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Published: Wednesday, 5/28/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago

Don Rickles takes own medicine in Spike special

Don Rickles accepts the Johnny Carson Award at The 2012 Comedy Awards in New York. Don Rickles accepts the Johnny Carson Award at The 2012 Comedy Awards in New York.

Don Rickles engages in what might be called Comedy S and M. He insults audience members (whether famous or unknown, each a hockey puck in his eyes) and they laugh and beg for more.

It’s a manic, lacerating style Rickles has commanded for a half-century-plus.

Now he’s being feted by Spike TV with a 90-minute special, One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute. A black-tie affair taped earlier this month at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, it airs today at 9 p.m., packed with love and a healthy dose of bile.

“We wanted to honor your memory, Don, so here we are,” says Martin Scorsese, firing a zinger at the spirited but frail-looking Rickles — “though if I’d been directing this, I don’t think I would have gone for the open casket.”

Other stars on hand include Tina Fey, Jerry Seinfeld, Robert De Niro, Regis Philbin, Tracy Morgan, Brian Williams, and Jon Stewart.

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