By Dianne R. Davis
Photo credit: Dianne or Burt Davis
“Observational Comic” Talks About His Life, His Career, and Parenthood
David Brenner is funny and original, and every show is different from the last. This award winning comedian -- who reached eligibility for social security a few years back-- currently makes his home in Las Vegas with his fiancé Tai Babilonia.
Brenner has had a distinguished career doing what comes naturally to him. He believes comedic ability is genetic and runs in his family. His dad spent some time as a vaudeville performer and had a contract to do movies with the Three Stooges.
Brenner is a man who tries to live his personal philosophy. His mother called him, “a citizen of the universe.” Early on, Brenner embraced his mother’s philosophy that anything that separates human beings isn’t good, including state lines and country borders, and it has permeated his attitude toward life.
Class Clown/ Class President
Brenner’s ability to make others laugh helped him avoid fights in the schools and the tough streets of South and West Philadelphia where he grew up as a late-in-life child. But the award-winning comedian didn’t set out to enter the profession. His ambition was simply to earn enough to get his family out of his rough environment. He can boast the distinction of being both class clown and class president through the majority of his school years.
A distinguished record as a Mass Communications major at Temple University led to positions as writer/producer/director of 115 documentary films for both Westinghouse Broadcasting and Metromedia Broadcasting. His work earned him many industry awards and citations including the coveted Emmy.
Disenchantment with his impact on those around him led him to try stand-up comedy. An appearance on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson launched his career into the big time and was the first of a record 158 appearances on that show. Here are Brenner’s thoughts on a variety of subjects as well as his surprising answers to some questions.
Dianne Davis: How has comedy changed and is it for the better or worse?
Profanity is a crutch that some use if they have nothing funny to say. Young people want the truth. They don’t expect when you get shot there is no blood. Worse than that is how politically correct and censored we are. Everyone is so uptight.
Dianne: Are any subjects off limits to you?
Dianne: Who are the most important people in your life?
David: My parents
Dianne: Who do you admire most?
Dianne: Have you found balance in your life?
David: I think I have always tiptoed on the edge of the leaf. I like the risks and the adventure. I have never been the kind who wants the security. It’s inside of you.
Dianne: What is the most important thing you’ve taught or will teach your sons?
Dianne: How would you like to be remembered?
Dianne: Is there one thing about yourself would you like to change?
Dianne: Who are your heros?
Dianne: Would you get married again?
Dianne: What do you consider your greatest achievements?
Beef, chicken, or fish? Fish
Foods: Philly cream cheese, Vanilla and Chocolate ice cream.
Movies: Raging Bull and Good Fellas.
Place: New York City
Expression: Why not.
Dianne: What is your definition of success?