Don Rickles's Rant

John Limon

in Death's Following

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242795
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242832 | DOI:
Don Rickles's Rant

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The essence of Don Rickles's stand-up comedy is that people can be identified by one unchanging predicate: Italian, Jew, farmer, etc. This amounts to destroying childhood potential and locking people into one adult life, which is preparation for the changelessness of death. This is the meaning of one of his most memorable insults, the punch line of which was “the zebras are dead”: at the end of the childish allusion to the ludicrousness of zebras is the arrival at the end of childhood in the awareness of death.

Keywords: Don RIckles; Johnny Carson; Jewishness; Zebra joke; identity

Chapter.  1972 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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