Jackie Mason, feisty comedian who rose from Catskills to TV and Broadway fame, dies at 93

NEW YORK – Jackie Mason, a rabbi-turned comedian whose unique brand of comedy brought him to Catskills nightclubs, West Coast talk shows and Broadway, has passed away. He is 93 years old.

Mason died at 6 p.m. ET Saturday at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan after being hospitalized for more than two weeks, prominent attorney Raoul Felder told The Associated Press.

The sly Mason is known for his sharp wit and through-and-through social commentary, often talking about being Jewish, man and woman, and his own inadequacies. His typical style is amused outrage.

“80% of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe,” he once joked. Another Mason quote is: “Politics doesn’t make bedmates weird, marriage does.” About himself, he once said: “I am very self-conscious, every time the football players gather, I think they are talking about me”.

His death is very regrettable, from comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who called him “one of the best”, to Fox News Channel character Sean Hannity, who praised Mason as “irrespectful, iconic, funny, intelligent, and a great American patriot.”

Mason was born Jacob Maza, the son of a rabbi. His three brothers became rabbis. So did Mason, who had churches in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Comedy ultimately proved to be a more enduring calling than God.

“One has to feel empty or empty or frustrated to be a comedian,” he told The Associated Press in 1987. “I don’t think people who feel comfortable or happy are motivated to be. You’re a comedian. You’re looking for something and you’re willing to pay a high price for that attention.”

Mason started the show business as a social director at a resort in the Catskills. He’s the guy who gets everyone up to play Simon Says, the quiz game or the shuffleboard game. He also tells jokes. After one season, he played clubs across the Catskills for better money.

“No one else knew me, but in the mountains, I was hit,” Mason recalled.

In 1961, the pint-sized comic made a big splash, when it appeared on Steve Allen’s weekly TV variety show. His success led him to “The Ed Sullivan Show” and other shows.

He was banned from the show “Sullivan” for two years when he allegedly gave the presenter a finger when Sullivan signaled him to end his act during an appearance on… October 18, 1964.

Mason’s actions even landed him on Broadway, where he starred in a number of one-man shows, including 2005’s “Freshly Squeezed” and 1996’s “Love Thy Neighbor” and 1988’s “World Follows Me,” he received a special Tony Award.

“I feel like Ronald Reagan tonight,” Mason joked on Tony’s night. “He’s been an actor all his life, knows nothing about politics, and became the president of the United States. I’m a former cleric who knows nothing about acting and I’m getting a Tony award.”

Mason calls himself an observer, watching people and learning. From those observations, he says he takes his jokes and then tries them out with friends. “I’d rather make a fool of myself in front of two people just because a thousand people paid for the ticket,” he told the AP.

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His humor can leap from computer and designer coffee to his time-Sen. John Kerry, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Donald Trump. He can articulate Joe’s average anger, making life’s outrages seem funny and maybe a little more bearable.

“I very rarely write down anything. I just think about life a lot and try to put it into phrases to get a joke,” he said. “I never make a joke whose points I don’t believe in. To me, the message and the joke are the same.”

On TV, Mason is a trusted presence, often as a guest on shows like “30 Rock” or “The Simpsons” or as a trusted guest on late-night talk shows. He performed in front of Queen Elizabeth II of England and his show “Fearless” played in London’s West End in 2012.

He played an ex-Jewish pajama salesman who falls in love with a Catholic Irish widow portrayed by Lynn Redgrave in a series called “Chicken Soup” in 1989 but it didn’t last. During the OJ Simpson murder trial, British Broadcasting Corp’s Scottish service. hired Mason as a weekly commentator.

Mason’s humor sometimes goes too far, like when he addressed a controversy in New York while campaigning for GOP mayoral candidate Rudolph Giuliani against Democrat David Dinkins, who is black. . Mason had to apologize after saying, among other things, that Jews would vote Dinkins out of sin.

Felder, his longtime friend, told the AP that Mason has a view on life in the Talmudic: “Whatever you want to say to him, he’ll start arguing with you.”

He is survived by his wife, producer Jyll Rosenfeld, and a daughter, Sheba.

Copyright © 2021 by Associated Press. Copyright Registered. | Jackie Mason, feisty comedian who rose from Catskills to TV and Broadway fame, dies at 93


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