There was once a time in America, believe it or not, when we didn’t take ourselves so seriously. People could get together and laugh hysterically. At each other. Amy Poehler remembers those days. Usually there were tuxedos involved, she says, and invariably there were drinks in hand. We weren’t quite so … sensitive.
Poehler says doing what Don Rickles did for five decades is hard for young comedians to pull off these days. It’s difficult to imagine a host treating a Hollywood A-list prima donna the way Rickles did Sammy Davis back in the day. Instead of gasps of shock, howls of laughter met his wisecracks about the legendary singer.
Don Rickles was the only one who could get away with it. “I have based my whole humor on laughing at bigotry,” he said at one such roast. “But if you don’t laugh back, it’s not funny.” And boy did targets like Sammy Davis Jr. laugh back. Along with everyone else around them.
And why do we laugh? Rickles asked at the same venue. Dean Martin had the answer: “Because we must.”
Amy Poehler, one of the most successful actors, writers and producers of comedy in the business today, would definitely agree.
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The series was produced by AARP Studios, Winbrook Entertainment and Stamper Lumber Company.