Jackie Mason

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Jackie Mason
JackieMasonOct06.jpg
Jackie in 2006
Birth nameYacov Moshe Maza
Born(1931-06-09) June 9, 1931 (age 83)[1]
Sheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S.
MediumStand-up
Television
Film
Radio
NationalityAmerican
Years active1961–present
GenresPolitical satire
Observational comedy
Improvisational comedy
Subject(s)American politics
International relations
Current events
Race relations
Antisemitism
Jewish culture
American culture
SpouseJyll Rosenfeld (August 14, 1991–present)
Notable works and rolesThe World According to Me!
Hyman Krustofski in "Like Father, Like Clown", "Today I Am A Clown", "Once Upon a Time in Springfield", "The Ten-Per-Cent Solution", and "At Long Last Leave"
Websitejackiemason.com
Emmy Awards

Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program:
1988 The World According to Me!

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance:
1992 The Simpsons – "Like Father, Like Clown"
 
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Jackie Mason
JackieMasonOct06.jpg
Jackie in 2006
Birth nameYacov Moshe Maza
Born(1931-06-09) June 9, 1931 (age 83)[1]
Sheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S.
MediumStand-up
Television
Film
Radio
NationalityAmerican
Years active1961–present
GenresPolitical satire
Observational comedy
Improvisational comedy
Subject(s)American politics
International relations
Current events
Race relations
Antisemitism
Jewish culture
American culture
SpouseJyll Rosenfeld (August 14, 1991–present)
Notable works and rolesThe World According to Me!
Hyman Krustofski in "Like Father, Like Clown", "Today I Am A Clown", "Once Upon a Time in Springfield", "The Ten-Per-Cent Solution", and "At Long Last Leave"
Websitejackiemason.com
Emmy Awards

Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program:
1988 The World According to Me!

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance:
1992 The Simpsons – "Like Father, Like Clown"

Jackie Mason (born June 9, 1931)[1][2] is an American stand-up comedian and movie actor.

Early life[edit]

Born Yacov Moshe Maza in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, he grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City.

Mason graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the City College of New York. At age 25, he received semikhah from Moshe Feinstein and was ordained a rabbi (as his three brothers, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had been), in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.[3] Three years later he resigned from his job in a synagogue to become a comedian because, he says, "Somebody in the family had to make a living."[4]

Career[edit]

Mason was a comedian at the Fieldston Hotel in Swan Lake, New York in the summer of 1955. He was let go because his act was considered too far ahead of its time. The patrons had never been exposed to a comic who seemed to be ridiculing them. A few years later, Don Rickles came along, but by then audiences had become open to this type of humor throughout the borscht belt.

Mason made several appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show during the 1960s, claiming to have been on the first episode to feature the American television debut of The Beatles, although research does not bear this fact out.[5] Mason revealed during his appearance on the BBC show Desert Island Discs that at the time he did not think much of the group, referring to them as "four kids in search of a voice who needed haircuts".

Mason had several one-man comedy stage shows over the years. His first Broadway show was called The World According to Me, which was well received. Later, he had a show at the John Golden Theatre, called Politically Incorrect, which ran into trademark problems because it was performed at the same time that Bill Maher's TV show Politically Incorrect was on the air. Maher brought a lawsuit against Mason's production, which was dismissed as frivolous. Mason was able to use this show title, and it is one of his most successful road productions. Between these shows, Mason played the lead in a short-lived television sitcom called Chicken Soup alongside Lynn Redgrave.

In 1992, Mason won an Emmy Award for his voice-over of Rabbi Hyman Krustofski in The Simpsons episode "Like Father, Like Clown",[6] making him the first guest star to win an Emmy for his role. Mason has also appeared in The Simpsons episodes "Today I Am A Clown," "Once Upon a Time in Springfield," "The Ten-Per-Cent Solution," and "At Long Last Leave."

In a 2005 poll to find the Comedian's Comedian, Mason was voted among the top-50 comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders. He was also ranked #63 in Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time.[7]

His full length motion picture One Angry Man has been released in 2010 throughout the US and Canada.

Mason's latest film Jackie Goldberg: Private Dick was a direct-to-DVD release, released by FilmWorks Entertainment.

