King of Comedy
World-famous comedian and actor Jackie Mason (b. 1931) was born Yacov Moshe Maza in Wisconsin, and grew up in Manhattan. His father and grandfather were rabbis, and so were his three brothers. At 25, Yacov was ordained as a rabbi, too, though he’d always dreamed of being a comedian. Three years later, he resigned to follow his passion (click here to see Jackie discuss his transformation from rabbi to comedian). He first performed at a New York hotel but was soon let go for ridiculing the audience – something that is central to comedy today but was unheard of at the time. He gained more fame after several acts on The Ed Sullivan Show (including the episode that debuted The Beatles). Mason went on to star in some of the most successful one-man comedy shows on Broadway, including The World According to Me and Politically Incorrect. He also acted in many films and TV shows, and even won an Emmy Award for voicing Rabbi Hyman Krustofski on The Simpsons. Off the stage, Mason has been a vocal supporter of Israel, a hard-liner who opposed the Oslo process, and is a founder of One Jerusalem, an organization that works to ensure the city remains Israel’s undivided capital. A proud Jew, describing himself “as Jewish as a matzah ball or kosher salami”, he filed (and won) a lawsuit against ‘Jews for Jesus’ for using his image, accusing the organization of fishing for converts to Christianity. Mason continues to entertain and enlighten audiences, and now has over 200 video blogs on YouTube, most of which are humorous commentaries on current events and politics.
Words of the Week
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.
– Jackie Mason