Psychiatrists, Eartha Kitt, and Adultery

Jackie Mason rarely fails to make me laugh, and that’s been true for over fifty years. Enormously quick-witted and fast on his feet, he’s the Muhammed Ali of comedy, dancing and ducking until he delivers a knockout punch of humor. Here he is on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, on what used to be a favorite show, back in the day, of political liberals. In retrospect, his appearance on that show was somewhat ironic, given how Mason’s politics turned so right-wing as he got older. But there is no denying that no matter what his politics, Jackie Mason is a brilliant comedian. Watch as he takes a premise and follows through with relentless logic, wringing every drop of comedy from it.

2 thoughts on “Psychiatrists, Eartha Kitt, and Adultery

  1. Does the line about Eartha Kitt and the segue into the subject of sex mean that Mason bought into the mudslinging about Kitt that followed the Lyndon Johnson luncheon? (Which may be another way of asking if this routine is pre- or post-luncheon party scandal.)

    • The routine was definitely post-luncheon scandal. The famous incident at a White House luncheon where Kitt confronted Lady Bird Johnson about Vietnam and conditions in the ghetto happened in January 1968; this Jackie Mason appearance on the Smothers Brothers was in March 1969. Johnson had ordered the CIA to investigate Kitt after the incident (and smear and discredit her, of course), and part of the report leaked to the press was that she was a “sadistic nymphomaniac.”

      I don’t think this necessarily meant that Mason “bought into” the truth of these comments; more likely, he was just using the culturally understood reference to stress the absurdity of him being confused with the sultry Eartha Kitt. Interestingly, during that same set for The Smothers Brothers Show, Mason did some pointed anti-Vietnam War jokes.

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