Comedian Jackie Mason died at a New York hospital Saturday at the age of 93, after being in hospital for more than two weeks. He was a rabbi before turning to comedy. Mason was born Jacob Maza, the son of a rabbi. His three brothers became rabbis. Mason came of age in New York, with brief career turns as an amateur boxer and ordained rabbi before getting into comedy. Mason was a master of the “Borscht Belt” style of standup, leaning heavily on Jewish culture and expressions. Mason started in showbusiness as a social director at a resort in the Catskills. He was the guy who got everybody up to play Simon Says, quiz games or shuffleboard. He told jokes, too. Many younger fans knew Mason best for his long-running association with “The Simpsons.”Mason’s voice appeared in 11 episodes as Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky, the father of Krusty the Clown, until his character died on the show in 2014.
About himself, he once said: “I was so self-conscious, every time football players went into a huddle, I thought they were talking about me.” Mason called himself an observer who watched people and learned. From those observations he said he got his jokes and then tried them out on friends. “I very rarely write anything down. I just think about life a lot and try to put it into phrases that will get a joke,” he said. “I never do a joke that has a point that I don’t believe in. To me, the message and the joke is the same.” He is survived by his wife, the producer Jyll Rosenfeld, and a daughter, Sheba.