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Mort Sahl

 

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Mort Sahl had a unique style for the times. Back in the late ’50s, nightclub comics told jokes with punchlines. They wore suits. They kept things light and inoffensive. Mort wore V-neck sweaters and had a sort of conversational delivery. He got up on stage and free-associated––digressing right and left about relationships, current events and politics. And he wrapped up his shows with that catch-phrase: “Is there any group I haven’t offended?”

Lenny Bruce watched Mort work, and he made the decision to abandon comic impressions and set routines, and try for a more natural style. Woody Allen, too, got into stand-up after he saw how Mort was able to be observational and confessional. And when George Carlin began appearing in nightclubs, he even included a tribute impersonation of Mort Sahl as part of the act.

There’s a saying in comedy: A comic says funny things, but a comedian says things funny. Mort Sahl says things funny, and you don’t have to be a politics junkie to think so.

The Future Lies Ahead, Verve Records, LP.
Look Forward in Anger: Mort Sahl 1960, Verve Records, LP.
Anyway...Onward, Mercury Records, LP.

 
Mort Sahl
   
 
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