Jerry Seinfeld, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jon Stewart — among many other all-star comedians–paid tribute to the legendary comedy insult king Don Rickles at the great Apollo Theater on May 6.
In attendance were MTV’s own comedians Andrew Schulz and Chris Distefano, both of whom I met with on the red carpet. When asking Schulz how Don Rickles has influenced his career, he said: “He’s a guy that just says whatever he wants and doesn’t get punished for it. It’s hard to do that.”
Distefano was also influenced by Rickles.
“I think Don Rickles is the original insult comic,” he said. “He made all the insults that someone can make if they came out of my mouth or another comedian’s mouth we would consider them hacky. Coming out of Don Rickles mouth is not because he is the one that created them so I feel that he is the inspiration for all the insult jokes my dad has that he thinks are original. It’s Don Rickles that wrote them and everyone else just copying.”
Here are a handful of snippets from the night:
Jon Stewart: “One night only is all the doctor said.”
Martin Scorsese: “Bob and I did eight pictures together. We put everything we had into each, and we’d always be excited about doing the next one. Then we did Casino with Don 20 years ago. We haven’t worked together since. It’s amazing, Don, the influence you had on our careers.”
Robert De Niro: “Yeah, Don — on behalf of Leo DiCaprio, thanks a lot!”
Tina Fey: “We’re here tonight to celebrate Don Rickles. And honestly, it’s almost like he’s here with us. You can feel his spirit in this room tonight.”
Amy Poehler, gesturing to Rickles: “Tina, Tina — he is here.”
Fey: “Jesus! I thought that was somebody’s purse.”
At the end of the night Don Rickles said “I am thrilled that I look around the room and I’m the biggest name here.”
The highlights are too numerous to list — moments from celebrities such as David Letterman, Brian Williams, Regis Philbin, and Tracy Morgan that can be watched when One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles airs tonight at 9 p.m., only on Spike.