My Very First Funny Guy

images I’m now convinced I live under a rock.

How didn’t I know David Brenner died March 15, of cancer right here in New York City not far from where I live?

He was 78 years old.

That just doesn’t seem possible…he couldn’t have been looking into the eye of his eighth decade. Not the guy I’d rush home to watch whenever he hosted The Tonight Show recording it just in case I was late.

The same guy who took me to dinner a dozen or so times in the early eighties after meeting him through a friend.

When I pop his file so many things bolt out as though the air gave them a fresh coat of paint.

At dinner he’d order a Chef’s Salad because so many fans would besiege him for autographs, his food would get cold.

In those days he lived in an elegant town house in the East 60s that rivaled a Rockerfeller’s filled with antiques and art deco decor.

He had a park bench his pals from his home town of Philadelphia gave him from the old neighborhood he proudly kept on his roof.

He’d pick me up in a stretch limo driven by a young aspiring actor named Elvis he treated like a brother.

I’d hop in the back beside him, the wiggly kid I was, to find him smiling that dinosaur grin of his always happy to see me.

His features, though crooked, all kind of hung together like a bunch of friends who really got along, and of course there was that perennial laugh to make you feel like a million bucks.

I was such a fan of his that one night coasting up First Avenue I asked him, “Could we stop at Catch a Rising Star?” Then the hottest comedy club on the East Coast.

When we pulled up you would have thought the real Elvis had appeared, and it wasn’t far from the truth…David Brenner at that time was truly the Elvis of Comedy.

When he walked in, the sea parted, the MC calling to him from the stage. With grace and ultimate confidence without any preparation, he took the mike bringing the house to its mirthful knees.  images-3

I stood in the corner in his glow, everyone of course wanting to know who the girl was on Brenner’s arm.

It was only me, a silly sprite in her twenties all agog over a man who could make the world feel better as if that was what he was put on the earth to do.

The last time I saw him he gave me his best toothy grin and said, “Bianchi, what are ya takin, zinc? Why do you look so great while I’m going out screamin?”

He always knew how to make you feel good no matter what the circumstances.

To make your eternal exit knowing you healed the planet every time you opened your mouth is his quintessential legacy he left all those who knew, loved and admired him.

David, funny to the last, as a final request, asked that $100 in small bills be placed in his left sock ‘just in case tipping is recommended where I’m going.’

His final resting place will read,

‘If this is supposed to be a joke — then I don’t get it!’ “

He’ll be missed, but better than that….forever remembered.   images

David Brenner 1936-2014

Susannah Bianchi





About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
This entry was posted in humor, media, New York City, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to My Very First Funny Guy

  1. jimmie chew says:

    that was nice 😦


  2. micklively says:

    I don’t remember David but I’m sure he’s chuffed with your eulogy, wherever he is.


    • Unlike Hicks, he was a big deal here, not in England. Love the term chuffed.

      He was truly a happy guy who had a great life. He died at home surrounded by his family. That should be what happen to all of us.


  3. katecrimmins says:

    You have dated some very interesting men! I always liked him. His humor was easy.


  4. Hank Gans says:

    Most of us probably envision David Brenner as the tall and thin 40-something’ish everyman with the broad grin and quick wit. To know that he was 78 sounded an alarm bell in my head to shock me into the reality that I’m not as young as I think I am and, now, to know that he’s no longer with us really makes me super-aware of my mortality. You had the pleasure of really knowing him, and I’m sorry for your loss, but we all felt that he was someone we “knew” because his personal life was something he’d share with us with that big toothy grin and tremendous enthusiasm. David Brenner was not a comic that one laughed at, but, rather, shared a laugh with. He was remembered this week in a segment of National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air”, which includes a wonderful 1992 interview with him, enabling us, even if only for a few wonderful minutes, to have David Brenner, once more, share his life with us:

    RIP, David Brenner, a wonderful guy.


    • Thanks for this…he was someone you shared a laugh with for sure. And I believe the reason we witness the passing of another is to remind us to live. It’s hard think he will be no more. Appreciate the link.


  5. skinnyuz2b says:

    I clearly remember laughing as we watched him on various TV shows. He was so funny. And now we find out he had excellent taste by dating you! Thanks, for a little peek into his life.


    • Awe…what a sweet thing to say. I keep telling myself he had a great life, because he truly did and died at home surrounded by his family. He was in great health right before and his exit was quick…like Hicks who also died of pancreatic cancer just forty years earlier. Thanks Skinny.


  6. When I saw that he had passed on I wondered if you had known him. What a precious memory you have shared. I can remember watching him on t.v. , I always laughed. Thanks for sharing this. ❤


  7. It’s so interesting to hear all the small details you remember that only someone who knew him would know. I had heard of him, of course, but hadn’t heard any of his standup, so I went and watched some. He was a really funny man.


    • Especially at a time when stand-up was still an art by a handful of talented people. Now the world does it…the toll collector and grocer on their nights off…he was old school and quite the celebrity. He took a hit because he was trying to get custody of his son Cole and couldn’t be out of the general area for more than a certain time or he’d be considered an absentee father, so he had to miss out on lots of high-paying gigs. Anyway…I remembered more than that but didn’t want to overload the piece…like he would never walk on grating or under scaffolding…why tempt fate, he’d say…he also had a German Shepard named Streets and a bullet proof tube that if someone broke into his house, would come down and protect him. He was very paranoid after the death of John Lennon…he even had a gun permit…see, that file is still brimming David 🙂


      • Something for your memoirs, right? You could do a whole chapter on him. Not sure if you are planning to write an autobiography, but I think it would be fascinating reading. I would totally buy it. 🙂
        By the way, a bulletproof tube is pretty cool. Kind of a Man from UNCLE sort of gadget.


      • You’re very sweet to think I’m that interesting…I could say to you…so you’re the one who bought my book 🙂


      • Bah, I’d market it to everyone I knew. So, you know, about 10 people. 🙂 Seriously though, you’re a great writer and you’ve had a very interesting life. I think it’s a good idea.


      • Well…I’ll tuck it away and thanks for flattering me so. Could use it this dismal, rainy morning.


      • He was very concerned he’d be gunned down…by whom who knows…when he showed me his gun he kept in the back of his pants like a mafia guy, I started to laugh. He said. “Ya think it’s funny? Got two words for you Bianchi (never Susannah, always Bianchi), John Lennon.”


      • I can see why something like John Lennon’s murder would be unnerving, just the sheer randomness of it. You can’t predict a guy like Mark Chapman.


      • And of course, not experiencing that kind of notoriety who am I to say it was too over the top. He was very famous back then. Hosting the Tonight Show gave him the utmost visibility. But like Lincoln and John Kennedy both said, “If they want to get me, they will.” Just proved David’s argument…lol


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s