Mort Sahl dead: Legendary comedian Mort Sahl dies aged 94

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Mort Sahl has died of old age at the age of 94 (Picture: Getty Images)

Trailblazing comedian Mort Sahl has died at the age of 94.

The star, who was best known for his political comedy and is credited by many for being the inspiration of modern stand-up comedy, died of old age, a friend told AP.

Sahl was known for reinventing modern comedy in the 1950s, delivering social commentary and taking aim at politicians.

He began his comedy career in the mid-50s and recorded his 1955 performance Mort Sahl At Sunset, which was released a few years later.

It was later cited as the first stand-up album.

Sahl’s fame began to skyrocket when he hosted the first Grammy Awards in 1959 and then the Academy Awards the same year.

A year later, he was the first comedian to be featured on Time Magazine.

The comedian was also a staple on talk shows, and turned his hand to acting too, featuring in films like All the Young Men, Johnny Cool, and Don’t Make Waves.

Sahl’s final screen credit was in 2013, with his friend Jerry Lewis in 2013’s Max Rose.

Tributes have poured in for the late star, with many recognising his huge influence on comedy.

Sahl started his stand-up career in the 1950a (Picture: Getty Images)

Actor Albert Brooks wrote: ‘R.I.P. Mort Sahl. Most young people have no idea who he was but he was one the few comedians who yanked comedy out of vaudeville type humor into the modern age. One of the very first to just talk to the audience. We’ll miss you Mort.’

Actor Harry Shearer added: ‘RIP Mort Sahl. He just invented modern American political satire, is all. Was still doing great stand ups on Periscope until very recently. And while he was best known for stinging wit, he was always an expert joke writer.’

Curb Your Enthusiasm director Robert B Weide said: ‘#MortSahl was not only the most influential standup comic in the history of the medium, he remained, pound-for-pound, the funniest, most innovative comedian of them all, throughout his entire career. He was also a good friend. RIP, Pal.’

Meanwhile, original Saturday Night Live cast member Laraine Newman said: ‘One of the many times I’ve bombed onstage was when Mort Sahl was there. Afterwards he said to me “they (the audience) just didn’t want to listen.” Whether he meant it or was just trying to soften the blow I never forgot that and was always so grateful. RIP Mr. Sahl.’


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