October 26, 2021

RIP: Mort Sahl, legendary comedian, dead at 94.

Director Woody Allen once praised Sahl in his 1994 book, “Woody Allen on Woody Allen: In Conversation With Stig Bjorkman.”

“I would never have been a cabaret comedian at all, if it hadn’t been for him,” Allen wrote, adding that before Sahl, “All these comedians were very, very formula.”

The “Annie Hall” filmmaker continued, “They’d all come out in a tuxedo and would say, ‘Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,’ and there was no sincerity to any of it. And they would do silly little jokes. … They would do golf jokes, because the president played golf. And suddenly, in this small cabaret, this comedian comes along, Mort Sahl.”

Bob Hope, hosting the Academy Awards, once introduced Sahl by saying, “Here he is, the favorite of nuclear physicists everywhere!”

Allen was quoted by biographer Eric Lax as saying, that Sahl “‘was the best thing I ever saw. He was like Charlie Parker in jazz,’ Woody said many years ago. ‘There was a need for a revolution, everybody was ready for the revolution. But some guy had to come along who could perform the revolution and be great. Mort was the one.’”

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