JACKIE MASON: THE ULTIMATE JEW in the Farewell Performance
Although the ideas still make sense, the words are convincing, and the delivery is rat-a-tat-tat, somehow, for this writer, the lights have dimmed and the hilarity of Jackie Mason just doesn't gleam the way it used to.
Attacking such topics as the Hillary-Obama-McCain presidential race, married versus single life, homosexuality, cell phones and I-Pods, as well as the reasons why he loves President Bush, Mason's delivery on his opening night, Wednesday, at the refurbished Wadsworth Theatre in Brentwood, just didn't resonate for me the way it has since his start on the Ed Sullivan show, so many years ago.
Mason is an equal opportunity baiter; choosing both Jews and Gentiles in the audience to insult. But he was off that night. We could blame it on a possible cold (he sounded nasalized); or the fact that he's a thousand years older; or he may just be tired of listening to himself. Somehow, he looks shorter and a bit more rotund.
Michael Newman, posing as Mason's bodyguard, came out first to warm up the audience. When he proceeded to imitate Mason, all I could think of was, "Why are you here?" No one could answer that question.
Mason's delivery remains intact. The rapid fire words come spewing out of that clever, well-rehearsed mind – at times faster than any person can think. His segues occur quicker than grease-lightening and your brain requires absolute attention or you'll miss four jokes. His comments about the opera – a place where they should put beds, not chairs, because its conducive to sleep – ; cell phones and what you pay for and don't pay for add up to a hilarious few minutes; and his justification for prostitution, makes intelligent sense. His observations that Obama should be "light brown not black" and McCain debates with himself was amusing.
The almost full-house audience laughed uproariously so my feeling is audiences will enjoy Mason, yet again, as he takes his ninth, one-man show to New York.
Jackie Mason: The Ultimate Jew, New World Stages / Stage 1, 340 West 50th Street Between 8th and 9th Avenues New York NY 10019. From March 30 – April 5, For show info: www.jackiemason.com