Jackie Mason

Jackie MasonJackie Mason, who was once one of the funniest comedians I have ever encountered, is now roughly my age (6 years older). We cross paths very occasionally, and I recently purchased what I believe was his last video. Watching it was a gas (very funny), growing funnier minute to minute! While others might think he has poor taste, the video certainly made me yearn for the good ‘ol days.

I looked him up on Wikipedia (which covers his life in great detail), and much of the information below is based upon it.

Naturally, Mason was funnier when we were much younger (compared with now, as we’ve both aged). I recall laughing non-stop in the old days when watching or attending his shows! Of course he made fun of both Jews, non-Jews, and whoever ( even of himself). Yes, he tended to be repetitive, almost always starting his show slowly, followed by acceleration until his audience ended up laughing in the aisles!

Born in Wisconsin, he grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan (New York City) and
graduated with a BA from City College of New York. Believe it or not, at 25 years of age he was ordained a rabbi (taking after the rest of his family)! Three years later he resigned the Rabbinate to become a comedian…good for him!

Mason’s first comedy act was at Swan Lake, NY, in 1955, but he was soon let go because he seemed too much ahead of the times. He seemed to be ridiculing the audience too much, which in fact he continued to do throughout his career (very successfully!)

During the 1960s, Mason played several one-man comedy stage shows on Broadway. First, The World According to Me, later, Politically Incorrect, and so forth. He also played the lead in a short-lived television sitcom called Chicken Soup alongside Lynn Redgrave! And soon after, he became both a standup comic, and a TV success.mason

On October 18, 1964 in an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Mason allegedly gave host Ed Sullivan the finger (his middle finger) on the air; he later claimed that was part of his comedy act! Footage of the incident shows Mason doing his stand-up comedy act and then looking toward Sullivan, commenting that Sullivan was signaling him. Sullivan had let Mason know (by pointing two fingers) that he had only a couple of minutes left, as President Lyndon B. Johnson was about to speak on the air! (Mason was of course working his own fingers to make fun of the situation, etc.)

In 1991, Mason was criticized by the NAACP by calling New York’s mayor David Dinkins “a fancy schwartza with a moustache.” He later apologized, and many years later even referred to Barack Obama as a schwartza during a performance.

In 1992, Mason won an Emmy Award for his voice-over of Rabbi Hyman Krustofski in The Simpsons episode “Like Father, Like Clown”, winning an Emmy for his role!

In January 2001, Mason co-founded the organization One Jerusalem with a goal of “Maintaining a united Jerusalem as the un-divided capital of Israel.” In court papers filed in New York, he wrote, “While I have the utmost respect for people who practice the Christian faith, the fact is, as everyone knows, I am as Jewish as a Matzah ball or kosher salami.”

In a 2005 poll, Mason was voted among the top 50 comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders (and soon ranked #63 in Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time)! He played in the full length motion picture One Angry Man (which was released in 2010 throughout North America), followed by Jackie Goldberg: Private Dick, a DVD release.

In my opinion, his pitches were not just funny but quite unique. And he’s on TV even today (The Jackie Mason Show airs Sunday nights at 9:30PM ET/PT)!

Here is a partial list (from Wikipedia) of his accomplishments…and note that between 2005 and 2011, his weekly show was on CN8: The Comcast Network. And repeats are currently airing on JLTV)!

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