Amy Poehler and Tina Fey deliver their own saucy slam at Rickles' advanced age.
Fey: "It's almost like he's here with us. You can feel his spirit in this room tonight."
Poehler: "Tina! He IS here."
Fey (casting a startled look in Rickles' direction): "I thought that was somebody's purse."
Other stars on hand include Jerry Seinfeld, Robert De Niro, Regis Philbin, Tracy Morgan, Brian Williams and Jon Stewart.
David Letterman fondly remembers first meeting Rickles "at a Scientology mixer."
A worshipful Johnny Depp claims Rickles drove him into therapy. He explains that, on their first encounter, he was unprepared for what a nice man Rickles really is. The insults Depp kept expecting never came, "which meant to me at the time that he clearly hated me."
To his fans, insult-craving is a big part of Rickles' charm. He inspires you to imagine what he'd say about YOU if you were lucky enough to land in his comic cross hairs. You identify with Rickles' "victims," laugh at them — and want to be one, too.
For those a little fuzzy on Rickles' tongue-lashing past, the program includes clips of him filleting such luminaries as Johnny Carson, Clint Eastwood, Frank Sinatra, the Rev. Billy Graham and President Ronald Reagan.
There are also filmed tributes from Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Jimmy Kimmel and, hilariously, Rickles' longtime pal Bob Newhart.
Then, when the time comes for Rickles to speak, he doesn't hold back.
"I'm so thrilled as I look around the room that I'm the biggest name here," he begins. But before he's done, he's gotten downright sentimental.
"It was a kind, beautiful tribute, a great night," Rickles said by phone a few days later, then went on to account for his trademark insult style: "It was in my personality, my attitude, ever since I was a kid."
But if he was a natural-born weisenheimer, he always took care to "never be hurtful, never below-the-belt."