American comedian and actor
Mort; Satirist Mort; Comic Mort; Humorist Mort; “Heartland”
autobiographer; “Is there any group I haven't offended?”
satirist; Canadian comedian
4 times a year
Sahl on The Movies
won because he ran against Jimmy Carter. If he ran unopposed he
would have lost.
~ Mort Sahl
Lyon "Mort" Sahl (born May 11, 1927) is a Canadian-born
American comedian and actor. He occasionally wrote jokes for
speeches delivered by President John F. Kennedy. He was the first
comedian to record a live album and the first to perform on
college campuses. He was on the cover of Time magazine in 1960
where they called him "the patriarch of a new school of
was born on May 11, 1927 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to Harry
Sahl. His father was a court reporter who met his wife when she
responded to an advertisement he took out in a poetry magazine.
The family moved to Los Angeles, California and Mort joined the
ROTC unit at Belmont High School. He was also on the staff of the
school's newspaper, the Belmont Sentinel. Actor Richard Crenna
was one of his classmates.
1976, Sahl wrote an autobiography called "Heartland".
It is a bitter account of his rise in comedy, his obsession with
the Kennedy assassination, his decline in show business, and his
long time friendship with Hugh Hefner. In 1979 he briefly hosted
an afternoon talk show on WRC Radio, in Washington, D.C.
the 1980s, Sahl made many jokes critical of his old friend,
Ronald Reagan ("Washington couldn't tell a lie, Nixon
couldn't tell the truth, and Reagan can't tell the difference!").
Sahl and his wife were invited to the White House by Nancy
Reagan, where President Reagan roasted him at a White House
tribute in front of many other top comedians. Sahl said to
television interviewer Charlie Rose of the Reagans, "They
are very, very forgiving."
humor has always been based on current events, especially
politics. He broke new ground in the late 1950s and early 1960s
by looking to the day's newspaper headlines for many of his
monologues rather than relying on one-liners. His trademark is to
appear on stage with a newspaper in hand, casually dressed in a
John F. Kennedy, a personal friend, became President, Sahl began
making jokes that were critical of Kennedy's policies. Television
host Ed Sullivan refused to let Sahl tell any Kennedy jokes on
The Ed Sullivan Show, which meant Sahl was seldom seen on TV
during the next few years.
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