cbs13headerlogo-1 SPORTS1140HeaderLogo gooddayheaderlogo (1)
SPORTS CHALLENGES: Your sports predictions could mean a FREE Trip to Cancun or Jamaica!  Sign up for the Pro Football Challenge | Sign up for the Pro Football Knock Out Pool

Comedian David Brenner, ‘Tonight’ Favorite, Dies

View Comments
PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 6: Comedian David Brenner performs at the Gala Concert where his friend, Bill Cosby, Ed.D. was presented with the Marian Anderson Award April 6, 2010, at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Marian Anderson Award honors artists whose leadership on behalf of a humanitarian cause(s) or issue benefits society. Previous recipients include Maya Angelou and Norman Lear (2008), Richard Gere (2007), Sidney Poitier (2006), Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis (2005), Oprah Winfrey (2003), Danny Glover (2002), Quincy Jones (2001), Elizabeth Taylor (2000), Gregory Peck (1999), and Harry Belafonte, (1998). No Award was given in 2004 or 2009. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA – APRIL 6: Comedian David Brenner performs at the Gala Concert where his friend, Bill Cosby, Ed.D. was presented with the Marian Anderson Award April 6, 2010, at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Marian Anderson Award honors artists whose leadership on behalf of a humanitarian cause(s) or issue benefits society. Previous recipients include Maya Angelou and Norman Lear (2008), Richard Gere (2007), Sidney Poitier (2006), Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis (2005), Oprah Winfrey (2003), Danny Glover (2002), Quincy Jones (2001), Elizabeth Taylor (2000), Gregory Peck (1999), and Harry Belafonte, (1998). No Award was given in 2004 or 2009. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

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.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus