I never thought I’d find myself recommending a digital series produced by AARP Studios—a phrase which can’t help but feel like a contradiction in terms—and yet, this past Monday saw the release of “Dinner with Don,” a collection of YouTube vignettes featuring the late Don Rickles having dinner at nice restaurants in LA with famous comedians, actors and directors, among them Amy Poehler, Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Jimmy Kimmel, Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd, Snoop Dog and Vince Vaughn.
Rickles, widely considered the godfather of insult comedy, died this past April, at the age of 90. The shorts were filmed from last November to January, and, if anything, reveal how sharp (and acerbically funny) he was despite his old age. Similar to Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld, the series is occasionally a discussion of the craft. But the focus here is really on Rickles, not his dining companions, and the conversations often seem to follow the same beats as a conversation with your grandfather would, if your grandfather happened to be one of the greatest comedians of all-time. It’s clear, too, just how much love and respect these celebrities have for Rickles. In the Amy Poehler and Zach Galifianakis episodes, for example, you can almost sense that they’re trying to make him laugh, as if seeking his approval. It’s nice. And frequently entertaining.
You can check out the series now on the AARP’s YouTube channel, which, to reiterate, is an actual thing.