David Brenner Dead: Comedian Bobby Slayton Remembers His Friend

David Brenner in 2005 with onetime fiancee Tai Babilonia.
David Brenner in 2005 with onetime fiancee Tai Babilonia.
 Associated Press

Comedian Bobby Slayton was among the many people in Hollywood paying tribute to David Brenner, who died Saturday at age 78.

Slayton -- aka the "Pitbull of Comedy" -- told The Hollywood Reporter via email that Brenner played a key role in the success of Slayton's own career.

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"David gave me a couple of my first national television shots on his syndicated show Nightlife back in the '80s," he recalled. "And when I became a resident headliner in Vegas 20 years later, David was living there and would always take me out to dinner and give me great advice and share some hysterical stories over a great meal and martinis. Those nights were always a highlight of my time in Vegas."

Slayton added: "I will miss him very much. I already do!"

Slayton also paid tribute to Brenner on Twitter.

Many others in Hollywood-- from Paul Reiser to Richard Lewis -- also hit Twitter on Saturday to pay their respects to Brenner.

Brenner was a favorite of Johnny Carson and appeared more times on The Tonight Show than any other guest.

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By one estimate, the perpetually grinning Brenner appeared on The Tonight Show 158 times and guest-hosted the NBC late-night show on a handful of other occasions when Carson took time off. One book says he made more talk-show appearances than any other guest in history.

Watch his Tonight Show debut on Jan. 8, 1971, below.

Michael Barnes and Erik Hayden contributed to this report.

 
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