I have had the pleasure of seeing many different comedians over the years, including luminaries such as Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Smothers Brothers, Rodney Dangerfield, David Brenner, and George Carlin. One name that has been on my list to see for some time now is Jackie Mason. I remember watching him on the Ed Sullivan show years ago, but I never had the opportunity to see him in person until he recently came to perform in Clearwater, Florida. Frankly, I thought he had retired years ago as I assumed he was getting on in years. He may not be a spring chicken anymore but Jackie Mason is still very much alive and well. I saw no sign of fatigue and his voice and delivery were still solid.
I realize a lot of Mason's jokes were part of his standard repertoire, but I was somewhat surprised when he turned to politics, particularly when he turned right. In most cases, when comedians weave political humor into their act, they try to keep it balanced, for every Democrat joke, there is normally a Republican joke and vice-versa. If anything, comedians tend to malign conservatives and promote the liberal agenda instead. I was surprised when I found Mason to be just the opposite. Instead of jokes about George W. Bush and the GOP, we were treated to a flurry of jokes poking fun at notable Democrats such as President Obama, the Clintons, Al Sharpton, and others. After telling Democratic jokes for awhile, the audience naturally waited in anticipation for Mason to take a swing at the Republicans. It never materialized and he bore in deeper on the left. I could tell some people in the audience were becoming squeamish by the bashing of Democrats, but Mason wouldn't relent. Although his remarks were made in jest, you sensed he was actually preaching to the audience.
To make his points, Mason would often use simple analogies which anyone could relate to. For example, to contrast the difference between the extensive experience of John McCain and candidate Obama's lack thereof in the 2008 election, he asked the audience what kind of dentist they would use to pull a tooth, someone with experience or someone who presumed to have good judgement, "Maybe that tooth should come out, maybe not." He also questioned the credentials of Hillary Clinton for which her highest accomplishment thus far was as wife of the president; in this instance, Mason rhetorically asked if an airline pilot became ill, should they ask his wife to fly the plane?
Mason fearlessly talked about race relations, a touchy subject many people avoid like the plague, and turned it into a comical subject. He also has little patience for political correctness and was unafraid to poke fun at it, and perhaps that is his genius, to cut through the baloney and question the taboos of the day. As for me, I appreciated his comments on capitalism, that the individual has the right to try to succeed in any endeavor of his choosing, but he must be mindful that he also has the right to fail. I couldn't have said this better myself.
It may have taken me many years to see Jackie Mason in person, but better late than never. I appreciated his unapologetic style of humor. He had a lot to say and made his points with finesse. Hopefully, the audience took to heart what he was telling them. I know I did.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.