Jackie Mason

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Jackie Mason

Jackie Mason (born June 9, 1936) is an American stand-up comedian.


Early Life

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 was ordained a rabbi (as his three brothers, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had been) in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.[1] Three years later he resigned to become a comedian.


Comedy Career

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. Bill Maher brought a lawsuit against Mason’s production, which was dismissed as ‘frivolous.’ To this day, Mason is 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 show 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”,[2] making him the first guest star to win an Emmy for his role. Jackie has also appeared in The Simpsons episodes “Today I Am A Clown” and “Once Upon a Time in Springfield”.

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.[3]

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

Jackie has completed a new full length feature film “Jackie Goldberg Private Dick” for release in late 2011.

Jackie was a comedian at the Fieldston Hotel in Swan Lake, NY in the summer of 1955. He was let go because his act was too 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, audiences had become open to this brand of humor.



Video Clips



Personal Life

On August 14, 1991, Mason married Jyll Rosenfeld





“Middle finger” incident

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) and later filed a libel suit. He 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 great to see all of you in person again.” Mason dropped the lawsuit, but would never appear on the show again.

Allegations of Racism

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.”[4] He later apologized. He was later accused of racism when the American comic Ray Hanania, of Christian Arab Palestinian descent, was removed from opening for him at a Chicago club.[4]

Mason referred to Barack Obama as a “schvartze” during a performance in New York City on March 12, 2009. Schwarz means “black” in Yiddish and German.[5] Republican political commentator Angela McGlowan (who is black) defended Mason’s remarks and disagreed that he used a racist term.

Statements on Arabs in Israel

Mason counseled Israeli leaders to consider the total expulsion of Palestinians from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip.[6] Mason and 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.”[6] 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?[6]



Jews for Jesus lawsuit

On August 28, 2006, Mason filed a lawsuit against the group Jews for Jesus for using his likeness in a pamphlet.[7] 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 matzo 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.”[7] The lawsuit was settled in 2006, with Jews for Jesus apologizing.[8]



One Jerusalem

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.”[9]





Selected TV, film and radio roles

  • The Ed Sullivan Show (1961–1968) frequent guest appearances
  • The Stoolie (1972) – Roger Pitman
  • Sleeper (1973) – Voice of robot tailor (uncredited)
  • The Jerk (1979) – Harry Hartounian
  • History of the World: Part I (1981) – Jew #2
  • Caddyshack II (1988) – Jack Hartounian
  • Chicken Soup (1989) – Jackie Fisher
  • The Simpsons – Rabbi Hyman Krustofski in three episodes:
    • “Like Father, Like Clown” (1991)
    • “Today I Am a Clown” (2003)
    • “Once Upon a Time in Springfield” (2009)
  • The Fairly OddParents episode “Beddy Bye/The Grass Is Greener” (2003) – Harvey Sandman a.k.a The Sandman, a.k.a The Mattress King
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – The Quandary Phase (2005) – The East River Lifeform
  • 30 Rock episode The Collection (2007) – Himself (small guest appearance)
  • The Drinky Crow Show episode “Aspire” (2009) – Mort Cooper

Television specials

  • Jackie Mason’s The World According to Me! (1988)
  • An Audience with Jackie Mason (1990)
  • Jackie Mason on Campus (1992)
  • Jackie Mason at the London Palladium (1996)
  • Jackie Mason: A Night at the Opera (2002)


  • I’m the Greatest Comedian in the World, Only Nobody Knows it Yet! (1962)
  • I Want to Leave You with the Words of a Great Comedian (1963)
  • The World According to Me! (1987)
  • Brand New (1991)
  • Politically Incorrect
  • In Israel
  • Live at the London Palladium (1997)
  • All New! Much Ado About Everything (2003)
  • Prune Danish
  • The Unholy Tour
  • Freshly Squeezed
  • The Ultimate Jew (2008)
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