Well-known US comedian and political satirist Mort Sahl has passed away on 26-October, Tuesday in Mill Valley, California. He was 94. The news was confirmed by his friend and she did not provide more details regarding the cause of death.
Mort Sahl shook up the world of comedy world in the 1950s and 1960s with a critical look at American life and politics. Sahl skewered many US presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to Donald Trump.
He was considered by many as the father of modern political satire and influenced other comedians like George Carlin, Woody Allen, and Jonathan Winters.
Popular Standup Comedian and Satirist Mort Sahl Dies at 94
Harry Shearer, an American actor cum comedian took to Twitter and shared his condolence message for the late standup comedian by writing, “RIP Mort Sahl. He just invented modern American political satire, is all. Was still doing great stand ups on Periscope until very recently. And while he was best known for stinging wit, he was always an expert joke writer.”
RIP Mort Sahl. He just invented modern American political satire, is all. Was still doing great stand ups on Periscope until very recently. And while he was best known for stinging wit, he was always an expert joke writer.
— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) October 26, 2021
Morton Lyon Sahl was born in the year 1927 in Montreal and grew up in Los Angeles. He completed his graduation from the University of Southern California. He decided to pursue his career in comedy and moved to the San Francisco area. His first stand-up comedy album “Mort Sahl at Sunset” was released in the year 1955 and later in 1958, he had a Broadway show.
Sahl became very popular in America in just a few years and was featured on the Time magazine cover page as “Will Rogers with fangs”. No other comedian had ever been so honored by Time magazine. He used to be very informally on the stage, dressed in V-neck sweaters. He was more irreverent, more intellectual, more hip compared to his coat-and-tie contemporaries.
Allen, the filmmaker, and comedian was quoted as saying in his book about Sahl, “It wasn’t that he did political comedy – as everyone keeps insisting. It was that he had genuine insights. He made the country receptive to a kind of comedy it wasn’t used to hearing. He made the country listen to jokes that required them to think.”
In an interview given to New York Times in 2004, Sahl characterized himself as a populist, a Puritan, a dreamer, and a “disturber.”
He spared neither the Democrats nor the Republicans in his comedy shows. He once said, “(John) Kennedy is trying to buy the country and (Richard) Nixon is trying to sell it.”
He mocked former US President George H.W. Bush as, “God bless George Bush – long may he waver,” and after a few years used the same line for Bill Clinton.
Many comedians and comedy show producers shared their condolence messages and paid tribute to Mort Sahl on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
#MortSahl (1927-2021) was not only the most influential standup comic in the history of the medium, he remained, pound-for-pound, the funniest, most innovative comedian of them all, throughout his entire career. He was also a good friend. RIP, Pal. pic.twitter.com/VhH86SSaMX
— Robert B. Weide (@BobWeide) October 26, 2021
— Alan Zweibel (@AlanZweibel) October 26, 2021
All his four marriages ended in divorce. He has no immediate surviving members from his family as his only son passed away in 1996.