Jackie Mason, the Borscht Belt comic who started his career as a rabbi but eventually achieved great fame as a comedian, passed away at the age of 93. Mason had a career of highs and lows, including being banned from The Ed Sullivan Show for allegedly giving the host his middle finger, yet ultimately appearing on Broadway multiple times, winning a Tony and an Emmy award, and doing the voice of Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky, father of Krusty the Clown on The Simpsons. Controversy often swirled around Mason, who was criticized for referring to New York Mayor David Dinkens with a derogatory Yiddish word, for which he apologized, though he used the same word later about President Barack Obama. Mason also called for the expulsion of all Palestinians from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and he was an admirer of Rabbi Meir Kahane and also of Donald Trump. In the 1970’s, Mason had an affair with Ginger Reiter, leading to the birth of a daughter whom Mason denied was his. Ultimately a paternity lawsuit led to his providing child support, though he had little to do with his daughter, Sheba Mason. Which of the following is true about Jackie Mason’s relationship with Ginger Reiter and Sheba Mason?
Jackie Mason by Carl Lender is licensed under CC BY 2.0
A. Ginger Reiter met Jackie Mason in 1977 when he performed at a restaurant in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida called Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House.
B. During the time that Ginger Reiter and Jackie Mason were dating, Reiter said, “He would leave some of his suits and ties in my closet. But little did I know that there were women all over Miami Beach with his suits and ties in their closets.” Reiter later introduced those suits and ties as evidence in her paternity suit against Mason.
C. Ginger Reiter had trained as a teacher of hearing impaired, but later gave up that career and became a writer, performer and producer. Her first show, Oh, Jackie, Oh, premiered in 1983, about her relationship with Mason before their daughter was born. Jackie Mason saw the first version of the show Oh, Jackie, Oh at a Florida synagogue, and gave it the following review, according to Reiter: “I don’t understand why you think this is so interesting. A man and woman, they go out. They go to an early bird special. What’s so interesting about it?”
D. Ginger Reiter’s first show, Oh, Jackie, Oh, was revived and rewritten more than once, and ultimately ran off-Broadway in 2014 with a new title, 702 Punchlines & Pregnant: The Jackie Mason Musical, with songs including Ode To The Early Bird Special and I Never Met This Yente. Reiter said the 702 in the show title referenced “the exact number of times that I was with Jackie.”
E. Though Mason had little to do with his daughter Sheba, a comedian and actor, he did once run into her in Manhattan, where he complained about a joke she had made in her stand-up comedy act, where she said: “Sometimes I wish a better-looking comedian was my father, like Woody Allen or Rosie O’Donnell.”
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