 5:28 PM

David was always one of my favorites, he could talk for 2 hours and never say a dirty word....he was just plain funny!! He and Bill Cosby were in the same league as far as the "clean" shows....haven't seen him in quite a long time, now I know why....he will be missed!! RIP funny man

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Catherine March 16 2014 at 5:50 PM

David Brenner was hilarious! Never a foul word or gesture, just humor with the right delivery, al la Bill Cosby. A truly funny man that many of today's "Comics" could learn a lot from.
RIP, funny man. Thanks for the laughs.

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sgaglia March 16 2014 at 4:57 PM

I had seen him many times on TV. His jokes didn't demean anyone, he never used foul language, never spoke ill of anyone and was one of the funniest comedians I know. The most most risque joke I ever heard from him was --
"In a study, it as found that the most beautiful part of a woman men found most attractive was their eyes. That is why we have so many restaurants called "Pupils". Well, only he could deliver it. I will miss him.

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helenebroomer March 16 2014 at 6:05 PM

What a loss to the world of comedy and the world itself
He was a "MENSCH"
Rest in peace Duddy - you will be missed

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Janie March 16 2014 at 5:55 PM

RIP David. I remember seeing you in Las Vegas many, many years ago and you were fabulous my friend. There are just some people with whom you feel a connection....that was you. So very sorry to the Brenner family for your loss.

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David March 16 2014 at 5:48 PM

David Brenner and Bill Cosby-
Two Philadelphia comedians that made it to the top
of the Show Business world.
Rest in Peace David Brenner,
and may your family be comforted that he brought joy and laughter
to many people; for many, many years.

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