David Brenner: Documentary director and comedian celebrated for his influential brand of observational stand-up
Friday 21 March 2014
David Brenner’s brand of observational comedy became a staple for a generation of stand-ups that most notably included Jerry Seinfeld. The gangly, toothy-grinned Brenner’s routines became a favourite of the Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, beginning in the 1970s. His 150-plus appearances turned the former documentary film-maker into a hightly sought-after entertainer.
The son of a vaudeville comedian, he was also a regular on other television talk shows and game shows and starred in four HBO comedy specials. He briefly hosted his own syndicated talk show in 1987. He moved with the times, trading routines about the humour of everyday life for jokes about social and political issues. He appeared on MSNBC and Fox News Channel cable programmes as well as talk shows with such luminary hosts as Ed Sullivan, David Frost and David Letterman.
Before turning to comedy, he wrote, directed or produced over 100 television documentaries, then in 1969 performed his first stand-up gig, at the original Improv club in New York. Two years later he was on the Tonight Show.
Despite being diagnosed with cancer, Brenner worked steadily last year; a four-day stint in December included a New Year’s Eve show in Pennsylvania in which he showcased young comedians. Fellow comedian Richard Lewis said: “David Brenner was a huge star when I met him and he took me under his wing. To me, historically, he was the godfather of hip, observational comedy. He mentored me from day one. His passing leaves a hole in my life that can never be replaced.”
David Norris Brenner, comedian, author, film-maker and actor: born Philadelphia 4 February 1936; twice married (three children); died New York 15 March 2014.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 2 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 3 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 5 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...
£25000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join...