Comedian David Brenner died today at his home in New York, NY. He was 78. A favorite of Tonight Show host, Johnny Carson, Brenner made over 150 appearances as a guest and substitute host on the NBC latenight show, starting in the ’70s. A contemporary of such stand-up legends as Andy Kaufman, Freddie Prinze and Gabe Kaplan, Brenner made a name for his observational comedic styling accentuated by his toothy grin, wavy hair and lanky demeanor. Brenner was born on Feb. 4, 1936 in Philadelphia, the son of a vaudeville singer and comedian who went under the stage name “Lou Murphy”. Brenner served two years in the Army and after majoring in mass communications at Temple University, he went on to write, direct and produce socially-conscious TV documentaries as the head of the doc department at Westinghouse Broadcasting and Multimedia Broadcasting. Cutting his teeth on the stand-up circuit in New York, in the late ’60s, Brenner was spotted by a Tonight Show talent scout. Several auditions later, Brenner made his debut on the latenight show on January 8, 1971. In 1976, Brenner starred in the short-lived comedy series Snip opposite Lesley Ann Warren, which was a take-off on Warren Beatty’s 1975 film Shampoo. He also played a charity ball auctioneer in the 1989 romantic comedy Worth Winning starring Mark Harmon and Madeleine Stowe. The comedian also made appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The David Frost Show, The Mike Douglas Show, Real Time With Bill Maher, The Late Show With David Letterman, The Daily Show and was a frequent guest on Howard Stern. Brenner was one of the comedians featured seen in the 2005 cult documentary The Aristocrats. Brenner died in New York City at his home. Enjoy this clip of Brenner guest-hosting The Tonight Show:
David Brenner, a prominent stand-up comedian and regular guest of Johnny Carson's on “The Tonight Show,” died of cancer Saturday afternoon in his New York City home surrounded by his family, according to spokesperson Jeff Abraham. He was 78.
Brenner began his career as a writer, producer and director of documentaries, putting more than 100 on the air. Yet he eventually realized “you don't change the world by doing documentaries,” according to a recent “CBS This Morning” profile.
He decided to try comedy for a year, and, shortly before that year was up, his agent brought the top booker for “The Tonight Show” to see Brenner in Greenwich Village.
“He saw me and what he said was ‘David Brenner does vomit material,” Brenner recalled. “‘Not only won't he be on ‘Tonight Show,’ we won't let him in the building at 30 Rockefeller.'”
That lit a fire under Brenner, who prepared a monologue better suited to Carson's show and auditioned. He booked a gig, and his appearance elicited immediate requests for more. He appeared more than 150 times on “Tonight Show” as a guest and substitute host. He also appeared on other talk shows and game shows before hosting his own show for a year.
“In David's final request he asked that one hundred dollars in small bills be placed in his left sock “just in case tipping is recommended where I'm going,” according to a statement issued by Abraham. “His final resting spot will read “If this is supposed to be a joke – then I don't get it!”
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Brenner is survived by his wife Ruth; his three sons, Cole, Wyatt and Slade; his grandson, Wesley.
Watch the full CBS profile below and his first “Tonight Show” appearance below that.
The post David Brenner, Comedian and Johnny Carson Favorite, Dead at 78 appeared first on TheWrap.Related stories from TheWrap:
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