The world just got a little less funny as comedian Jackie Mason has died. Mason, the controversial comedian who was known for his politically incorrect humor, made a name for himself through a series of one-man shows on Broadway to great success, though he also had a recurring voice role on The Simpsons. The New York Times reports that Mason died in a Manhattan hospital on Saturday, per his longtime friend Raoul Felder. He was 93.
Mason was born Yacov Moshe Maza on June 9, 1928, to a long line of rabbis. He later became a rabbi himself and led congregations whereupon he noticed gentiles coming in just to hear his jokes in the sermons. Following his father's death, Mason resigned from his job as a rabbit to focus on his comedy work. Though his act was considered too controversial for some venues, Mason was able to pick up spots on TV programs like The Steve Allen Show, The Tonight Show, and The Ed Sullivan Show, introducing him to mainstream audiences.
Starting in 1986, Mason did a two-year run on Broadway of his one-man show The World According to Me to great acclaim. It won a Special Tony Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, an Ace Award, an Emmy Award, and a Grammy nomination. He later won another Emmy for outstanding writing for Jackie Mason on Broadway along with an Ace Award. Mason went on to develop many more acclaimed one-man comedy shows in subsequent years and had even taken to posting video blog entries on YouTube.
While he's best known for his comedy, Mason did make sporadic acting appearances over the years. He provided the voice of Krusty the Clown's father on The Simpsons, starting with the episode "Like Father, Like Clown" in 1991. The character is a rabbi who has a strained relationship with Krusty as he doesn't approve of his son becoming a clown. Mason's work on the episode won him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, making him the first Simpsons guest star to win an Emmy for his role.
Rabbi Krustofski was later killed off in the 2014 episode "Clown in the Dumps" which was preceded by a marketing campaign promoting the death of one of the show's characters. Though Rabbi Krustofski died, Mason continued to voice the character in further episodes of The Simpsons, finally appearing in the 2019 episode "Woo-Hoo Dunnit?" He overall appeared in ten episodes of the series over the span of about three decades.
His other television acting credits include The Fairly OddParents, 30 Rock, and Chicken Soup. He also had roles in movies like The Jerk, Caddyshack II, and Stiffs. The comedian also played himself in the courtroom dramedy One Angry Man in 2010. In 2011, Mason starred in the comedy Goldberg P.I. as a Miami private detective. Meanwhile, Mason also published the autobiography Jackie, Oy! In 1988 which was co-written with Ken Gross.