Brenner was from a working-class neighborhood in South Philadelphia and he was funny. Remembering his upbringing, he saw every gig as a "plus." Most of his stuff was observational comedy. He influenced the comic styles of Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Jimmie Walker, Freddie Prinze and many others. His career blasted off when he appeared on the NBC Tonight Show in January of 1971. He appeared on that show over 150 times as guest or guest host. He was always very well dressed. Brenner was funny but he was no dummy. He graduated with honors from Temple and has written five books.
Brenner kept his humor, right up to the end. One of his final requests was that $100 in small bills be placed in his left sock "just in case tipping is recommended where I'm going."