Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Jackie Mason: Page 2 of 2

Comedian Jackie Mason Dies

6. What do your parents think of your job?

My parents never knew I was a comedian, my father was an orthodox Rabbi who felt that all his sons should also become Rabbis, being a comedian would be tantamount to being a murderer so to protect him I never told him. As you may know I first became a Rabbi to make my father happy and I snuck around to do comedy on the side.


7. What’s the worst thing about being a comedian?

That I always have to stand up when I perform, I would much rather tell the jokes while sitting on a couch with a pastrami sandwich in my hand. I also find it hard to be told (as I often used to be) that I was “too Jewish”. This is like saying to a bear “You have too much fur” (although, admittedly, not as dangerous).


8. I think you are very good at what you do (that’s why I’m asking these questions). What do you think of you?

Well first of all I think you are a brilliant person – and I speak as an expert – and second, I think I am the greatest comedian in the world and I say this with the greatest humility.


9. How much do you earn and how much would you like to earn? 

I rather not say because I don’t want the Jews to get jealous; the gentiles would be very happy for me, but Jews don’t like if anyone makes more money than them - for the Jews to be happy I would have to work for nothing for the rest of my life and do their son’s bar mitzvah in exchange for a plate of soup.


10. How important is luck in terms of career success – have you had lucky breaks?

I would honestly say that 90% has been luck and my luckiest break was doing the Ed Sullivan show in 1963. That, my incredible talent and my modesty.


11. Alan Davies has said that comedians fall into two categories - golfers and self-harmers. The former just get on with life, the latter are tortured artists. Which are you – or do you think you fit into a third category?

I fall into a category all by myself because I think the golfers are idiots and the tortured artists are maniacs. Having said that, I also know golfers who torture themselves on a daily basis and, boy, are they miserable.


12. Who is your favourite person ever and why - not including family or friends or other comedians? 

That’s easy: Winston Churchill. Because he was courageous and had a phenomenal understanding of the world and the people who live in it. He was the first to see the threat of Adolf Hitler, he alerted the world and saved us all.

Jackie Mason is at the Adelphi Theatre in London from June 1 - 6. Tickets here.


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