Born on June 9, 1928, in Sheboyan, Wisconsin, his Orthodox Jewish family relocated to NYC when he was a small child. The move put him closer to the Borscht Belt comedy circuit in upstate New York where he would become a comic sensation.
Mason's style was simple: complain about everything, and complain passionately. He came to comedy after a short stint as a rabbi, where he used his sermons to polish his jokes.
A regular on such early TV shows as "The Steve Allen Show" (his first TV appearance, in 1962), "The Dean Martin Show," and "The Gary Moore Show," he graduated to the medium's top series, "The Ed Sullivan Show," though a misunderstanding with the powerful host led to a long ban from its stage.
His first album, "I'm the Greatest Comedian in the World, Only Nobody Knows It Yet" (1962), was a best seller, though his Broadway debut, "A Teaspoon Every Four Hours" (1969), was the opposite — for decades, it held the record for the most previews (97), and then closed after opening night.
Mason had greater successes on the Great White Way later, especially his two-year run with "The World According to Me," which earned a special Tony. He won an Emmy for voicing Rabbi Hyman Krustofski on "The Simpsons" (1991), the first guest actor to win for the iconic series.
Among his movie appearances were parts in "The Jerk" (1979), "History of the World, Part 1" (1981), and "Caddyshack II" (1988).
Mason is survived by his wife, Jyll Rosenfeld, and his daughter from a relationship with Ginger Reiter, comic Sheba Mason.