Born into a theatrical family – Jackie Mason (comedian) and Ginger Reiter (playwright) – Sheba has been performing since the age of two as a stage prop in her mother’s play where she sat in her high chair and drank from her bottle. Eventually the bottle turned into a microphone, and Sheba has not left the stage since. She has appeared in comedy clubs and for events throughout the country. Currently Sheba performs nightly in comedy clubs in Manhattan spouting her unique witticisms, on everything from politics to Grandmas to being single in New York. She stars as her mother in “702 Punchlines & Pregnant: The Jackie Mason Musical” a full cast musical-comedy depicting the tumultuous love affair of her off-beat parents. Check it out at:The Jackie Mason Musical; She also stars as a Transgender Hooker in Mel Schwartz Sleeps with Mae West, a new madcap musical-comedy of errors.
Sheba Mason, the daughter of legendary Jewish comic Jackie Mason, describes her comedic style as a “throwback with a modern twist, a Jewey Mae West.”
As one of three female comedians who performed in the Jewish Comedy Festival show at the Regent Theatre last month in Toronto, Mason disagrees with the common perception that female comics need stick to crude material and “have to go overboard to prove otherwise.” “Female comics,” she says, “joke about politics, family experiences- not just sex.”
Throughout the history of female comedy, “starting with Phyllis Diller or Roseanne (Barr), you had to be bold and really brassy and almost like a man,” Mason told The CJN. “The old-school female comics were loud-mouthed and said what they thought.” She thinks that there was less of a focus on beauty and appearance of the comic. Nowadays there is a more broad inclusion of styles of female comedians and more diverse content to their acts has been made culturally and socially acceptable.
Successful female comedians are no longer a niche or a token in the comedy industry, but have become part of the mainstream, she says. Mason considers internationally known stand-up comedian Amy Schumer as a “pioneer for female comics” and a personal role model. She says Schumer has opened tremendous doors for women in comedy through her barrier-breaking professional success. Schumer was the first female comic to headline Madison Square Garden in June 2016.
In a March 2016 article in the Guardian, high-profile comedian and TV actor Tina Fey said it was a “terrible time for women in comedy,” because she believes male comedians were able to provide weak material and still receive bigger salaries than their female peers.