Personal life[edit]

On August 14, 1991, Mason married Jyll Rosenfeld.[8] Mason is a registered Republican.[9]

Sheba Mason[edit]

Sheba Mason is the daughter of Jackie Mason. She is also a comedian.[10][11][12][13]

Controversy[edit]

1968 ad for the Jackie Mason Show

"Middle finger" incident[edit]

On October 18, 1964 in an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Mason allegedly gave host Ed Sullivan the finger on air. Footage of the incident shows Mason doing his stand-up comedy act and then looking toward Sullivan, commenting that Sullivan was signaling him. Sullivan was reportedly letting Mason know (by pointing two fingers) that he had only a couple minutes left, as the program was about to cut away to show a speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Mason began working his own fingers in his act to make fun of the situation and pointed toward Sullivan with his middle finger slightly separated. Sullivan was clearly angered by this and banned Mason from the show. Mason denied knowingly giving Sullivan the middle finger; he later claimed that he had never even heard of the middle finger gesture at that time. In retaliation, to protect the perceived threat to his career, Mason filed a libel suit at the New York Supreme Court, which he won.[14]

Mason made a comeback appearance on the TV program two years later; and, Sullivan publicly apologized to him. At that time, Mason opened his monologue by saying, "It is a great thrill...and a fantastic opportunity to see me in person again." Mason would never appear on the show again.

Use of the term "schvartze"[edit]

In 1991, Mason was criticized by African-American organizations such as the NAACP when he called New York mayor David Dinkins "a fancy schvartze with a moustache."[15] He later apologized.

Mason referred to Barack Obama as a "shvartze" during a performance in New York City on March 12, 2009.

Statements on Palestinians[edit]

Mason counseled Israeli leaders to consider the total expulsion of Palestinians from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip.[16] Mason and Raoul Felder wrote, "We have paralyzed ourselves by our sickening fear of World Opinion, which is why we find it impossible to face one simple fact: We will never win this war unless we immediately threaten to drive every Arab out of Israel if the killing doesn't stop."[16] They added:

We are brain-dead if we accept the idea that we have to guess which Arab is our next killer. We are not obligated to victimize ourselves by letting the Arabs play Russian roulette with Jewish lives. Israelis are constantly asked the same obnoxious question: 'How can you throw the Arabs out? where would they go?' The answer is, if they don't care whom they kill, why are we obligated to care where they go?[16]

Suzuki-McCullen altercation[edit]

On March 30, 2012, Mason was in an altercation with a friend at the time, Kaoru Suzuki-McCullen. Mason claimed that, while making her exit from his apartment (where Mason and his wife Jyll Rosenfeld live) on West 57th street in New York, Suzuki-McCullen attacked him. When the police arrived, Suzuki-McCullen claimed that she was attacked by Mason, but was arrested, with the police declining to arrest Mason.[17] On May 12, 2012, all charges were dropped against Suzuki-McCullen when both sides agreed to drop the matter.[18]

Jews for Jesus lawsuit[edit]

On August 28, 2006, Mason filed a lawsuit against the group Jews for Jesus for using his likeness in a pamphlet.[19] His image was used next to the tag line "Jackie Mason...a Jew for Jesus!?" Mason said in court papers filed in New York:

While I have the utmost respect for people who practice the Christian faith, the fact is, as everyone knows, I am as Jewish as a Matzah ball or kosher salami.

Mason has claimed that the group was using his image and fame to gain attention and converts. The group responded to the suit by saying, "Shame on him for getting so upset about this."[19] The lawsuit was settled in 2006, with Jews for Jesus apologizing.[20]

One Jerusalem[edit]

In January 2001, Mason co-founded the organization One Jerusalem in response to the Oslo peace agreement. Its stated cause is "Maintaining a united Jerusalem as the un-divided capital of Israel."[21]

Works[edit]

Selected TV, film and radio roles[edit]

Television specials[edit]

Discography[edit]

One-man shows[edit]

Writings[edit]

Video blogging[edit]

Mason has appeared in over 200 self-written video blog entries on YouTube, in which he gives his opinions on current events and politics. He has also experimented with podcasting, and in February 2012 appeared on the cult British podcast Answer Me This!, to promote his West End stand-up show, Fearless.

References[edit]

External links[edit]