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A CurtainUp Review
Jackie Mason: The Ultimate Jew
By Elyse Sommer
The "ultimate Jew" continues in the politically incorrect vein that's his strongest suit for about forty minutes. Though he paces the stage a bit less frenetically these days and provides less of the caricatures underscored with robotic facial and body movements, he proves that he can still do it with a quite funny spin on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also does a rapper riff. The less said about that, the better
Once the political segment is finished, Mason recycles the material from his previous Broadway outings (most of which we've reviewed) that comprise the red, white and blue stage design of the current show. It's in a smaller Off-Broadway venue than past shows, which begs a paraphrase pf Mason's question about $4000 call girls: Can you expect a $41 ticket to buy as many laughs as a $90 Broadway ticket? ($41 seems more than sufficient). At any rate, Mason believes in the tried and true principle and applies it once again even to the patriotic color scheme and the bio that epitomizes his super-sized ego. So, besides politics, expect insults aimed at those sitting in the front row, cell phones and the differences between Jews and Gentiles. The all-inclusive ethnic insults include Indian taxi drivers though there's also an almost impassioned defense of undocumented Mexicans whose restaurant owning bosses he would send to Mexico in their place. If there's anything that's new here, it's that Mason seems to rely more heavily than previously on vulgarisms which somehow makes the insult humor more mean-spirited.
Actually, for many in the current audience the recycled material may not be all that old-hat. Though fortuitously timed in terms of current headline material to work with, this show it opens when most of Mason's core audience —older Jewish suburbanites who live dangerously by flouting dietary guidelines for cholesterol awareness — has left New York for Florida, though he may catch them for the latter part of the run.
Depending on whether you've seen Mason before or not, Jackie Mason, the Ultimate Jew, maybe your first or last chance to visit this controversial but popular New York theater staple since he's declared it to be his final solo. On the other hand, don't be surprised if this is a Frank Sinatra type of final show. After all as long as public figures continue to misbehave, their peccadillos are likely to be too tempting for Mason to resist another farewell.
Reviews of Other Mason Shows:
Jackie Mason Freshly Squeezed 2005
1999 Much Ado About Everything
Jackie Mason's Laughing Room Only 2003
Prune Danish/Mason, Jackie 2002
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
The Little Mermaid
Shrek The Musical
The Playbill Broadway YearBook
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide