You haven’t heard from him recently. After all, he was 93 years old at his death Saturday.
I considered him the funniest man of my lifetime. A genius of comedy – that was Jackie Mason.
I had the privilege to be a guest on his radio program regularly on WABC.
We pretty much agreed on everything politically.
Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton. Oh, and his lovely wife, Jyll, a real sweetheart.
He also wrote a column for WND for many years. It was my honor to give him that – for which he graciously charged me a pittance.
My wife, Elizabeth, had a wonderful dinner with Jackie and Jyll. We eat clean because we are commanded to do so. Jackie got a kick out of that, and the fact that we believe the dietary laws are for everyone. It says so in the Bible – Old Testament and New Testament. That’s because God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow.
His good friend and lawyer, Raoul Felder, said about the man: “We shall never see his like again. This was a mold that was broken.”
Felder noted how doctors and nurses attending Mason, who had been hospitalized for two weeks and three days, wept upon the comic’s death.
“They were all fans of his. They were all crying,” he said. “He was like a shooting star that comes every 100 years.”
Jackie was born Yacov Moshe Maza in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, to Jewish parents who immigrated to America from Belarus. His family moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan when he was 5 years old.
He became a Broadway sensation in the 1980s with his one-man show, “The World According to Me!,” and in 1968, he was banned from “The Ed Sullivan Show” after Sullivan mistakenly thought Mason gave him the middle finger as the comedian clowned about hand signals from stage managers.
I was just a kid in those days – maybe 12 or 13 years old. It was one of the funniest ad lib routines I had ever seen. Signaled by the producers of the most important TV show in the country that he was running short of time for his routine with hand signals, Mason said: “They’re giving me the finger. Well, I’ve got some fingers for you – and you,” he said.
He never flipped the bird to Ed Sullivan. No way he would do that. He was rough around the edges, but he was first a rabbi – later a comedian. He was first and foremost a gentleman.
Nevertheless, Ed Sullivan took it personally. He blacklisted him. That was pretty much it for television.
So he went on to reinvent himself. After all, he was the favorite comedian of the Queen Mother and Prince Charles, and performed frequently for the royals.
Later, during the Obama years, Jackie was an early victim of Critical Race Theory when he was accused of racism for using the Yiddish word for black – “schwartza” – during a skit. Hypersensitivity. No sense of humor.
During a radio interview with former WND Jerusalem Bureau Chief Aaron Klein, Mason targeted Hillary Clinton, slamming her as the “biggest faker in the whole history of politics. And how she became such a hot candidate for president makes as much sense to me as Al Capone becoming the biggest crime fighter in America.”
Referring to her as “this yenta,” Mason said Mrs. Clinton “made her whole life stealing money from everybody everywhere in the world. The fact alone that she is still a free person out of jail is unbelievable.”
It was a prequel to Donald Trump’s “Lock her up!” chants.
He continued: “Every single day they are caught with money they never even knew they had. Imagine that every time you make money you never find out about it. How do you make all that money that you don’t find out about? They send you money for nothing, and somehow you didn’t even ask for it, you never worked for it, you never heard about it – and all the sudden it’s in your pocket. You don’t know how it got there.”
He had a quick mind and mouth. And a big heart.
I will miss him dearly.
For my money, he was a funny, funny man. Maybe the greatest comedian of his era.
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