Mort Sahl, Groundbreaking Political Comedy Icon, Dead at 94

Mort Sahl
CBS via Getty Images

Mort Sahl, the groundbreaking political commentator and comedian, has died. He was 94.

Sahl died at his home in Mill Valley, California, on Tuesday, the New York Times reports.

Sahl is widely regarded as one of the originators of modern stand-up comedy, and influenced many generations of comedy icons with his politically charged social commentary that took aim at government and authority figures.

Numerous comedy titans -- including George Carlin, Lenny Bruce and many others -- were inspired by Sahl to get behind a mic, and credit him with motivating and shaping their own styles of comedy.

Sahl also broke ground when it came to live events and recordings. He was the first stand-up to record a comedy album, the first comedian to ever win a GRAMMY -- he also served as the host for the inaugural GRAMMY Awards ceremony -- and was the first comic to ever appear on the cover of Time magazine.

While his popularity declined in the mid-to-late '60s, Sahl enjoyed a resurgence throughout the '70s, and continued performing into his final years.

In the wake of Sahl's death, fellow comic David Steinberg paid tribute in a statement to ET, sharing, "Mort was a hero to all of us who used current events as raw material.  He never backed down from controversy.  He was a mentor and a friend. I will miss him terribly."

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