NEW YORK — Jackie Mason, a rabbi-turned-comedian whose feisty marque of standup drama led him to Catskills nightclubs, West Coast speech shows and Broadway stages, has died. He was 93.
Mason died Saturday astatine 3 p.m. PT astatine Mt. Sinai Hospital successful Manhattan aft being hospitalized for implicit 2 weeks, the personage lawyer Raoul Felder told The Associated Press.
The irascible Mason was known for his crisp wit and piercing societal commentary, often astir being Jewish, men and women and his ain inadequacies. His emblematic benignant was amused outrage.
“Eighty percent of joined men cheat successful America. The remainder cheat successful Europe,” helium erstwhile joked. Another Mason enactment was: “Politics doesn’t marque unusual bedfellows, matrimony does.” About himself, helium erstwhile said: “I was truthful self-conscious, each clip shot players went into a huddle; I thought they were talking astir me.”
His decease was mourned acold and wide, from chap comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who called him “one of the best,” to Fox News Channel property Sean Hannity, who hailed Mason arsenic “irreverent, iconoclastic, funny, astute and a large American patriot.”
Mason was calved Jacob Maza, the lad of a rabbi. His 3 brothers became rabbis. So did Mason, who astatine 1 clip had congregations successful Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Comedy yet proved to beryllium a much persistent calling than God.
“A idiosyncratic has to consciousness emotionally barren oregon bare oregon frustrated successful bid to go a comedian,” helium told The Associated Press successful 1987. “I don’t deliberation radical who consciousness comfy oregon blessed are motivated to go comedians. You’re searching for thing and you’re consenting to wage a precocious terms to get that attention.”
Mason started successful amusement concern arsenic a societal manager astatine a edifice successful the Catskills. He was the feline who got everybody up to play Simon Says, quiz games oregon shuffleboard. He told jokes, too. After 1 season, helium was playing clubs passim the Catskills for amended money.
“Nobody other knew me, but successful the mountains, I was a hit,” Mason recalled.
In 1961, the pint-sized comic got a large break, an quality connected Steve Allen’s play tv assortment show. His occurrence brought him to “The Ed Sullivan Show” and different programs.
He was banned for 2 years from the “Sullivan” amusement erstwhile helium allegedly gave the big the digit erstwhile Sullivan signaled to him to wrapper up his enactment during an quality connected Oct. 18, 1964.
Mason’s enactment adjacent carried him to Broadway, wherever helium enactment connected respective one-man shows, including “Freshly Squeezed” successful 2005, “Love Thy Neighbor” successful 1996 and “The World According to Me” successful 1988, for which helium received a peculiar Tony Award.
“I consciousness similar Ronald Reagan tonight,” Mason joked connected Tony night. “He was an histrion each his life, knew thing astir authorities and became president of the United States. I’m an ex-rabbi who knew thing astir acting and I’m getting a Tony Award.”
Mason called himself an perceiver who watched radical and learned. From those observations helium said helium got his jokes and past tried them retired connected friends. “I’d alternatively marque a fool of myself successful beforehand of 2 radical for thing than a 1000 radical who paid for a ticket,” helium told the AP.
His wit could leap from computers and decorator java to then-Sen. John Kerry, erstwhile Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Donald Trump. He was capable to articulate the mean Joe’s anger, making the indignities of beingness look comic and possibly conscionable a small spot much bearable.
“I precise seldom constitute thing down. I conscionable deliberation astir beingness a batch and effort to enactment it into phrases that volition get a joke,” helium said. “I ne'er bash a gag that has a constituent that I don’t judge in. To me, the connection and the gag is the same.”
On TV, Mason was a reliable presence, usually with a cameo connected specified shows arsenic “30 Rock” oregon “The Simpsons” oregon arsenic a reliable impermanent connected precocious nighttime chat shows. He performed successful beforehand of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and his amusement “Fearless” played London’s West End successful 2012.
He portrayed a Jewish ex-pajama salesman successful emotion with an Irish-Catholic widow portrayed by Lynn Redgrave successful a bid called “Chicken Soup” successful 1989 but it didn’t last. During the O.J. Simpson execution trial, the British Broadcasting Corp.’s Scottish work hired Mason arsenic a play commentator.
Mason’s wit sometimes went excessively far, arsenic erstwhile helium touched disconnected a contention successful New York portion campaigning for GOP mayoral campaigner Rudolph Giuliani against Democrat David Dinkins, who was Black. Mason had to apologize aft saying, among different things, that Jews would ballot for Dinkins retired of guilt.
Felder, his longtime friend, told the AP that Mason had a Talmudic outlook connected life: “That immoderate you would accidental to him, helium would commencement an statement with you.”
He is survived by his wife, shaper Jyll Rosenfeld, and a daughter, Sheba.