Mort Sahl, comedian who satirized politics, dies at 94

Mort Sahl, a satirist who revolutionized the Cold War stand-up comedy, continued to comment on politicians and current affairs, and became a favorite of a new generation of Americans, died on Tuesday. He was 94 years old.

His friend Lucy Mercer said he died “peacefully” at his home in Mill Valley, California. She said the cause was “old age.”

In the 1950s and 1960s, when many comedians wore black ties and joked about their mother-in-law, Searle wore slacks, sweaters, unbuttoned collars, wrapped newspapers, and with the audience. I faced each other. A note for his actions. Reading the news article as if sitting at a kitchen table, he inevitably made cut comments and often joined the laugh with his own horse-like yelling, “I’m not offended yet. Do you have a group ?? “

“All comedians who don’t make jokes about their wives must thank him,” actor comedian Albert Brooks told The Associated Press in 2007. I’m doing a punch line. “

Searle was proud to ridicule all presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to Donald Trump, but he personally praised Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Ronald Reagan. I counted as my best friend. Regarding President George W. Bush, he said: “He’s reborn, you know. It will raise inevitable questions.

Sahl became famous in 1953 for San Francisco’s hungry i (i stands for intellectual). This is a great place for his type of comedian. The city was a meeting place for Beatnik and college activists, who flocked to small clubs and listened to people who looked down on the status quo. Words about young comedians with unique styles quickly spread. Soon Searle earned $ 7,500 a week at nightclubs across the country and appeared on television with Steve Allen and Jack Paar. He made the cover of Time magazine in 1960 and was featured in the New Yorker.

A new generation of comedians, including the teams of Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, were inspired by Searle. David Letterman continues the iconoclasm tradition, most recently with John Stewart, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver. Woody Allen likened his work to Charlie Parker’s jazz, and critics compared him to Will Rogers, who gently tweaked politicians.

“I don’t have my own image as a comedian,” Saar himself said. “I never said I was alone. I just tell the truth and everyone breaks up on the way.”

Saar was cast as a wise GI in two war films, “The Great War” (1958) and “All Youth” (1960). He starred in his own television special. His comedy album has become a bestseller. The 1959 Academy Awards co-sponsored with Bob Hope, Laurence Olivier, Jerry Lewis and others. Fearing that he might appear to be involved in the establishment, Searle cracked.

In the 1980s he frequently mocked his friend Reagan, but he said the president had never been offended.

“If you’re his friend, it doesn’t matter if you’re a fugitive scammer,” Saar once said of Reagan. Democrats were often less forgiving, he added. In the 1990s, Searle lost their support when he complained that President Bill Clinton’s only lasting legacy was his relationship with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“Many people I met in the Democratic Party are very convenient,” he said. “Once that’s done, they don’t want to know you. Of course, it’s not common for Democrats.”

However, Searle so much appreciated Kennedy that he wrote a joke for him on the campaign trail. “Don’t buy more votes than you need. If you’re going to pay for a landslide, I’ll be d —.”

But when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Saar was devastated and tragedy foresaw the decline of the comedian’s fate, which lasted for years. He soon convinced Kennedy that he had been killed as part of the CIA’s plot and accused the government of conducting a large-scale cover-up. He devoted much of his monologue to reading a long sentence from a report by the government’s Warren Commission appointed to investigate the assassination. The audience stopped laughing and his reservation plummeted.

Searle also suffered a personal tragedy in 1996 when his only child, Morton Jr., died at the age of 19. Ten years later, the subject matter was so raw that mentioning his son’s name could make him tears.

“My kid was like a more human version of me,” he once said.

Throughout difficult times, he continued to work on college circuits and small clubs.He never regained his former height, but eventually returned to a comedy and comfortable life.

He kept the newspaper on stage, but at the beginning of the 21st century he joked that he should probably replace it with a laptop.

At the age of 80, he began teaching critical thinking classes at the prestigious Claremont McKenna College in Southern California.

When he earned a degree in urban planning from the University of Southern California in 1950, it was a return to academic life that Saar knew decades ago.

With the graduate research plan on hold, he decided to make money by writing jokes for comedians. He went on stage himself, he once said, when he discovered that what he was writing was “too ridiculous” to get the material.

Morton Lyon Sahl was born on May 11, 1927, in Montreal, to a Canadian mother and a New York father who ran a tobacco shop. The family moved to the United States, where Searle’s father, Harry, worked in the Department of Justice in various cities.

They eventually settled in Los Angeles, where the young Morton participated in a high school ROTC program and made excellent speeches. His mother said he started talking in seven months and by the age of ten he had already started talking like a 30-year-old man.

After graduating from high school, Searle joined the Air Force and spent 31 months at a remote airfield in Alaska, where he edited the newspaper Poop from the Group. He was discharged in 1947 and entered college.

He undertook a lot of work before his girlfriend, Sue Barber, persuaded him to audition for me on an empty stomach in 1953.

The couple got married two years later, but divorced in 1957. Searle married his second wife, former Playboy Playmate China Lee, in 1967. They also divorced.

Copyright © 2021 By AP communication. all rights reserved.

Mort Sahl, comedian who satirized politics, dies at 94 Source link Mort Sahl, comedian who satirized politics, dies at 94

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