Comedian David Brenner died at 78. A favorite of Tonight Show host, Johnny Carson, Brenner made over 150 appearances as a guest and substitute host on the NBC late night show, starting in the ’70s. A contemporary of such stand-up legends as Andy Kaufman, Freddie Prinze and Gabe Kaplan, Brenner made a name for his observational comedic styling. Brenner was born on Feb. 4, 1936 in Philadelphia, the son of a vaudeville singer and comedian who went under the stage name “Lou Murphy”. Brenner served two years in the Army and after majoring in mass communications at Temple University, he went on to write, direct and produce socially-conscious TV documentaries as the head of the doc department at Westinghouse Broadcasting and Multimedia Broadcasting. Cutting his teeth on the stand-up circuit in New York, in the late ’60s, Brenner was spotted by a Tonight Show talent scout. Several auditions later, Brenner made his debut on the late night show on January 8, 1971. Brenner was one of the comedians featured seen in the 2005 cult documentary The Aristocrats. Brenner died in New York City at his home.
Brenner appeared on The Tonight Show 158 times, and hosted it 75 times. Suffice to say, if you have that kind of record as a comedian on The Tonight Show, you’re pretty amazing. Also, if you haven’t see The Aristocrats, I highly recommend it.
Check out his debut appearance on The Tonight Show: