I saw Jackie Mason in "concert" once with my mother and some elderly relatives. I was enjoying myself until he started making racist jokes about Puerto Ricans (being from the West Coast, I've not only never met a Puerto Rican, I don't even know what the stereotypes about them are supposed to be). At that point I took a look around the concert hall and realized that most of the people in the audience were wearing yarmulkes, black hats, and Linda Richmond hair. That was when I started getting really creeped out. The next creepy moment came when my great-aunt leaped out of her chair and started shrieking about Puerto Ricans along with Jackie. I slunk into my seat and looked for an escape hatch.
Anyway, over the years Jackie's schtick has largely remained the same (Gentiles like beer! Jews like cake!), but he seems to have gotten increasingly political. Needless to say, our views don't seem to match much. In addition to saying delirious things like "the current President has done more for minorities than any President since Johnson" and that "Nobody in America including the Jews themselves has worked harder than Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell to support the state of Israel."
Mason's most recent book, Schmucks (don't be fooled, it's not an autobiography), has a whole "chapter" (two whole pages, and this is with a co-author and who knows how many ghostwriters) devoted to Reform Jews, who the former Orthodox rabbi apparently feels are "getting their noses done and changing their names everyday to appear more Gentile." Yeah, Jackie, because so many people are still changing their names these days. I'm pretty sure most of the name changing was over and done with oh, 80 years ago. But way to use relevant topics.
Jackie's got other fresh observations, too. He notices that Reform Jews are giving their kids weird first names too, like Tiffany, Ashley and Rex, oh the shanda. I'm no fan of a name that conjurs up a Barbie doll, but things could always be worse, Jackie. It's not like Yerucham, Nimrod or Chanania are such prizes. Or, say, Jyll.
Mason continues with the Reform Jews and nose-jobs patter, adding that they also seem to like tanning beds so they can brag about how people "mistake them for Greeks, Italians or other Mediterranean peoples." Yeah, that's clearly the provenance of Reform Jews. That would be news to my olive-skinned great-grandfather from Poland. And the timing on these, wow. Nose job jokes? No one's ever heard one of those before. Where do you get your ideas. Presumably it involves a time machine.
Why so much ire? Oh, no reason. I just came across a semi-recent Video Blog of his from November where he goes after that freshest of targets, France.
Money quote: "The French as a people are just miserable, nauseous, obnoxious, hateful and contemptuous people. That's the perfect description for all the people in France."
Funny, I thought that was the perfect description for Jackie Mason.