Prior to the Don Rickles show, they had a special dedication of the Caesars Palace Laurel Award for the man. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because it’s brand new. They’re essentially creating a walk of fame in front of the casino and Don Rickles was the first honoree.
While waiting for the event to begin, I met John Landis, who is working on a documentary on Don Rickles. Landis has known Rickles since 1969 when he was a production assistant on Kelly’s Heroes. Landis passionately described that one of the reasons he’s doing the documentary is that most people don’t really know what Rickles does, that he’s not a stand-up. It’ll be a while before we see the doc, because he’s not going to finish the film until he captures Rickles beginning his run at the Golden Nugget, which starts in February. He also wants to capture the destruction of the Stardust hotel for the film. Can you guess the metaphor?
We also talked about the sketch group Elephant Larry and the Great Sketch Experiment now nearing it’s end on JibJab. He was very complimentary to the guys, but declined to pick his favorite no matter how much I conjoled him. So you’ll just have go to JibJab and think for yourselves. Also, Landis is among the most jovial, gregarious guy I’ve ever mets. One man was compelled to take a picture of him, even though, as Landis said, “You don’t even known who I am!”
Then, in love-it-or-hate-it Caesars fashion, Rickles was brought out in a procession of centurions, flanked by women more in belly-dancing attire than togas. And yes, trumpets. After some perfunctory remarks from Caesars and the TCF themselves, Whoopi Goldberg introduced Don stating, “No one else could get away with what Don did, because he had no malice.”
Then Don takes the stage and states at his age, “that these kinds of awards mean nothing.” After making fun of Robin William’s hyperactivity, he encouraged all to check out the Comic Relief show, which benefits Katrina victims, but “I won’t be there, I don’t believe in it. My house is OK.” Nope - no malice at all. Just funny.