Mort Sahl, satirist who revolutionized stand-up comedy, dead at 94 | CBC News
Oct 27, 2021 1 min, 30 secs
Satirist Mort Sahl, who helped revolutionize stand-up comedy during the Cold War with his running commentary on politicians and current events and became a favourite of a new, restive generation of Americans, died Tuesday.

During an era when many comedians dressed in tuxedos and told mother-in-law jokes, Sahl faced his audiences in the '50s and '60s wearing slacks, a sweater and an unbuttoned collar and carrying a rolled-up newspaper on which he had pasted notes for his act.

Morton Lyon Sahl was born on May 11, 1927, in Montreal, to a Canadian mother and a New York father who managed a tobacco shop.

Sahl took pride in having mocked every president from Dwight Eisenhower to Donald Trump, although he acknowledged he privately admired Democrat John F.

Bush, he observed: "He's born again, you know.

Which would raise the inevitable question: If you were given the unusual opportunity to be born again, why would you come back as George Bush?".

WATCH | Sahl performs on CBC-TV's Parade in 1959:.

A new generation of comedians, including Bill Cosby, George Carlin and the team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, was inspired by Sahl.

"I don't have the image of myself as a comedian," Sahl himself said.

Fearing he would seem to be joining the establishment, Sahl cracked: "We've just lost the college crowd; all across the country they're yelling, 'Sellout!"'.

In the 1980s he frequently ridiculed his friend Reagan, but he said the president was never offended.

Sahl thought so highly of Kennedy, however, that he even wrote jokes for him on the campaign trail. .

When Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Sahl was devastated and the tragedy foreshadowed a decline in the comedian's fortunes that lasted for years.

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