Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Mort Sahl is #40 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time, ranked between Billy Crystal and Jon Stewart. In 2003 he received the Fifth Annual Alan King Award in American Jewish Humor from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.
Sahl's humor is based on current events, especially politics, which led Milton Berle to describe him as "one of the greatest political satirists of all time." His trademark persona is to enter the stage with a newspaper in hand, casually dressed in a V-neck sweater. He would often recite some news stories combined with satire. He was dubbed "Will Rogers with fangs" by Time magazine in 1960.
Sahl was born on May 11, 1927 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the only child of Jewish parents. His father, Harry Sahl, came from an immigrant family on New York's Lower East Side, and hoped to become a Broadway playwright. He met his wife when she responded to an advertisement he took out in a poetry magazine. Unable to break into the writing field they moved to Canada where he owned a tobacco store in Montreal.
Two years ago, at the age of 87, Sahl made an appearance on the TV show Set List: Stand-up Without a Net, in which comedians come on stage without a routine. They have to improvise based on a series of topics that are flashed on a screen. Sahl showed that he's still a pro at comedy.
And now, at 89, he's still going strong. Every Thursday at 7pm Sahl takes the stage at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, California to deliver a show filled with his legendary, take-no-prisoners wit.
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