Mort Sahl collection

Selected interviews, appearances and stand-up shows
from archive.org

Morton Lyon Sahl (May 11, 1927 – October 26, 2021) was a Canadian-born American comedian, actor, and social satirist, considered the first modern comedian in the United States since Will Rogers. Sahl pioneered a style of social satire that pokes fun at political and current event topics using improvised monologues and only a newspaper as a prop.

Sahl spent his early years in Los Angeles and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he made his professional stage debut at the hungry i nightclub in 1953. His popularity grew quickly, and after a year at the club he traveled the country doing shows at established nightclubs, theaters, and college campuses. In 1960 he became the first comedian to have a cover story written about him by Time magazine. He appeared on various television shows, played a number of film roles, and performed a one-man show on Broadway.

Television host Steve Allen said that Sahl was "the only real political philosopher we have in modern comedy". His social satire performances broke new ground in live entertainment, as a stand-up comic talking about the real world of politics at that time was considered "revolutionary". It inspired many later comics to become stage comedians, including Lenny Bruce, Jonathan Winters, George Carlin, and Woody Allen. Allen credits Sahl's new style of humor with "opening up vistas for people like me".

Numerous politicians became his fans, with John F. Kennedy asking him to write his jokes for campaign speeches, though Sahl later turned his barbs at the president. After Kennedy's assassination in 1963, Sahl focused on the Warren Report's inaccuracies and conclusions, and spoke about it often during his shows. This alienated much of his audience and led to a decline in his popularity for the remainder of the 1960s. By the 1970s, his shows and popularity staged a partial comeback that continued over the ensuing decades. A biography of Sahl, Last Man Standing, by James Curtis, was released in 2017.

  1. At Sunset, Standup Comedy Album 1955 (49.9Mb)
  2. 1959 Interview in Canada about Comedy, Russia, Cars (3.1Mb)
  3. 1960 Interview on Satire Politics Society Non-Conformity (33.6Mb)
  4. 1960 Standup at City College (52.3Mb)
  5. The New Frontier JFK Stand-up Comedy 1961 Album (43Mb)
  6. Mort Sahl Talks, 11-22-63 (55Mb)
  7. 1967 Interview - JFK, Vietnam, Fascism, Society, Blacklisting, Youth, Liberal Sell-Outs (33.6Mb)
  8. Anyway Onward 1967: LBJ, Vietnam, Kennedy (32Mb)
  9. Jane Fonda and Mort Sahl on Dick Cavett 1970 (26.9Mb)
  10. Jim Garrison, Bob Dornan, Mort Sahl on the Steve Allen Show, 1971 (41Mb)
  11. 1972 Sing A Song Of Watergage Richard Nixon Standup Comedy (42.9Mb)
  12. 1980s Interview on Ronald Reagan Iran Contra comedy (25.3Mb)
  13. Mort Sahl and David Feldman - JFK RFK 911 (5.2Mb)
  14. Mort Sahl interview w Elliot Mintz on Blacklist Vietnam JFK etc (52.8Mb)
  15. Mort Sahl on JFK MLK RFK and Jim Garrison - The Cause is Humanity (46.8Mb)
  16. Tom Brokaw interview with Mort Sahl, JFK's personality and mind (3.2Mb)
  17. The Kennedy Years (25.1Mb)
  18. Media is Full of CIA and FBI (21.1Mb)

MP3 files hosted by archive.org.