How did Don Rickles get away with insulting people often in a brutal way and yet his targets and audiences loved him?
Between politics and the false empowerment from social media the world is full of vicious insults but these insults are despised by everyone.
Maybe it’s because Rickles also made fun of himself (“Fat Jew”) and his wife (“Likes to lie in bed, signaling ships with her jewelry”). Even his own mother didn’t avoid Rickles’ vitriol (he called her “the Jewish Patton”).
Rickles also made fun of himself and his own family. Off the stage he was known by actors and entertainers as a nice guy.
Politics was also a contact sport, but during the last election cycle on both sides of the spectrum insults cut deep, honesty was at a premium and according to polls, both candidates running for president had the lowest favorability ratings of any two candidates ever.
Insults characterize the way we live now.
But malice toward others is not funny unless it is used in jest and with a heavy dose of self-deprecation.
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