He was known as a comedian's comedian with a staggering 158 Tonight Show appearances.
David Brenner made people laugh with stories about his life, like the time he was nabbed for jaywalking in Los Angeles when he joked, "All right, jaywalker! We know you're in there! Throw out your shoes and come out with your feet up!"
Larry King knew him well and said, "He influenced, certainly the Jay Lenos, the David Lettermans, the people who get up a tell stories. I would say the person he influenced most would be Seinfeld."
Brenner had a late start as a comedian. He was 35 when he made his Tonight Show debut in 1971.
On The Mike Douglas Show in 1977, he introduced another comedian bound for superstardom, Steve Martin.
Upon Brenner's death at age 78, Martin tweeted: "Loved David Brenner. He gave me good advice early in my career...a gentleman, and really, really funny."
David Brenner died in New York City surrounded by loved ones. A comedian to the very end, his final request was truly in character. He asked to have $100 in small bills tucked innto his socks, "Just in case tipping is recommended where I'm going."
He also wanted his epitaph to read: "If this is supposed to be a joke--then I don't get it!"
And that's what you call funny to the finish.