When Don Rickles gets to heaven

Print More

Comedian Don Rickles speaks after receiving the Johnny Carson Award during the second annual 2012 Comedy Awards in New York City, on April 28, 2012. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Stephen Chernin

Don Rickles, the iconic insult comedian, has died at the age of ninety.

I cannot begin to count the hours of side-splitting laughter that he brought to me, my family, and countless other people.

Which got me thinking: what will it be like when Don Rickles enters the World to Come, a.k.a. heaven?


Upon meeting Abraham: Yo, Abe! Mind if I call you that? Have I been waiting to meet you! Let’s talk for a moment; you got a minute for me? Yeah, I’ll get to the wife in a second.

Listen to me: I’ve been dying – OK, wrong word, sorry – I’ve been eager to tell you this.

The story about you and your son, whatshisname, Ike, going up the mountain and you almost sacrificing him?

The one that they read every year in shul on Rosh ha Shanah?

OK, so here I am: sitting in my pew at Temple B’nai Whatever It Is in Beverly Hills, and there’s a woman sitting behind me. I have known this woman for decades. For decades, she has been sitting behind me in shul. Every year.

And every year, the rabbi reads from the Torah about you and the kid, and how you almost sacrificed the kid – and every year, she sits on the edge of her chair, and she screams in my friggin’ ear: “Oh, my God, he’s gonna kill the kid!”

And every year, you don’t kill the kid. You’d think that she’d know by now?

Upon meeting Sarah: Soreleh, come here. Nice to meet you. I like you: after all, without you, I would have had nothing to do with my life. You invented laughter! Yes, you!

The legendary Don Rickles performs at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Jan. 12, 2008. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Gary Dunaier

The Guy Upstairs tells you that you are going to have a kid, and you’re what, ninety years old?

The story should have been on the front page of those newspapers that you read on the checkout line at CVS: “Jewish lady, age ninety, gives birth to child.”

You laughed, and ever since then, the world has been filled with laughter.

Good going, lady.

Except one thing: that deal where you threw the help, whatshername, Hagar, and her little ragamuffin into the wilderness – Ishmael.

So the kid grows up, becomes the ancestor of the Arabs, and ever since then, they’ve been mad at us.

Nice move, Hannah Arendt.

Upon meeting Moses: I have to tell you something. You’re a total meshuggeneh.

There. I said it.

I just saw Robin Williams up here, and he told me not to say anything, but what does that shaygets know?

Yeah, yeah: this is you. Kill the Egyptian and hide his body in the sand.

Good move, Einstein. If this were Law and Order, they would have found you out before the first commercial.

So, OK, you lead the Jews out of Egypt; you hit the Red Sea with your staff; you hit the rock; get the commandments at Cedars Sinai (no? It wasn’t Cedars Sinai?); you go totally ballistic over the Golden Calf and kill a bunch of Israelites; you hit the rock again.

Two words for you, Maysh.

Anger management.

And you wonder why they didn’t put your sorry punim into the Haggadah?

Upon meeting Elijah: Listen, I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but I gotta tell you: every year, I’m sitting at seder, waiting for you to come while the kinder are busy looking for the afikomen and then holding it hostage as if the piece of matzah is Patty Hearst, and all I can do is worry.

Yes, worry!

About what?

About you!

Because I do not, I repeat, I do not want to see in the newspaper in the morning that some drunken Judean prophet was picked up by the Great Neck police.

File that one under “not good for the Jews.”

Upon meeting God: OK, You Who Has More Names Than Frank’s Ex-Wives, I got one thing to say to you, and one thing only.

Yes, You have done all sorts of great stuff. I will give you that.

But, let me ask you this.

If You are so great and so hoity all-powerful….no, I am not going to ask you about the Shoah, that’s Elie’s thing, leave me out of it, he has that covered, thank you very much.

And I could ask you about the Syrian children. Excuse me, Mr. Ein Keiloheinu: you rescued the Jews, you can’t rescue the Syrian kids?

What – You’re on sabbatical?

You don’t do Syrians?

No, as bad as that might be, I got another one for you.

All-powerful, huh? Then how come you didn’t let me go to, oh, a hundred?

And another thing.


And another thing: mold.

Why? Were they so necessary that You couldn’t do without them? When you were drawing up the plans for creation, did You ever stop for one bleeding minute and say to yourself or to your mafia of angels up there: do we really need acne? Do we really need mold?

But, seriously, God: You’re great. Seriously. Great to meet you.

Right about now, God is laughing the Divine Tuchis off.

Go in peace, Mr. Warmth.