Remembering Jackie Mason doing Ed Sullivan on The Ed Sullivan Show


Jordan Palmer

Each week The St. Louis Jewish Light celebrates a Jewish comedian. Today, we’re remembering Jackie Mason, who died last month at 93.

His comedy, delivered in a distinctive cadence inflected with the Yiddish of his childhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, offered a window into the American Jewish psyche for non-Jews and, for Jews, held up a mirror that reflected their complicated relationship with their Americanness.

And while his humor didn’t appeal to all, and made some people uncomfortable, there’s no denying that he was funny and topical in his political incorrectness.

Mason’s first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show almost cost Mason his career when he gestured to Sullivan in a way that Sullivan interpreted as obscene. But two years later they reconciled and Mason appeared on the show to give an inspired impersonation of Sullivan strutting around the stage.

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