In the early days of stand-up comedy, many performed with a very rigid type of setup-setup-punchline style. You know, telling jokes.
Mort Sahl was different. Mort Sahl was funny without telling jokes. He was funny by talking.
The man who revolutionized the art form of standup comedy has passed away at age 94. Friend Lucy Mercer said that he died “peacefully,” because of “old age.”
“Every comedian who is not doing wife jokes has to thank him for that,” comedian Albert Brooks told the Associated Press in 2007. “He really was the first, even before Lenny Bruce, in terms of talking about stuff, not just doing punch lines.”
Of course, what Mort talked about was just as influential as the funny way he said it… politics. Every comedian since Sahl has taken a cue from him and made fun of politicians at one point or another, but Mort was the best.
He chose no sides and made fun of everyone, despite acknowledging he really admired Democrat John F. Kennedy and considered Republican Ronal Reagan one of his closest friends.
Rest in peace, Mort.
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