This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with Don Rickles.
Celebrated entertainer and Las Vegas legend Don Rickles brings his one-of-a-kind comedy back to The Orleans Showroom October 6 and 7.
Rickles, who had appeared in top showrooms and concert halls for more than 55 years, earned the nicknames “The Merchant of Venom” and “Mr. Warmth” (coined affectionately by Johnny Carson) for his style of humor in which he pokes fun at people of all ethnicities and walks of life.
Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment of his breakthrough, Rickles believes the ball really started rolling on the night of October 7, 1965, during his first appearance on “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson. His freewheeling performance that night became the talk of the show business industry and caused nationwide comment among the press and public. Rickles went on to become a frequent guest and guest host on “The Tonight Show,” appearing over 100 times during Carson’s tenure.
Rickles continues to be very active on the stand-up comedy scene, and is still a popular performer in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and other venues around the country. He has no plans to retire. “I’m in good health. I’m working better than I ever have. The audiences are great. Why should I retire? I’m like a fighter. The bell rings and you come out and fight. My energy comes alive. And, I still enjoy it.”
This spring, Rickles received the prestigious “Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence” at the Comedy Awards in New York City.