What’s in a name?
Plenty, if you ask David Brenner.
Longboat Key Vice Mayor David Brenner shares more than a name with famed comedian David Brenner.
They were born just 46 days apart in Philadelphia.
One Brenner became a well-known comedian who has more “Tonight Show” appearances to his name than any other guest in the show’s history; the other Brenner became a CPA, served as the Philadelphia director of finance and has been credited with saving the city from economic collapse.
The Brenners’ paths crossed again Thursday, Feb. 7, at McCurdy’s Comedy Club, in Sarasota.
The vice mayor makes a point of attending whenever the comedian performs in Sarasota. The comedian began making stops at McCurdy’s in 2002, as part of a post-9/11 comedy tour and has returned every two or three years since.
He announced the latest performances Monday, Feb. 4, during the closest thing commissioners have to open-mic night: the commissioner comments section at the end of monthly meetings.
“If you want to see the other (emphasis added) comedian named David Brenner, he’s going to be at McCurdy’s Comedy Club Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 6 and Feb. 7.”
The future vice mayor graduated from Overbrook High School the same year that the would-be comedian completed his schooling at rival West Philadelphia High School.
But Longboat Key’s Brenner had no idea about the other Brenner until he began attending the University of Pennsylvania, where West Philly grads told him that they knew another guy by the same name.
Their mutual monikers brought them together at the podium of various Philadelphia fundraisers in the 1980s and 1990s.
When the Brenners met up last week, the comedian recalled the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day parade of 1986.
It was cold and rainy, and he was grand marshal.
He turned to the mayor and asked him:
“Why isn’t your David Brenner doing this?”
The vice mayor’s wife, who snapped a photo of the two David Brenners both in 2007 and last Thursday, doesn’t see many similarities beyond the names.
“They’re both tall and thin,” she said. “That’s about it.”
But the vice mayor thinks they share a sense of humor.
He likes the way the comedian mocks the political scene and pokes fun at peoples’ senses of importance.
He believes the comedian would have fun with the island’s politics.
“I think he would have a field day,” he said.
Brenner versus Brenner
Name: David Brenner
Birth date: Feb. 4, 1936
Current occupation: Comedian
Education: Graduated from West Philadelphia High School and Temple University with mass communications degree
Resume: Writer/producer/director of 115 TV documentaries; 158 “Tonight Show” appearances; four HBO specials; five books
Name: David Brenner
Birth date: March 21, 1936
Current occupation: Town commissioner
Education: Graduated from Overbrook High School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School with an economics degree; CPA license from the state of Pennsylvania
Resume: Retired CPA and former partner of Arthur Young; former commerce-and-finance director for the city of Philadelphia; one Longboat Key Planning & Zoning Board term; currently on his second Longboat Key town commissioner term and his second year as vice mayor