Jackie Mason, the great Jewish comedian, died this weekend. He was 93.
Tevi Troy has written an excellent appreciation of Mason for The City Journal. He includes some of Mason’s political lines, most of which were directed at Democrats. Mason was a Republican, a conservative, and a Trump supporter.
Tevi omitted one of my favorite Mason lines:
Bill Clinton is a pathological liar. Nixon lied too, but at least he had the decency to sweat when he did it.
Tevi recounts Mason’s career trajectory from rabbi, to star comedian who appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, to has-been comedian after Sullivan thought Mason had given him the finger on national television, to comeback star when he brought his comedy to Broadway in the one-man show “The World According to Me.”
This was Mason’s take on his Broadway success:
When people saw me in a nightclub, they would laugh their heads off. But they would write me off as just another nightclub comedian, which is not of any great artistic significance to them.
But when that same person sees you in a legitimate theater, where yesterday he saw Shakespeare and the next day something in French and the day after that Peter O’Toole, he places Jackie Mason in that category and thinks: ‘I must be seeing the same thing; I must be seeing an art form.’
Mason may not have been an artist, but neither was he just another nightclub comedian. He was a one-of-a-kind comedian, and as funny as they come.