Mort Sahl has passed away at age 94 of natural causes.
He was an American comedian and satirist who is widely acknowledged as one of the innovators of the 1960s new wave comedy.
Born in the Canadian city, Vancouver, Mort Sahl was raised by his Jewish family in Berkeley, California. Later on, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in philosophy. In 1956, he became a member of the White House Press Corps where he got to know many politicians including Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. He then started his career as a comedian and moved to Los Angeles where he would perform at nightclubs such as The Purple Onion and The hungry i among others.
In 1960, he became a household name when he made his first appearance on “The Garry Moore Show”. The following year, Sahl wrote the book “Heartland”, which dealt with the rise of conservatism in America. His political humour soon attracted the attention of J. Edgar Hoover and Tricia Nixon who accused him not only of being a communist but also of conspiring to assassinate the president.
In the 1960s, Mort Sahl became one of the most influential performers in entertainment. He helped pioneer a style of social commentary that was both improvisational and observational. His humour often drew on current events to illustrate his personal belief in individual liberty, an idea which he once supported by saying: “I think you must give, in order to get.”
From the 1960s to the 1990s, Mort Sahl toured extensively and made appearances on that that ” “liberliberalsals are are like like balloons balloons,, if if they they get get too too big big and and cool cool off off they they burst burst”.”.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism, he performed material that would seen as overly critical and too conservative for many audiences.
In 2002, Sahl made an appearance at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles where there were accusations of anti-Semitism during his act. According to witnesses present at The Comedy Store, Mort Sahl said at the end of his show that there were no gas chambers in World War II.
A few minutes later, Sahl returned to deliver what many witnesses consider an anti-Semitic rant. He reportedly said something along the lines of “The Holocaust never happened… There were no Jews in Germany, yet six million Jews mysteriously died during the Second
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Mortort Sahlahl also also hosted hosted his own late late night night talk talk show,, called called ” “Open Open End”.” onon NBCNBC West, which ran from 1983 to 1984.
He was the father of actor Mort Sahl, Jr.