The 86-year-old comic brought his shtick to the AFI’s Shirley MacLaine tribute; likened the president to a janitor.
Don Rickles nearly hijacked the American Film Institute’s tribute to Shirley MacLaine on Thursday night at Sony Pictures Studios, unleashing a trademark barrage of insults that took aim at President Obama, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and the honoree herself.
“I shouldn’t make fun of the blacks,” Rickles said, and then proceeded to do just that: “President Obama is a personal friend of mine. He was over to the house yesterday, but the mop broke.”
The black-tie crowd, gathered to celebrate MacLaine, the 40th recipient of the AFI’s Life Achievement Award, alternately gasped at the 86-year-old comic’s put-downs and then found themselves laughing and applauding.
“Shirley,” Rickles, living up to his moniker as Mr. Warmth, began as he rose to his feet from a table near the center of the room. “I never read your books, and I don’t plan to.”
Turning to MacLaine’s brother Beatty, he continued, “I know your brother very well, and I never liked him.”
Shifting his focus to Nicholson, who also was present, Rickles cracked, “He’s not here tonight – he’s with the Lakers, oiling their jocks.”
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