Don Rickles died this past week. He was 90 years old.
Rickles was a comedian extraordinaire! His type comedy off the beaten track. Insulting! Over the top so!
A stand up comedian, he was like a bull getting the best of the matador. He gored his subject matter. Generally, some one in the audience.
I was his victim one time.
It was the mid 1970’s. I was staying at the Plaza in New York City. Rickles was performing at the Copacabana. The shows were 7 and 9. I wanted to see the 9 o’clock show. No room at the inn. Seating only available for the 7 o’clock show.
I would not be seeing Rickles.
My room was on the back side of the Plaza. I had to use the small elevator at the back of the first floor to get to my room.
In was late afternoon when I got in the elevator. No one else on the elevator. As the doors were closing, a body came bursting through. It was Don Rickles.
We nodded to each other. I started in. Explained my desire to see the 9 o’clock show, no room, etc. Could he help? Took a piece of paper and pen out of his pocket. Asked my name and wrote it down.
He told me to enter through the front door of the Copa. Ignore the long line waiting to get in. Ask for a Mr. somebody. The elevator stopped, doors opened and Rickles was gone.
I was thrilled.
I was dressed and ready early. The Copa was walking distance from the Plaza. As I walked by the Pierre, I decided there was time for a drink. The Pierre bar one of the most intimate in New York City.
As luck would have it, I met a young lady from Paris. We started talking. I asked if she would like to join me for the Don Rickles show at the Copa.
She was as thrilled as I was. She picked her extra long mink off the back of her chair and dragged it behind her as we went out the door.
The Copa at this point was two blocks away. We arrived. The line was long outside. I followed Rickles’ instructions. We walked in without waiting. Mr. somebody was there. He asked us to sit at a table on the side and brought us drinks.
The show at the Copa was not on the first floor where we were seated. The show room was in the basement.
After the long line had gone through, my Parisian friend and I were alone in what was a big room also. Had we been forgotten?
Mr. somebody suddenly appeared and escorted us downstairs. The room was packed. He snapped his fingers and all of a sudden two waiters showed up, one carrying a small table above his head. We and the table were escorted right up front. Not even first row. A step beyond.
A bottle of champagne appeared.
To truly image the Copa, recall Goodfellas. Several scenes were shot in the room.
I thought how lucky I was to have run into Rickles. The treatment was top shelf.
Rickles came out. It took him all of three minutes to attack me. I was the show! For a half hour. He beat me, abused me, made fun of me.
Told the crowd how I asked him for help in getting a reservation. Who did I think I was, he asked. Made fun of my nose which he said was large. I did not know it was large till that moment. Accused me of being a Jew.
As to Paris, he said she’s too good looking to be your wife. Has to be your girl friend. Asked her if I was taking good care of her. Figured I must be as he pointed out her mink coat on the back of her chair which was partially lying on the floor. Then looked at me and asked if she was good.
So it went for thirty minutes. Not one second’s break. Everyone laughing, including me.
After the show, he came over, shook hands and apologized. Which was not required. We chatted a few minutes and he was off.
There was no charge for anything.
A fun evening.
Enjoy your day!