It was a classic moment in late-night television. Frank Sinatra gets a huge surprise when his buddy Don Rickles shows up in one of the funniest moments on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1976. In this Frank Sinatra interview, Carson asks Sinatra some very personal questions and Rickles has a hilarious conversation with Sinatra.
If you’re old enough, I’m sure you remember this infamous night on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson when Don Rickles busts Sinatra’s chops in the most hilarious style that only Rickles can pull off. Attention comedians: don’t try this today!
Old Frankie is talking to Johnny and out walks Don Rickles and he proceeds with his impromptu roast. But watch how cleverly Rickles changes tack, kowtowing before Sinatra one moment, zinging him the next, and devising crazy Italianate names with dizzying mental alacrity which only Robin Williams could match. Still, the best part s near the end of the video where Old Blue eyes share a little chestnut about Rickles and their hilarious escapades one night in a restaurant.
Rickles also made light of Sinatra’s marriage and said the famous singer likely belts out his own tunes in the bedroom. Again, Sinatra was in stitches. I don’t think anybody else could pull this off as Sinatra was known for having quite a temper, but you can see these guys are really good friends.
The video below featuring these three legends is simply comedy at its finest and everyone agrees. One viewer commented about Don Rickles, “I don’t care who he made fun of or talked about they all laughed. He did it all without cursing or vulgar language, too. It was all just an act because in reality he was a loving guy. Well done, Don. Now you can get back to roasting Frank Sinatra!”
There will be only one Don Rickles. They just don’t make ’em like Don anymore. How in the world does he get away with it? I remember when his last appearance on Larry King Live in 1985:
“Well, I just wanted to say to you, Larry, as a favor, please don’t call me anymore. I think this was an absolute waste. This will not change my life one bit. I personally feel your show is not going to make it much longer, really. You’re an annoying guy sitting there in your little funny little sweater every night, leaning over, pressing, you’re like a beaver, you’re trying to snarl and get information. Larry, go back to Miami and do what you do best — suck up a swamp. Don’t bother people, Larry.”