Over the years David Brenner has proven to be one of the most influential comics in America. One of the first to embrace so-called “observational” humor in the 1970s, his quick wit spawned a legion of like-minded comics. A fixture on TV ever since, he holds the record for the most talk show appearances in the history of that medium.
“If I go over to the cashier (at a restaurant) and say, ‘I’ve been on television talk shows more than any other entertainer in the history of television,’ she would say ‘That’ll be $32.14,’” Brenner says with a laugh. “That’s what it comes down to.”
Being an inspiration to a generation of comics wasn’t as profitable as one might think either.
“Someone once (said to) me ‘You must be very proud that you opened the door for so many comedians’ and named a few who really in a sense were doing a warmed-over me,” Brenner says. “And I said, ‘Yeah, I just wish I would have gone through the door instead of holding it.’ You know, guys had series and walked away with $400 million doing me. It was unbelievable.”
These days Brenner concentrates on current events, which he finds more challenging.
He performs at the Mayerson JCC at 7:30 p.m Thursday. Get show details and read P.F. Wilson's full interview with Brenner here.