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Billy Crystal Talks Rat Pack With Don Rickles | Dinner with Don

Billy Crystal Talks Rat Pack With Don Rickles | Dinner with Don


>>You were really close with Sinatra.
>>As close as you can be, yeah. So why were you not part of the Rat Pack? ’Cause I was too talented. [laughter] How many years do we know each other?>>Man, I know you a long time.
>>A long time.>>Plus, your cousin…
>>Yeah?>>Solomon Griboff…
>>Yeah, the doctor.>>was my doctor.
>>That’s how I remember. He ruined my baseball career.>>Did he really?
>>Yes. It was right before my bar mitzvah.>>I lived in Long Beach.
>>Yeah.>>You were a Queens kid.
>>Yeah. All right, so…
It’s right before my bar mitzvah, and I’m small. I have a brother 6-2, another one 5-10, and I get scraps. So your cousin, Solomon, says,
“Well, let’s put him on appetite pills. The more he eats, maybe he’ll grow.” I get fat. I don’t grow. I burst through Robert Hall suits. So now he said, “Well, let’s X-ray his hands,” right? And I’m thinking I could be the Yankee shortstop. You know, I’m 12 years old. Phil Rizzuto was 5-5, right?
>>Yeah. So he comes out and he says the thing that to this day has devastated me. He says, “Maybe 5-8.” That killed me. Your cousin. I didn’t know that you grew up in Queens.
>>Jackson Heights. Jackson Heights.
What high school did you go to? Newtown High School.>>Brothers? Sisters?
>>No, just me.>>Just you. Only child?
>>Yeah. I never knew that. Were you a funny kid?>>Well, my mother thought so.
>>[laughing]>>This is great.>>Mr. Rickles will get the check too, thanks.
>>My pleasure. So when I started out, we had Catch a Rising Star, we had the Improv, there was The Comedy Store. It was a place for us to be bad.
>>Right. You know, to get our chops, to get our muscles going, before we went out and started to get jobs. Where was the first place that you said, “All right, I’m going to do an act. Can I get on?” How did you start? Well, I was working in places right off the street. As I was doing my act, paper was rolling in…with a piano player outside. “Dunt, dunt, dunt, dunt, Don Rickles.” And I would just talk to the people.>>So you put this act together…
>>I didn’t put nothing together. They said, “You’re on.”
And I said, “I’m on what?” [laughter]
>>What was your opening line? Well like things like, I’d walk out on the stage, look at a woman and say, “The dress is embarrassing.”>>[laughing] Right away?
>>Yeah. Look at the front row, I’m working a home. Look at the guy with the beard. You’ve got an hour. Jesus. He’s sitting there like he has years.
You’re going to die in the morning, for Christ’s sake. Inherently, you’re a wonderful man and I think that comes through. So when you do that…
>>That’s very sweet, thank you.>>you can get away with stuff.
>>There was one guy — bad, bad guy — and he came to the show with his wife. And I said to the wife, “Yeah. Ooh, what, a bus hit her? What happened?” Show’s over, guy comes backstage with her.
“I want you to tell her now that she’s a dog. You made fun of her, huh?”>>Ow…
>>”How would you like it if I come back here and break your arms?” And my manager, Joe Scandori, at the time was related to, you know, a chain of people, you know.” Yeah. [laughing] A chain of people! And I call him and says, “Joe, this guy is going to kill me.” And he had a voice like a bird. “Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’ll take care of it.”>>[laughing]
>>”I’ll take care of everything, don’t worry.” It seems the guys in Brooklyn called and said, “Schmuck, Rickles is our friend. He could say anything.”>>That’s a good chain of friends.
>>Yeah. [laughter] Jilly Rizzo gave me a break in Miami Beach. Guy said, “You stink!” and Jilly walked over and said,
“[strangling noises]” [laughter]>>So why were you not part of the Rat Pack? Cause I was too talented. [laughter] No, I… I mean, I’m sure Peter Lawford was laughs, but He was fun. He knew how to carry a casket. [laughter]>>And Sammy?
>>He was fun to be with.>>That was like a big break for me. I became his opening act for him.
>>Really.>>And that’s where I starting doing him, because when you’re in a room with somebody that infectious and that legendary…
>>Yeah, absolutely. You can’t help but not want to start to talk like him, and I mean that. Yeah, I know, I always remember you did that. Yeah, and it became so exciting. A lot is made of the jewelry that you wear. I mean, it’s just part of you. It’s not like you’re bragging or, you know, it’s not an ostentatious…
>>They’re fun!>>They’re fun.
>>They’re fun. And they are a part of me because I can’t get the damn things off, you know. But I love them! And this is very special to me. This is from Dick Clark for playing “Pyramid” more than anybody else has ever played the game.>>But not on television.
