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In rambling remarks that alternate between tender recollections of performers he reveres (notably Johnny Carson) intercut with his trademark insults, Rickles, who turns 86 on Tuesday, clinches his title as (in the words of Stewart) “the patron saint of comedy.”

“I see many in the audience,” he says tenderly, then hurls a zinger: “I realize tonight, I’m the biggest name here.”

He’s kidding, but he needn’t be.

“The Comedy Awards” is a zesty who’s who of jesters, supplemented by Andy Richter in the announcer’s booth and The Roots as the robust house band.

And though Chris Rock marvels at the top of the evening, “They televise THIS _ and they DON‘T do the Nobel Peace Prize,” it’s no wonder. This is much funnier. Anything for a laugh!

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Online:

http://www.thecomedyawards.com

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Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier