Sunday, October 25, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Jackie Mason: Ready To Rumble at NYCB Theatre At Westbury by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Jackie Mason: Ready To Rumble at NYCB Theatre At Westbury was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Jackie Mason: Ready To Rumble
Written & Performed by Jackie Mason
NYCB Theatre At Westbury
960 Brush Hollow Road
Westbury, New York 11590
Reviewed 10/24/15  

Jackie Mason continues to perform despite his being in his mid-to-late 80s (he was born on June 9th anywhere from 1926 to 1931 depending on the source you consult). He is as sharp and as entertaining as ever and was able to pack the NYCB Theatre At Westbury with 3,000 of his most devoted fans. Who are those fans? They are white, older, Jewish, politically incorrect Republicans with a live-and-let-live libertarian philosophical attitude toward private consensual behavior that causes no harm to others. I spotted no person of color in the audience; 90% were over 65 years of age; 80% were Jewish with the remainder being Gentile; and only 5% of the audience applauded when asked if they planned to vote for Hillary Clinton for President (Jackie guessed twelve people supported her; the remainder supported one of the Republican Presidential candidates). 

Taking these realities into account, Jackie Mason opened his one-man show by stating the audience probably delayed in buying their tickets; at first because they couldn't be certain they'd be alive to see the show, and later because they wanted to make sure he would be alive to do the show. Some waited until the afternoon of the event to commit! Without hesitation, Jackie Mason then jumped directly into a politically controversial issue: same-sex marriage. He said for years the fagalas were in the closet and now, whenever two or more get together, they hold a parade, full of pride, forcing heterosexuals to act all embarrassed trying to explain why they didn't turn out gay. Still, Jackie Mason said he could care less if the fagalas marry. It doesn't affect anyone else's marriage and the sex they have is quite similar. The straight male stands at the edge of the bed about to have sex with his mate while the gay male does the same, except he tells his partner to "turn over." His commitment to limited government and the decriminalization of private consensual behavior (victimless crimes) is why the Libertarian Party of New York once approached him to see if he would accept their gubernatorial nomination. He declined.

Jackie Mason did a spot-on impersonation of Ed Sullivan and Henry Kissinger and did a brilliant rant in the style of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. He blasted Hillary Clinton supporters who continue to back her despite her "lies" and her having accomplished very little as Secretary of State. They tend to give her a pass as long as she continues to tell "old lies" as opposed to "new lies." He admitted there are some people who like Hillary, but he "also recognizes there are a number of people in the world who are a little slow." He took on Donald Trump claiming he owns more signs than buildings. He also questioned why everyone believes Barack Obama is black when he had a white mother. He said we know who his mother is but not his father! He has it "on good authority there were a lot of men in his mother's house the day he was conceived. He could be a Jew with a tan for all we know!"

He brought back a number of "oldies-but-goodies." How Jews are proud to be Jewish but how they'd prefer to look Gentile. How Jews go to the Opera and Ballet as status symbols but end up sleeping through the performances. How Jewish husbands turn to their wives to see if she thinks something is funny before they laugh. How Jews are always thinking of where they are going to have dinner after the show. How Jews always take home food from restaurants "for their dogs" when they don't own a dog. How Jews who sound like him always have a voice on their answering machine that sounds like Winston Churchill. And finally, how Jewish husbands are always being put down by their wives. A Jewish husband could take home 40 million a year and his wife would tell you that if he had listened to her, he'd be taking home twice that!

Jackie Mason told the fictitious story of how a cop stopped him for speeding on the way to the show. The cop said, "Where's the fire!". Jackie responded, "What do you care. You're a cop, not a fireman." The cop said, "I don't like the way you're talking to me." Jackie said, "I make a good living speaking like this. If I spoke like you, I would have been a cop." Finally, the policeman said, "It's people like you who cause accidents." Jackie said, "It is YOU who cause the accidents. Do you have any idea how fast I am going to have to go now to make up for all this lost time?"

He criticized recent lawsuits against tobacco companies for their failure "to admit" cigarettes cause cancer. He said people have known cigarettes cause cancer since the 1960s. At what point will people who decide to smoke be forced to take personal responsibility for that decision? What's next? If you take a knife and plunge it into your heart, will you be able to sue the manufacturer for not telling you the knife can kill you. (Maybe. After all, Courts have held McDonald's responsible for selling coffee that was "too hot," and bartenders and house party hosts have been held liable if their guests chose to drink too much and then harm someone after they leave.) Jackie Mason also questioned why cigarettes are always singled out? He says Sweet & Low warns you right on the package it can cause cancer, and yet people swipe packages of that product any time they can. He also said he is certain "cheesecake has killed more Jews than the Nazis did," and yet no one is making a stink about that. 

Jackie Mason also did a segment on why being rich doesn't necessarily lead to making your life better. For example, he said, "you can swim in the ocean for free but it you can see it from your hotel room, they charge you $1,000.00 more a night." If you eat in a fancy restaurant, you get smaller portions, pay a fortune more, and wait twice as long to get served. And who cares if you hear the motor of the car you are driving in? If they blindfolded you, you wouldn't know the difference between an expensive car and a reasonably priced vehicle. He also spoke about the current campaign to get us to explore Mars. He said, "What if I told you I know a place, but there is nothing there. Would you say, 'Let's go!'?" Regarding prostitution, he mentioned that when a man courts a woman with the intention of having sex with her, everyone profits: the restaurant he took her to, the flower shop, the jewelry shop, etc., but if the girl makes a few bucks off the mutually agreed upon interaction, then the public views it as immoral and "disgusting." He says, "where's the victim if both parties are happy with the exchange. She gets a $100.00 and he gets a sure thing."

Jackie Mason may not be at the top of his game, but he is still very funny. The old Jackie Mason would have added material on Syria, Russia, Putin, Ukraine, the Iranian Nuclear Deal, and on all the Republican and Democratic Presidential Candidates. He would have been commenting on Kim Davis and making fun of all the new immigrants in the most shocking and politically incorrect way. However, that cutting edge material is missing from this show. He told one joke about Puerto Ricans, where he asks if the audience can think of one contribution a Puerto Rican has made to society. Then he quickly adds, "I can't either." He also had one joke about a stereotypical Mexican holding a broom outside a restaurant. He added, "That's not right. It's not always a Mexican holding a broom. Sometimes it's a Jew with a broom handing it to a Mexican." But these jokes were only remnants of the material told by the old Jackie Mason. Perhaps the fear of being blacklisted by the politically correct media and boycotted by special interest groups is now keeping him on the straight and narrow path of sticking only to white-washed older material. While he continues to use the word fagala in his act, there was nary a mention of a schwartze in the entire show. 

Perhaps he is afraid and maybe he is just too tired to continue to write new material, feeling he can coast to making some extra bucks off old fans by performing older material in secondary venues. In my opinion, he needs to write a new show updated with material ripped from the news and the current events section of newspapers. The old show will draw out old fans, but a new show could play on or off Broadway and make Jackie Mason fans out of a whole new generation of people who love to laugh. There is still a place in the world for the unique stylings of Jackie Mason! If you haven't seen Jackie Mason perform or haven't seen him live for a few years, catch one of his upcoming shows, which are listed on his website at   

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