>>No, at home.>>Just at home, yeah.
>>A dog, a cat, let’s play a little bit.>>House pets.
>>Very good. Crackers, pickles, monkeys.
>>Things found in a barrel. Very good. Schmechlich, albechin, Kichtachen, Schmelmin,
>>Things you hock up in the morning!>>Very good.>>I would do Cosell, I would do Ali.
>>Yeah, well, you do them good, by the way. Hello once again, everyone, Howard Cosell coming to you. [applause] Mohammad, Frazier was incredible. How did you feel about the contest? [laughter] Everybody’s talking about Joe Frazier. Don’t want to talk about you. [laughter] You did a lot of impressions in the beginning. Yeah, we all did, yeah. But the early ones you did was Gable and Burt Lancaster because your first movie was “Run Silent, Run Deep.” Gable used to say to me, “God dammit, Rickles, let’s go and have a beer. We don’t need this.” But Burt, he was serious. “Learn about the submarine, learn about the engine.” “Learn why the sub goes fast.”
[laughter] The first time I met Burt Lancaster was at the Oscars. I tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around and, oh my God, it’s Burt Lancaster. He looked at me and he goes, “Have you ever been an acrobat?” “Because you move like an acrobat. I think you could be an acrobat.” “I was an acrobat. I started as an acrobat.” Anthony Quinn, I loved him. He always used to say, “Uhhhh, where’s the waitress, for Christ’s sake?” And I said, “Tony, you can’t keep eating with your hands.”
[laughter] You’ve seen a lot of presidents. You were born in ’26, so you see…>>Well, I did a show for
>>Lincoln.>>Washington.
>>Washington. Washington.>>The guy I was really close with is George Bush Sr.
>>Senior.>>He was like the back-up guy.
>>It’s called the vice president. Yeah. The president’s here, this is a big shot for me. Last night we had Bush. Well… It was great. Did you see him and the wife after the show? He was in the lobby going, “Nobody knows me.” [laughter] I gave him a cookie, he went away. He didn’t know what time it was. I won a thousand dollars in a bet about you. With Robin, rest his soul. We were doing “Comic Relief,” Robin, Whoopi and I. You graciously come on. We were raising money for the homeless. And I say to Robin before you come out, because we were all so excited that you were coming, I said, “Robin, I’ll bet you a thousand dollars, at some point, Don will slap one of us in the face.” [laughing] I remember that. And you come out, you kill the audience and we sold T-shirts together, and at the end of it when you said, “Am I getting out of here now? Can I leave now?” and we said, “Yeah,” and you slapped Robin in the face.>>Take care of yourself.
>>You too, take care, and I’m glad the hair thing did well. [laughter]>>Yeah, you want to know something?
>>What? I can’t believe that you’re Peter Pan.
[slap] Now, I’ll tell you this…>>I called it!
>>I know! [applause] And as we walk off, I’m basically almost falling down saying, “All right, give me the thousand, we’ll give it to the charity.” But could you have imagined that at 90, you’d still be great and still be out there working? Isn’t that amazing? Well that’s very sweet of you, but.. You go out. How many dates a year do you do now? About 20. And you go out with Regis a lot. Well, that’s a mercy thing. [laughter] You know I’m glad, I’m glad we did this.>>Should we do this again?
>>You’re not strong enough. [laughter]>>Good things, Don.
>>For you, too, a happy and healthy new year. You too, Don. [applause] OK, we’re leaving. I really first became aware of Don on “The Tonight Show,” when he’d come on and he just would destroy everybody. And then I’d see him on the Dean Martin roasts, and where everybody was doing prepared jokes, he took everybody on with an attitude that was just hilarious and you believed him. He’s the last of the breed of comics that inspired me to want to be a comedian. He was on a “Tonight Show” with Johnny and something died. A joke just sat there. And Don said, “I feel like I’m a Jew in Germany and my bike broke.” First, it’s just funny. But second of all, it’s just so… historically accurate. What was harder than being a Jew in Germany and the fact that your mode of getting away from everybody is broken. You don’t get a chance to speak to people like this very often. What it do? It’s your boy, big Snoop Dogg. And I need y’all to go subscribe right now to the AARP Channel. You know what I’m talking about? So you can see Don Rickles and see his right-hand man, no, his left-hand man, Snoop Dogg, live and direct. Go subscribe right now. What you waiting on? What did he say?

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