We are proud to welcome two legendary performers Mort Sahl and Marty Allen who will be celebrating 90 and 95 years respectively. Marty Allen will be joined by his talented wife, Karon Kate Blackwell. Mark Pitta will host the evening!
Before comedy clubs existed, Mort began performing at the hungry i in San Francisco in the early 1950s. He differed from other comedians, appearing in casual clothing rather than a suit, skewering popular politicians such as Eisenhower, Joe McCarthy and JFK. Sahl’s approach was energetic, tangential, and both deep and wide in social and political scopes, inspiring Woody Allen, George Carlin and countless other comedians. A 1955 performance with Dave Brubeck was recorded and released (without Sahl’s permission), selling as “Mort Sahl At Sunset.” That album was recently recognized by the Library of Congress as the first stand-up comedy record album.
“I went back to Mister Kelly’s the other night to catch Mort Sahl again and watched the finest, quickest, most intelligent comic mind in America at work!” The fundamental difference in style between Sahl and other comedians is that he doesn’t do a monologue, he does a tapestry. Almost all comedians do linear routines. The old-fashioned comics string together jokes – that most linear of all literary forms – and the newer comics impose some kind of an outside structure like autobiography, in order to give their essentially unrelated material the appearance of hanging together. Sahl works in the opposite way, seeming to glory in the fact that his material seems incredibly diverse and unorganized. He moves from Muskie to air in your hot dogs to Radical Chic parties to Lenny Bruce to Freud, and then reminds himself he was talking about Muskie, and doubles back, and free-associates off the track in a new direction, and doubles back again, and keeps all of these subjects going for ten minutes at a time and then snatches a line out of thin air that somehow, miraculously, gathers everything together into one penultimate vision of America. This style cannot be imitated because it’s more of a personal revelation than it is a method. It is probably the most complex verbal style yet produced by an American humorist, and in the way it reflects the moment-to-moment functioning of a restless mind, it is the spoken equivalent of some of William Faulkner’s prose.
Marty Allen is living proof that talent is ageless. The self-proclaimed “love child” of Phyllis Diller and Jackie Mason wastes no time in getting an audience laughing to the point of tears. He is one of the most versatile performers in show business. He has worked solo as a comedy headliner in nightclubs and as a dramatic actor in television roles. Marty’s friendly Hello Dere greeting is known and imitated by fans throughout the world.
KARON KATE BLACKWELL
Karon was born and raised near Ellisville, Mississippi. As a vocalist, she can glide effortlessly from country to rhythm and blues and gospel to a ballad by Irving Berlin or the Gershwins. As a musician, she can pound out a rock `n’ roll song on the piano Jerry Lee Lewis-style or take an old-fashioned ragtime tune and really make it swing. Many of the songs she sings are her own compositions. Karon’s career began in nightclubs and showrooms throughout the country, opening for the likes of Wayne Newton in Las Vegas and Burl Ives in Reno. Karon’s television credits include The Tonight Show, The Regis Phi/bin Show, and Hour Magazine. When Karon and Marty met in the mid 80s, the two began performing together, combining Karon’s music and Marty’s comedy.
When Karon is on stage, there is never a dull moment. If all the energy that Karon Kate pours into her performance would be harnessed, the lights of Las Vegas and Atlantic City could run on that energy for a million years.