Stand-up comedian Mort Sahl dies at 94

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Mort Sahl credit:Bang Showbiz
Mort Sahl credit:Bang Showbiz

Mort Sahl has died at the age of 94.

The stand-up comedian - whose distinct style of humour defined political satire for a generation - passed away on Tuesday (26.10.21) in Mill Valley, California.

The news has been confirmed to the New York Times newspaper by his friend, Lucy Mercer.

Sahl started his comedy career in 1950s and quickly rose to prominence after performing in clubs in California, where he entertained audiences with his monologues about politics and social issues.

He was eventually given the nickname Rebel Without a Pause, because of his quick wit and rapid-fire monologues.

The stand-up star was widely regarded as one of the most important and influential comedians of his generation, earning praise from the likes of Woody Allen.

The comedian-turned-director previously said: "He was the best thing I ever saw. He totally restructured comedy. He changed the rhythm of the jokes."

'At Sunset' - Sahl's 1955 album - is widely acknowledged as the first recording of modern stand-up comedy.

Sahl's star rose even further in 1959, when he co-hosted the Academy Awards and the inaugural Grammy Awards ceremony.

And the following year, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine, underlining his status as one of the most impactful comedians of the era.

Sahl was even popular with a number of US Presidents, including John F Kennedy, who asked him to write his jokes for campaign speeches.

However, Sahl's career took a dramatic downturn after Kennedy's death in 1963.

The stand-up star alienated a section of his audience when he repeatedly discussed the Warren Report, which investigated the assassination of the President.

Despite this, Sahl managed to re-establish his career and reputation during the 1970s, and his resurgence continued over the following decades.

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