Danny Lobell with George Carlin and Jackie Mason. Danny Lobell with George Carlin and Jackie Mason. Danny Lobell with George Carlin and Jackie Mason. (Photo: Courtesy of Danny Lobell)

What it's like to be friends with Jackie Mason and George Carlin

Comedian Danny Lobell accidentally wandered into a friendship with some of history's most legendary comedians.

Los Angeles comedian Danny Lobell has performed around the world, as well as on TedX, This American Life and at the Laugh Factory. He hosts two podcasts, where he brings in guests like Bill Burr, Lewis Black, Carl Reiner, Shecky Greene, Aisha Tyler, Artie Lange, Reggie Watts, Janeane Garofalo and Gilbert Gottfried. (He also used to clean shark tanks in the Israeli city of Eilat.)

You may not have heard of Lobell, but Jackie Mason and George Carlin have. Lobell kicked off his comedy career by interviewing Mason for his college podcast years ago, and the experience led to a friendship with some of history's most legendary comics.

"Nobody even knew what a podcast was," Lobell told From the Grapevine. "I told him it was a college radio show."

Danny Lobell interviewing American comedian Lewis Black for his podcastComedian Danny Lobell interviewed a number of comics for his podcasts, including comedian Lewis Black. (Photo: Courtesy of Danny Lobell)

Jackie Mason amazingly showed up to this college podcast. After the show, Mason called Lobell up and told him to be at Au Bon Pain at exactly 4:45 p.m. Lobell came, confused.

"Do you know why I had you meet me here?" Mason asked Lobell.

"No."

"At precisely 5 p.m., all the pastries from the first half of the day go on discount, and they sell for a quarter," Mason told Lobell. "But I can’t be seen doing this because I'm an international sensation."

Mason handed Lobell some change.

"Here's 50 cents," said Mason. "Go get us some chocolate croissants."

Those chocolate croissants must have been pretty amazing, because the two made a habit of hanging out at Au Bon Pain all the time.

"At precisely 5 p.m., all the pastries from the first half of the day go on discount, and they sell for a quarter," Mason told Lobell. "But I can’t be seen doing this because I'm an international sensation."

"He also loved McDonald's," said Lobell. "He was obsessed with McDonald's." So obsessed that Mason called Lobell up in the middle of the night to break some McDonald's-related news.

"Were you sleeping?" asked Mason.

"No," replied Lobell.

"You’re a liar. But it's a big day. Today, McDonald's is unveiling their whole new line of frozen drinks. It’s better than what they’re doing at Starbucks. They did studies, the consistency is better. It’s a fraction of the price. It's over for Starbucks; they’re all done. Go back to sleep."

Through Mason, Lobell became friends with another legend: George Carlin.

"You like George Carlin?" Mason asked Lobell one day.

"Sure, I love him," replied Lobell.

"I didn’t ask if you love him, I asked if you like him. Now I'm regretting this call." Mason invited Lobell to come to his show to meet Carlin, and Carlin ended up giving Lobell his number.

a chocolate croissant on a tableJackie Mason felt very strongly about chocolate croissants. (Photo: wjarek/Shutterstock)

Then there was the time Mason invested in a bunch of audio cassette tapes of his show. It was a reasonable idea, but he had it in the early 2000s, when everybody was buying CDs.

"He had overestimated the power of the audio cassette," remembered Lobell. "So he brought me on to try and push audio cassette tapes at his Broadway show."

There's something comforting about the fact that Jackie Mason got a kick out of buying croissants for a quarter and thought people would buy audio cassette tapes in the 21st century.

"Comedians are like cartoons come to life," Lobell told From the Grapevine. "Every comedian is such a character."

Lobell is currently a performer in the world’s largest arts festival in Edinburgh and just released a new album on iTunes called "The Nicest Boy in Barcelona."

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