Qns College tried funny business: Suit

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Jackie Mason filed a lawsuit against Queens College last week after he said the school took advantage of his goodwill while trying to fill a hole left in its schedule left by the death of his friend, George Carlin, according to his lawyer.

Prior to his death in June, Carlin was scheduled to perform at the Colden Center at Queens College on Sept. 20. After he died, Mason agreed to fill in for the late comedian and perform his set “The Ultimate Jew” at the discounted price of $50,000, on the condition that tickets only be offered to students, faculty and alumni and cost no more than $40 apiece.

Carlin was a giant on the comedic stage for more than four decades and made his name through abrasive comedy and political commentary that pushed the boundaries of free speech. Carlin was scheduled to perform pieces of his latest HBO stand−up comedy special, “It’s Bad for Ya,” at Queens College, but he died of heart failure on June 22 in California.

“[Mason] was going to dedicate the show to Carlin,” Mason’s attorney, Raoul Felder, said. “But it was on that condition. That was the deal.”

Felder said the comic pulled out of the show after the college allegedly opened sales of the show to the public and began charging as much as $100 per ticket.

Reached for comment, Queens College spokeswoman Maria Matteo said simply: “We do not comment on ongoing legal matters.”

Felder said the lawsuit, filed against the school and promoter Friend Entertainment in Manhattan Supreme Court last week, seeks to collect the $50,000 that Mason would have been paid for performing the show.

“They broke the contract,” he said.

Mason, 72, grew up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and has been a fixture on the comedy circuit for decades. The comic, who won an Emmy for his guest starring role on “The Simpsons,” has most recently been touring the country performing “The Ultimate Jew,” which he debuted earlier this year.

He also recently released a book he co−wrote with Felder dubbed “Schmucks!: Our Favorite Fakes, Frauds, Lowlifes, Liars, the Armed and Dangerous, and Good Guys Gone Bad.”

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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