I WANT TO LEAVE YOU WITH THE DEATH OF A GREAT COMEDIAN
Influential American comic Jackie Mason has died aged 93, three years older than he’d claimed (and eight more than a typo on the DDP website) and so given his last middle finger. He gave the signal to Ed Sullivan on live TV in 1964 (later claiming somewhat unconvincingly that he didn’t even know it was an offensive move) and while Sullivan later reversed a ban on Mason appearing on his show two years later, the reputation as an unreliable wildman plagued Mason for several decades.
His humour played on stereotypes and flipping conventions of the time. For example: “Money is not as important as love. Fortunately, I love money!” He also used to mock Frank Sinatra repeatedly, which led to an incident involving Mason’s room, a mob gun shot, and a completely innocent look from Ol Blue Eyes. He also appeared in The Jerk, and won an Emmy and a Tony for The World According to Me.
Simpsons character Krusty the Clown was loosely based on Mason (who had split from a long line of Rabbis in his family to become a funny man, a real life) so naturally the show had Jackie Mason play Krusty’s father, Rabbi Herschel Krustofsky, in an original story which mimicked both Mason’s own life and The Jazz Singer. Jackie Mason continued to play the semi-regular role until 2014 when his health was no longer up to it.
He was picked by four teams, including Noah Reason, Die Laughing and Ninety. But of course the good Rabbi couldn’t escape a Simpsons theme team, so chalk him up for the ever brilliantly named Can’t Sleep Clown Will Eat Them!
9 June 1928 – 24 July 2021