Monday, 30 November -0001

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: JACKIE MASON

…is an American comedian. He has appeared in several episodes of The Simpsons, winning an Emmy Award for his voice-over work on the show. In 2005 he was chosen as one of the top 50 comedy acts by fellow comedians.

What are you working on at the moment?
You mean besides trying to come up with clever answers to these questions? Actually, I’m trying to understand the outcome of your election, despite all the pollsters’ predictions. If they get it that wrong in the US election we could end up with Kim Kardashian as President.

When are you at your happiest?
Two words: house, full (in that order, although as an occasional poker player, the other way round is good as well).

What is your greatest fear?
I have always had a fear of being tortured for information I don’t possess. The situation these days seems to have made that more likely than ever.

What is your earliest memory?
Reading the Torah with my father, a rabbi and a great teacher.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
Personally I can’t get over myself, but if I had to choose something, I’d say I’m overly modest. I feel that not enough people understand how remarkable I really am – and that’s completely my own fault.

Who has been your greatest influence?
My father: he ingrained in me a love of honesty, principles and values. And salt beef.

What is your most treasured possession?
It’s a toss-up between a sense of humour and cash.

What trait do you most deplore in others?
Anti-Semitism.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My shirts. And that I don’t look so great in Bermuda shorts – it can get pretty hot on stage and they would be a big bonus.

What is your favourite book?
The Old Testament. How To Talk Jewish by Jackie Mason. Anything by Sholem Aleichem, who truly was the Jewish Mark Twain and one of the great writers of all time.

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What is your favourite film?

The Godfather, because, apart from anything else, it’s good to hear someone whose accent is even harder to understand than my own and who is still a hit.

And your favourite piece of music?
Anything by The Drifters or The Platters.

What is your favourite meal?
A hot pastrami sandwich on rye. Is there a better taste than this?

Who would you most like to come to dinner?
Pope Francis, Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth I. But they’d have to arrive at 5.30pm, because I’m in bed by 9 o’clock.

What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?
I have been called so many names it is hard to pick one.

Do you believe in aliens?
Sure I do. But then I believed in Barack Obama, and look what happened.

What is your secret vice?
Chocolate cheesecake.

Do you write thank-you notes?
Send me something fantastic and you’ll find out.

Which phrase do you most overuse?
‘...and I say this with the highest respect’.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A pill to make me live another 50 years.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I am really six feet tall, I look like Brad Pitt and I used to be a terrific boxer (the last part happens to be especially true).

What would you like your epitaph to read?
I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I intend to live forever.

Jackie Mason Live: Ready To Rumble is at the Adelphi Theatre, 409412 Strand, London WC2, from 1 to 6 June: www.livenation.co.uk


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