HEARTLAND by Mort Sahl


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The dazzling descent of Mort Sahl, progenitor of Shelley Berman and Woody Allen, big brother of Lenny Bruce, barbed satirist of the Eisenhower years, is the subject of this bitter, disjointed monologue which also takes in the moral turpitude of America and Sahl's four-year involvement with D.A. Jim Garrison's investigation of the J.F.K. assassination--which Sahl believes, destroyed him. These days he sounds like the prophet Isaiah, pointing the accusing finger at all the liberals who once lionized him; telling tales out of school about Paul Newman, Hugh Hefner, and Gloria Steinem and passing on what Hubert Humphrey once said to him in the men's room at the hungry i back in the days when Sahl was the only sick intellectual leftist stand-up comic in sight. He became big. Very big. There was a photo in Time magazine just before the 1960 election: ""Jack Kennedy, Belafonte and me. It's nice to be remembered."" His misogyny is showing here, and his disappointment and contempt for the many people who lack his acuity of vision. And even though he's addressing the heartland now, he's still disturbing despite the heavy encumbrance of a terrible new mission: ""I think Jack Kennedy cries from his grave for justice."" Sahl's afraid he's talking to a nation of eunuchs and he can't keep a sour note out of his voice. There's a lot that's funny in Heartland, and all of it hurts.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1976
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich