By Harvey Tobkes

[This really happened back in January of 2008.]

WalkerOn my daily exercise power walk, I always pass by Angelo’s Italian Restaurant on the beach in Hollywood, Florida. To my shock and great surprise, I saw comedian Jackie Mason talking and emoting to one of his smallest audiences ever, eight people who were seated at one of the outdoor tables on the Boardwalk, and they were all firing questions at him and cracking up with laughter at his replies:

Q. Are the English really as well mannered and polite as they are often portrayed in the movies?

Jackie: If an Englishman gets run down by a truck he apologizes to the truck.

Q. This may seem a bit personal but are you financially in good shape?

Jackie: I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.

Q. My best friend is cheating on his wife. Do you think most men have affairs?

Jackie: Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe.

Q. My 12-year-old grandson is good in math, Do you think I should encourage him to be an accountant?

Jackie: Did you ever hear of a kid playing accountant…even if they wanted to be one?

Q: How is your health? Any problems?

Jackie: It’s no longer a question of staying healthy. It’s a question of finding a sickness you like.

After the conversation died down, I walked up to Jackie and shook his hand, and told him I thought the articles he wrote for the Internet were brilliant. I also said I thought the show he did from Oxford University in the U.K. was one his best, and I mentioned that although the English have a slightly different sense of humor and a slightly different culture, he seemed to have really reached that audience and they absolutely loved him.

Like all comedians who you meet off stage, they are never really off but rather are always on and he was no different. He looked down at the iPhone I had on my belt and he said, “Are you recording this?”

He had some notes written on a piece of paper in his hand and he kept looking at them while talking, so thinking he would appreciate something funny, I said, ‘When you are performing on stage, you do a 2 hour show without notes; here you have to read from a piece of paper.”

That’s when I think he got a little pissed off and told me to take a walk.

So I did. I was doing that anyway!

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