Comedian Jackie Mason has died; he was 93.
Mason died on Saturday (July 24), at Mt Sinai Hospital in Manhattan after being hospitalised for over two weeks, the celebrity lawyer Raul Felder told Associated Press.
A former rabbi, Mason became a world-renowned stand-up comedian who perfected the art of amused outrage. He was known for his social commentary and sharp wit.
Mason had many television cameos on shows like 30 Rock and The Simpsons and he regularly appeared on many of America’s late night chat shows.
“Eighty per cent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe,” he once joked. Another famous Mason line was: “Politics doesn’t make strange bedfellows, marriage does.” About himself, he once said: “I was so self-conscious, every time football players went into a huddle, I thought they were talking about me.”
Mason was born Jacob Maza, the son of a rabbi. All of his brothers became rabbis as did Mason initially. However, he later turned his talents to comedy.
“A person has to feel emotionally barren or empty or frustrated in order to become a comedian,” Mason said in 1987. “I don’t think people who feel comfortable or happy are motivated to become comedians. You’re searching for something and you’re willing to pay a high price to get that attention.”
His big break came in 1961 when he appeared on Steve Allen’s weekly television variety show. The success of that led to his appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and more.
His death was mourned throughout the entertainment world. Fellow comedian Gilbert Gottfried called him “one of the best”, while Fox News personality Sean Hannity described Mason as “irreverent, iconoclastic, funny, smart and a great American patriot”.
The Simpson’s Al Jean paid tribute sharing one of his cameos from the show. “I feel like Krusty. We will very much miss Jackie Mason,” he tweeted.
— Al Jean (@AlJean) July 25, 2021
Comedian Omid Djalili also paid tribute. “Currently imagining a long queue at the Pearly Gates as St. Peter makes Jackie Mason do his whole act for him. RIP Jackie”, he wrote.
Currently imagining a long queue at the Pearly Gates as St. Peter makes Jackie Mason do his whole act for him.
RIP Jackie https://t.co/FxPi26eeuX
— Omid Djalili (@omid9) July 25, 2021
Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander said: “I took my folks to see Jackie Mason on Broadway twice. I have never seen them laugh harder. A comic from a different time but one of the best.”
I took my folks to see Jackie Mason on Broadway twice. I have never seen them laugh harder. A comic from a different time but one of the best. Mister. I’m takin’ to you. #RIPJackieMason
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) July 25, 2021
Henry Winkler added: “Truly one of the funniest shows I have ever seen .. ever .. thank you Jackie and now you get to make heaven laugh.”
Truly one of the funniest shows I have ever seen .. ever .. thank you Jackie and now you get to make heaven laugh https://t.co/LV8bSZyFjG
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) July 25, 2021
You can see some more tributes to Mason here:
“We’ve been offered a guy called Jackie Mason?” my producer said years ago.
“Book him!” I said.
Producer was very confused to walk to reception and pick up a man quite clearly in his 80s.
Was probably the funniest guest we ever had.#JackieMason
— Danny Wallace (@dannywallace) July 25, 2021
Jackie Mason was an original whose contribution to comedy was huge.
— comedycentral (@ComedyCentral) July 25, 2021
Prayers and forever love for my dear friend #JackieMason. When we were together just a few weeks ago, he was as hilarious, irreverent and brilliant as ever! Truly one of a kind… who will be deeply missed. Love You So Jackie. #RIPJackieMason pic.twitter.com/P3UAe3T4kb
— Rita Cosby (@RitaCosby) July 25, 2021
— MODI (@MODI_COMEDIAN) July 25, 2021
He is survived by his wife, the producer Jyll Rosenfeld, and a daughter, Sheba.