Comedian David Brenner Dies at 78

By Hannah Aven Guarin | 3 years ago
Comedian David Brenner Dies at 78


Comedian David Brenner died at 78 years old as he succumbed to cancer on Saturday, March 15, 2014 in his New York City home. In a statement sent to Us Weekly, Brenner’s publicist, Jeff Abraham, confirmed the sad news. Brenner was a legendary stand-up comedian and a longtime “Tonight Show” favourite.

Abraham added that Brenner died peacefully with his family by his side including his wife Ruth, their three sons Cole, Wyatt, and Slade as well as his grandson Wesley.


Brenner appeared in almost 150 episodes of “The Tonight Show.” He was also a regular at talk shows and game shows and starred in HBO’s four comedic programs. According to USA Today, his last gig was in December 2013, during a New Year’s Eve show at a casino-resort in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

In Brenner’s official Web page, a reporter once asked him what he wanted to do with his career.

“I want to make as many people laugh, as heartily as they can, for as long as I can,” replied Brenner on the

Brenner was born on Feb. 4, 1936. He grew up in South and West Philadelphia. After graduating in high school, he entered the army for two years then transferred to Temple University, where he earned his degree in mass communication. He has produced 115 TV documentaries about poverty. However, the comedian was discouraged from doing so. He was told that his work did not cause or affect change.

In an interview with Philadelphia Jewish Voice in 2008, Brenner shared his realizations.

“I eventually realized my naivete. It isn’t that we’re seeking the answers; we just don’t want to implement them. So I decided rather than try to solve problems, I would help people forget ’em,” said Brenner on

Meanwhile, his close friends including Richard Lewis, mourn for the loss of a great stand-up comedian.

“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. He was family to me in the deepest, most supportive sense. His passing leaves a hole in my life that can never be replaced,” said Lewis in the USA Today article.

According to Fox 5 San Diego, Jeff Abraham also said that Brenner reportedly requested for $100 bills to be placed in his left sock.


“Just in case tipping is recommended where I’m going,” joked Brenner in the Fox 5 San Diego report.

Being the funny man he once was, he also asked that his final resting place will read, “If this is supposed to be a joke—then I don’t get it!”

It’s sad that comedian David Brenner died at 78 years old, but it’s nice to know that he left a lasting legacy and that even in death, he hasn’t lost his sense of humour.