A strong lineup of good-hearted comics are set to deliver an 80th birthday tribute to Mort Sahl on Thursday at the Wadsworth Theater in Brentwood. Sahl turned 80 on May 11, and sadly, word in comedy circles is that he’s hit some hard times financially. It’s understood that Woody Allen, George Carlin, Dick Cavett, Robin Williams and others have opened their wallets to help out, and the Wadsworth Theater tribute is part of the fund-raising effort for Sahl, who resides in the Valley these days and at http://www.mortsahl.com/. There’s no pension plan for pioneering, politically charged humorists who only did sporadic film and TV work, especially during the past few decades.
Comic Ross Shafer helped instigate Thursday’s tribute at the Wadsworth, with everybody donating their time and services (including the venue). There was talk of trying to turn it into a TV special but as of now there were too many contractual conflicts among the roster of performers (a high-class problem indeed). Larry King is set to emcee, and performers lined up include Shelley Berman, Albert Brooks, Drew Carey, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis, Bill Maher, Keavin Nealon, David Steinberg and Jonathan Winters. Allen and Don Rickles have also contributed kudos on tape, plus there will be special guests, according to helmer Howard Storm, who gave publicist Warren Cowan a hand in getting the word out on the event Friday. Tickets are on sale to the public and can be bought half price at the Wadsworth box office by using the code “Mort 80.”