The First Non-Musician to Win a Grammy

Mort Sahl at Beverly Hills Public Library

“The streets are safer, thanks to Chief Bratton.” (Laughter.) “He looks like he has authorization from Homeland Security, or Fatherland Security.”

Mort Sahl started in libraries as a poor kid living near Sunset & Figueroa. Six books on his father’s card, and six books on his own, “living in dreams.” Now he lives (since 1960) just a few miles away in Beverly Hills: “remote back then—Indian country—Jeff Chandler next door—two movie theaters, two bookstores, two pharmacies—if you got drunk playing pool at The Candy Store, the cops would drive you home,” etc.

“Today, it’s a nice place to live if you’re shopping—that’s the Rodeo-Christian ethic.”

“There’s no arguing with Johnson,” says Goldsmith ruefully or exultantly, “for if his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it.”

“If you have the opportunity to be born again,” Sahl quotes George Bush, Sr. as saying, “why would you come back as Jimmy Carter?”

“Rock and roll” (quoting Woody Herman) “isn’t as bad as it sounds.”

George Bush, Jr. was “a real anklebiter” while working on his father’s “loyalty squad” in the 1992 election. Sahl is at dinner with the President (Jr.) and Billy Graham. The President says we are at “perpetual war—I don’t like it any more than you do,” Sahl pauses here, “but that’s what you elected me for,” and here Sahl essays his humorous rejoinder, “WE DIDN’T ELECT YOU THAT MUCH!”

Governor Moonbeam? “Gray Davis is Governor Lowbeam! The Light That Failed!"

“I bought the Enron sign on eBay this morning, no kidding.”

“Not a state of men—certainly not.”

“So many are pious without being religious, Sen. Lieberman,” etc.

The Beverly Hills Public Library has entirely remodeled to look like someone’s tile bathroom, but the books are still the same.

Sahl and George Shearing are on the colorcast with Tom Snyder. “How do you find middle C?” “It’s right under the B in Baldwin.”