David Brenner, now graying a bit, but as sharp and edgy as ever, felt right at home at the Metropolitan Room this week. It’s the site of the former Gotham Comedy Club where he first performed stand-up comedy in the seventies. And just in case the audience forgot, he opened his show with a quick video collage of his TV appearances. He holds the record for the most guest shots on The Tonight Show as well as surpassing other performers with the most guest appearances on all TV talk shows.
Dressed casually in a black shirt and jeans, his observational humor included stories about how New York City has changed through the years. Bike lanes and taxis were among his targets. Many of his longtime social and political subjects are equally relevant today–overcrowded prisons, America’s school system, Congress and lobbyists. He describes his humor as talking about the simple things in everyday life. He is up-to-date on current events and discovers the ridiculous side of them in his stand-up act.
He reminds the audience that he did the last live Ed Sullivan Show and reminisces about his career from when Buddy Hackett helped get him into Vegas. His off-handed style of humor is true David Brenner, with engaging stories to which we can all relate. His airline anecdotes brought back memories of the Eastern Shuttle between NY, DC and Boston. Talking about his days on the road, if he landed a hotel room adjacent to the ice machine, he’d put an “out of order” sign on it so he didn’t have to hear it clang all night. If only the rest of us had thought of that.
Brenner’s other timely targets for his insightful comedy sketches included IHOP, Viagra, the recession, Walmart, Cable news networks, the Pope’s resignation, gun control, Ebay and Facebook. He left little untouched.
After the show he pointed out the irony of how often he appeared on national TV as a guest and yet can’t get his own show today. “There are different people running the business today. I don’t appeal to the 18 to 35 year olds,” Brenner said. “There’s nothing scandalous about me. I could back out in a limo nude with a tattoo of Lady Gaga and smoking grass with a transvestite, and I’m a super star again.”
Regardless, Brenner is still at the top of his game.
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