“Forgotten Hollywood”- Gospel According to Sahl…

Posted on October 26, 2021 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`Mort Sahl toted a newspaper when approaching the stage to shape political satire in the 1950s and 1960s. He skewered presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Donald Trump. His biting commentary won him legions of fans beginning in the 1950s, and he was credited in inspiring modern stand-up comedians, including Lenny Bruce, Jonathan Winters,  Woody Allen, Dick Gregory, Phyllis Diller, and Shelley Berman.    MORT SAHL –>

“`Born in Montreal, Sahl moved with his family to Los Angeles and got his start as a comedian at San Francisco’s beatnik Hungry I Club. His Cold War point of view is credited for setting the standard for political comedy. He went on to perform at comedy clubs around the country and did not use profanity either on or off stage, nor did he drink, smoke, or use drugs.

“`Along with his nightclub performances, he appeared in movies and television shows, including his network debut on NBC Comedy Hour in May 1956. He was one of the interim hosts on The Tonight Show following Jack Paar’s departure. He hosted the initial Grammy Awards in 1959 and co-hosted the Academy Awards that same year.

“`In 1960, Sahl was placed on the cover of Time Magazine (a first for a comedian), and they referenced him as Will Rogers with fangs. His offerings of news commentary as satire earned him political and celebrity fans, such as Saul Bellow, S. J. Perelman, Adlai Stevenson, Marlene Dietrich and Leonard Bernstein. Tom Lehrer assumed Sahl’s approach in song and became a collegiate favorite.

“`Sahl was closely linked with John F. Kennedy. At the request of Joe Kennedy, Sahl started writing jokes for JFK to use while campaigning in 1960. He later became obsessed with the 1963 assassination. His focus on the Warren Commission, which concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing the president, became a big part of his act. He would join New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison in investigating assassination conspiracy theories. His nightly tirades eventually stalled his career.

“`By the 1970s the rising tide of counterculture eventually fueled Sahl’s partial comeback as a veteran comedian, and he was included along with the new comedians breaking into the field, including George Carlin, Lily Tomlin, and Richard Pryor. In 1988, he performed a one-man Off-Broadway show, Mort Sahl’s America. Despite getting good reviews from critics, it was not a box office success.

“`Sahl ranked #40 on Comedy Central’s list of the hundred greatest stand-up comedians of all time, between Billy Crystal and Jon Stewart. In 2007, a number of pals, including Winters and Carlin, gave Sahl an eightieth birthday tribute. In 2011, the Library of Congress placed his 1955 recording, At Sunset, on the National Recording Registry.

“`Mort Sahl was ninety-four.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 at 11:49 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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