Published June 25, 2013
NEW YORK – Don Rickles is the king of insult comedy, so it’s only fitting that his famous friends celebrated his pioneering put-downs with a roast of the funnyman at the Friars Club in New York on Monday night.
But the daring genre of comedy that Rickles is known for is tricky in today’s politically correct world, said controversial comedy man Gilbert Gottfried.
“It’s a very strange time period now with insult comedy,” Gottfried told FOX411. “Even Rickles has gotten in trouble and gotten on the internet because now it’s ‘no he shouldn’t [say] that...’ Now everyone’s on the internet. I feel like the internet is the new lynch mob.”
Gottfried experienced that backlash firsthand when he sent out a series of tweets following the 2011 tsunami in Japan and was swiftly ousted from his role as the voice behind the Aflac duck in TV ads.
But “Full House” star turned raunchy comedian Bob Sagget said Rickles’ signature style can still be seen as funny today, if it’s coming from the right place-- and especially if it's coming from Rickles.
“I think that the key to insult comedy or shock comedy is that it truly is not coming from a hurtful place and when it’s coming from anger or actual hatred then I have no time for it myself as a human being and I think that’s what offends most people, but Don is just a man from a different generation and he’s a star… He’s just calling it as it is to kind of diffuse the wall of bigotry as crazy as that sounds.”
Tony Danza explained that society has become more sensitive over the years, but Rickles seems to be mostly exempt from the controversy.
“Well I think people are a lot more sensitive. Nobody can get away with what Don gets away with, but he sort of set that in stone a long time ago, but I think that it’s a very different world, and I think we’re all a little bit sensitive.”
Joan Rivers said the epitome of insult comedy is leaving manners at the table.
“It’s all about not being politically correct. The country needs a lot more of that,” Rivers said. “Don started that and Don is amazing.”
Although Don Rickles may ruffle feathers, his celebrity friends say he has taught them a great deal not only about comedy but life.
“He’s taught me to have a great sense of humor about myself and all of us. There is nobody better or worse. He’ll do a joke about the President and he’ll do the same joke about a truck driver. We can’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re all humans. We’re all under the same God,” said John Stamos.