“Jackie Mason: Politically Incorrect” catches the comic in top form. In terms of style, he bounds from subject to subject with as much energy and craft as a clown in Cirque du Soleil. In terms of content, especially considering the title, he’s much like Las Vegas: seemingly naughty without stepping on too many toes. Often focused on Jewish life and times — he says other Jews think him “too Jewish”– Mason also captures the absurdities of many different cultures and newsmakers.
In the course of nearly 2 1/2 hours (an hour more than when the show opened on Broadway last year), he touches on such subjects as smoking, safe sex, fashion design, Lorena Bobbitt, U.S. presidents, Jews as basketball players, rodeo riders, welders and many other social and political topics including political correctness.
These days, Mason quips, everyone is so concerned about being politically correct that the only people whom employers can fire without some organization coming down on them are tall, white gentiles. Tall, white gentiles have guilt and a lack of support groups. In fact, he says, employers love hiring tall, white gentiles just to fire them immediately.
Mason creates instant physical caricatures that zing out. His impressions of a Chinese tap dancer, a Jewish hockey player and such people as Henry Kissinger, Edward Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton make him appear much more elastic than one would expect.
While the audience’s laughter came in continuous waves throughout opening night, the topic du jour was clearly the O.J. Simpson trial. “I would never say he’s guilty,” says Mason, “even with blood on his socks, in his car, on his hat, on the ceiling, in his pockets …”
And maybe Detective Mark Fuhrman bought a glove years ago, waiting for O.J. to murder someone. “But I would never say O.J. was guilty.”
Simpson attorney Robert Shapiro, sitting in the audience, took the wisecracks in stride, including Mason’s zinger: “I know who really committed the crime: Robert Shapiro.” Once Mason learned Shapiro was in the audience, he deftly created a few impromptu observations.
While Mason came down hard on Clinton, he did not mention House Speaker Newt Gingrich or any Republicans in Congress. (Are there Jewish Republicans?)
Neil Peter Jampolis’ production design is minimalist with an overwhelming patriotic bent: a bare stage with a blue background emblazoned with white stars. Mason enters to Bruce Springsteen singing “Born in the USA.” That hokiness aside , Mason stands strong in the spotlight.