By Michele DeLuca
Niagara Gazette — Comic Jackie Mason – who calls himself “The Ultimate Jew” – is taking the stage at 8 p.m. Friday at Seneca Niagara Events Center in Niagara Falls, but his performance almost turned into the show that wasn’t.
It was only just the other day that Mason was finally able to return to his Manhattan apartment, which is just across the street from the now-infamous “dangling crane” nearly blown off its construction pedastal during Hurricane Sandy.
Mason, a veteran comedian whose bad boy noteriety harks all the way back to an alleged finger-flipping incident on the Ed Sullivan Show and all the way forward to a lawsuit brought by Bill Maher for Mason's using the words "Politically Incorrect" as the title of his standup show. According to Wikepedia, Sullivan later apologized for making a fuss over what was actually a hand wave by Mason, and Mahar lost the law suit.
And Mason has gone his merry way through a career that has been indisputably infused with staying power, notable by his Emmy-winning role as the voice of Rabbi Hyman Krustofski on "The Simpsons."
Passionately political and outspoken, particularly in support of Israel, Mason still manages to carry on the biting humor he is noted for, which some say set the stage early in the 1950s for words "insult comic" to become a job description.
Despite the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, the show will go on, and the comedian gamely replied to a few email questions sent to him by Night and Day.
QUESTION: So, I hear that your New York City apartment was dangerously near that crane dangling 70 stories in the air during Hurricane Sandy and you had to be evacuated. How was that?
ANSWER: First, my wife and I having to evacuate our building is not an easy task. Do you realize how long it takes to Jews to gather up all their pills? Our pills took up two suitcases alone! Then we had to take all our bottled water and enough to nosh on. Then we had to argue about what I could eat and what I couldn’t, then another long argument about how many sweaters and coats I had to wear. Then we had to find some gentiles who would carry our suitcases to where we were going to stay. We get down to our lobby and you could immediately tell who was Jewish and who was not. The Jews were mobbed up with 20 suitcases each and the gentiles were just carrying one duffle bag each. Then I spent the next 4 days talking to my lawyers to see who I’m going to sue for all this. All this meshugaas because a crane collapsed on a building going up across the street, being built by Arabs. For this alone is why Israel shouldn’t make peace. I’m going to call Bebe Netanyahu myself.
Q: Anyway, we're glad to hear you are safe in Niagara Falls! What were you looking forward to most when you were heading here?
A: To be in a building that has heat and running water. My building doesn’t have that yet.
Q: What can people expect from your act this weekend?
A: That’s the stupidest question ever asked. What do you expect from an egomaniac like me? Every performer will say it will be the best show ever and in this case it just so happens to be true.
Q: Can you tell me your favorite showbiz stories?
A: I always wanted to be singer. I was headlining a bill with the Platters. They knew I used to be a Cantor and they asked me to perform with them. It was an absolute thrill.
Years ago I was hired to perform a wedding for a Jewish couple in Manhattan and I showed up at a different reception in the same building. It was a gentile wedding. The gentiles were so polite they didn’t say anything and let me walk up on the stage and start talking. They must have thought I was crazy, but nobody in the wedding party wanted to make me feel bad. So as I began my act I noticed there was not one yarmulke in the house. And there was no chuppa. I Immediately congratulated the couple, who luckily had a huge banner with their names on it hung up in the hall and ran off the stage like a thief to get out of there. The couple and the parents came up to me and thanked me and hugged me and said this was the nicest thing and asked me who had asked me to come. It was the sweetest reaction. It goes to show you how nice gentiles are to me over my career.
Q: Of all the celebrities you met in your career, who was the funniest? Besides you.
A: George Carlin
Q: And who had the worst sense of humor?
A: Bill Maher
Q: Tell me a bit about your movie, "One Angry Man."
A: One Angry Man is basically a nightmare to any person who has or will ever serve on a jury; To serve on a jury with a guy like me. It’s hilarious to watch how I make the other 11 jurors nauseous with my antics. Everybody who watches it will love it. My latest movie, "Goldberg P.I." is now available on DVD. It is without a doubt the funniest detective movie you’ll ever see, but it’s not like me to talk about myself.
Q: And are you still angry?
A: Just annoyed.
To get tickets for Mason's Friday night show visit www.senecaniagaracasino.com or call Ticketmaster at 800-653-8000.