How did Don Rickles get away with his unique style of comedic ridicule? He was politically incorrect before the term even existed, and Zach Galifianakis is clearly as puzzled as the rest of us. Instead of tiptoeing around racial and ethnic stereotypes, Rickles celebrated them — right to the very end. He called Italians fantastic people. “They can work you over in an alley while singing an opera.” Talking about Asians: “Asians are nice people, but they burn a lot of shirts." His trademark insults might have ended anyone else’s Hollywood career. But not Don’s. Because in real life, everyone knew he had a heart of gold.
Over dinner with his idol, Galifianakis seems almost jealous.
Zach’s latest project, the Emmy Award-winning online chat show Between Two Ferns, is straight out of Rickles’ playbook. The simple-minded but sardonic host he plays mocks his guests (everyone from Hilary Clinton to Justin Beiber) with uncomfortable and sometimes inappropriate questions. Rickles’ antics in the 70s, which Galifianakis, 47, remembers from his childhood, would fit perfectly into the format.
When these two legends go at each other over dinner, no one is safe. Not Jewish farmers. Not Puerto Rican cooks. Not Italian waitresses. Not even wives. Both are at the top of their game, if only Galifianakis could stop laughing. Now if they could just agree on who’s going to take care of the check.
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The series was produced by AARP Studios, Winbrook Entertainment and Stamper Lumber Company.