Harry Shearer, Albert Brooks Mourn Legendary Stand Up Comedian Mort Sahl

Comedians and fans paid tribute to Mort Sahl after the legendary humorist died at the age of 94 on Tuesday.

Sahl, a highly influential figure in American satire and stand-up comedy, passed away at his home in the San Francisco, California suburb of Mill Valley. Sahl's friend Lucy Mercer said that he died "peacefully" due to "old age," according to The Associated Press. Until the COVID-19 pandemic emerged last year, he had continued to perform live comedy regularly despite his old age.

Sahl was born on May 11, 1927 to a Canadian mother and an American father in Montreal, Canada. At a young age, he moved with his family to the U.S., where he spent most of his life and made his name in comedy during the 1950s. Sahl influenced a generation of successful comedians who were highly influential in their own right, such as Lenny Bruce and George Carlin.

"R.I.P. Mort Sahl," comedian and filmmaker Albert Brooks tweeted. "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.

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.

— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) October 26, 2021

"One of the many times I've bombed onstage was when Mort Sahl was there," tweeted comedian Laraine Newman, one of the original Saturday Night Live cast members. "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."

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.

— Laraine Newman (@larainenewman) October 26, 2021

"RIP Mort Sahl," comedian Harry Shearer, star of The Simpsons, tweeted. "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."

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.

— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) October 26, 2021

"The iconic Mort Sahl has passed," comedian Richard Lewis tweeted alongside a photo of Sahl with comedians including Shearer, the late Carlin and Jonathan Winters. "Many of his legendary pals in this photo have passed on as well. This was at an event to salute Mort. I'll miss that red sweater. I loved you pal. RIP #mortsahl"

The iconic Mort Sahl has passed. Many of his legendary pals in this photo have passed on as well. This was at an event to salute Mort.
I’ll miss that red sweater. I loved you pal.
RIP #mortsahl https://t.co/NYSplAFp13

— Richard Lewis (@TheRichardLewis) October 26, 2021

"I sat with Mort Sahl at the Throckmorton theatre in Mill Valley and chatted a couple of times," tweeted comedian John Wing. "Each time was a particular thrill. That kind of intellect is remarkable and leaves you shiny. RIP, comedian."

I sat with Mort Sahl at the Throckmorton theatre in Mill Valley and chatted a couple of times. Each time was a particular thrill. That kind of intellect is remarkable and leaves you shiny. RIP, comedian.

— John Wing (@JohnWing5) October 26, 2021

"Everyone in the comedy world, whether they realize it or not, owes a debt of gratitude to Mort Sahl," comedy writer Alan Zweibel tweeted. "R.I.P. #MortSahl"

Everyone in the comedy world, whether they realize it or not, owes a debt of gratitude to Mort Sahl. R.I.P. #MortSahl https://t.co/oSY9kocdyw

— Alan Zweibel (@AlanZweibel) October 26, 2021

"In June 2019, I traveled to Northern California to interview Mort Sahl, one of the architects of modern stand up comedy," writer and producer Dan Pasternak tweeted alongside a video clip. "He was physically frail and basically blind, but his mind and his wit were as sharp as ever."

In June 2019, I traveled to Northern California to interview Mort Sahl, one of the architects of modern stand up comedy. He was physically frail and basically blind, but his mind and his wit were as sharp as ever. Here’s a short clip. RIP. https://t.co/LSQZwrPREq

— Dan Pasternack (@DanPasternack) October 26, 2021

"Never knew Mort Sahl was Canadian, though perhaps that explains why we listened to his stand-up in my house," tweeted Sarah Weinman, a New York City-based writer from Canada. "His influence was mighty, even if his routines don't have the same hold they once did."

Never knew Mort Sahl was Canadian, though perhaps that explains why we listened to his stand-up in my house. His influence was mighty, even if his routines don't have the same hold they once did. https://t.co/oFyikmQQcl

— Sarah Weinman (@sarahw) October 26, 2021
Mort Sahl Comedian Comedy Stand-Up Satire Tributes
Comedian Mort Sahl died at the age of 94 on Tuesday. Sahl is pictured on stage at an unspecified location on August 7, 2001. Jeff Kravitz/Getty