Interview: Jackie Mason talks comedy, being opinionated & returning to London

Comedian Jackie Mason is returning to London this summer, as he brings his Ready to Rumble show to the Adelphi Theatre.

Three years after his then-farewell show, it seems the US comic just can’t keep away from the UK after all. Now, he’s back with a new routine and a hilarious teaser video to boot.

We caught up with the renowned comic to find out how he’s been preparing for the shows, his thoughts on today’s comedy scene and why he’s happy to be politically incorrect. Read the full interview below…

Hi Jackie, you’re returning to the UK this June, how did plans for the shows come about?

“They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, and besides, I was still fit and healthy (even though I thought I would have passed away by now) and so I said to myself ‘Why not? Europe is still in crisis and who better to lift them out of it than an old Jew?’”

Is the Adelphi a favourite theatre of yours in London?

“I really don’t have a favourite because they are all so fantastic. In fact, London’s theatres are the best in the world; incidentally, I say that wherever I go, but in this case I mean it (I also say that wherever I go).”

How long have you been planning the shows?

“I have been doing workshops for the past four months and studying the British press, plus I’ve increased my intake of salt beef. In case you’re wondering, this is a diet I recommend to any aspiring comic. In fact, I recommend it to anyone at all; of course you won’t lose weight, but you’ll certainly enjoy trying.”

Judging by your promo videos, you’ve been doing some serious warming up, too – are you feeling fighting fit before the tour?

“I am very fit but not fighting. Although I’ll be honest, at my age, it’s a fight just to get up in the morning, but by 19:30 I’m ready for action.”

So what can audiences expect from the Ready to Rumble shows?

“A lot of fantastic new material, especially because you will have just had an election and we in America are about to have one. The characters who are lining up to be President are a comic’s dream, even if with some of them you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

And what inspired the Ready to Rumble title itself?

“Contrary to what you might think, Ready to Rumble is not a comment on my digestive system. It means that I feel free to express myself, to defend myself, to have have fun while I’m doing it.”

How has the comedy circuit changed since you last toured, and even since you first started out?

“It is in danger of becoming too politically correct, which is not a good thing for comedy. Throughout history, comics, fools, jesters – whatever you want to call them – have always challenged the status quo, said the unsayable and kicked against the pr**ks. It’s our job and our responsibility, and what’s more, it pays the bills.”

Any up and coming comedians your audiences should check out?

“Compared to me, no one. Seriously though, go to any comedy club or improv joint and you’re guaranteed to see at least one terrific comic, maybe a future star; we all started out that way.”

You’re not known as someone who shies away from being opinionated, do you think comedy can be an outlet for people to struggle to be just as open?

“It’s true that I am known as opinionated and politically incorrect but this is something I wear as a badge of honor; because I’m just being honest and if anyone gets offended, chances are they’re stupid, and I say this with the highest respect.”

Jackie Mason brings his Ready to Rumble show to London’s Adelphi between 1 – 6 June, book now at