Did David Brenner Really Shave NINE Years Off His Age When He Started Doing Comedy?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: David Brenner shaved nine years off of his age when he began doing comedy in the late 1960s.

David Brenner made his debut on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1971, at the age of 26…

Brenner soon became a favorite of Carson’s, and Carson had him on 158 times, the most any other performer has ever appeared on the Tonight Show!

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Brenner also served as the guest host for Carson on his day off.

Here he is talking to Helen Gurley Brown from Cosmopolitan magazine…

But as Brenner got older, people began to be more and more suspicious about his age.

Finally, in early 2009, on the Howard Stern radio show, Brenner “came out” about his age.

When he got his start, he took NINE YEARS off of his given age!!!

You see, Brenner had worked in film (behind the scenes) before ever starting comedy, so he was experienced (in the bad way) when he began trying out his comic material at colleges in the late 1960s.

At the time, he figured it made more sense to knock his age down to the mid-20s, as that way he could be seen as “young” and “hip.”

He took his young and hip self (Carson even comments on his youth) to the Tonight Show, but instead of the 26 he was telling people he was, he was 35!!

Can you imagine how hard it is to keep that up for so long (even if a lot of people guessed as much due to his clear age difference with other actors “his” age)?

Brenner died in 2014 at the actual age of 78.

The legend is…


Thanks to the Howard Stern Show for the information!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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