Comedians and figures from across the political spectrum have condemned an Edinburgh Fringe promoter for cancelling a show by Jerry Sadowitz, a legendary stand-up comic. The Times has more.
Pleasance Theatre faces a call for a boycott following its axing of Jerry Sadowitz’s Fringe run after a single show after complaints that he used a racist term, exposed his penis and made members of the audience “feel unsafe”.
Sadowitz, whose outrageous mixture of comedy and magic is renowned for its invective, tweeted: “Did a show last night, 75 mins, thought it went well. Didn’t see any walkouts. Today I’m told my show’s been cancelled. Great stuff. I’m truly sorry for everyone who travelled to see the show tonight.”
The Pleasance programme warned audiences that the performance at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre “contains strong language and themes some may find distressing” and Sadowitz’s own promotional video said he was “gonna get his dick out”.
Commenting on the decision to scrap the Saturday night performance, Katherine Ryan, the comedian and BBC presenter, tweeted: “Very strange to cancel someone’s entire run for apparent offense when there’s a content warning right on the booking page.”
Viv Groskop, the comedian who judged the 2022 International Booker Prize, tweeted: “If the cancelling of Jerry Sadowitz’s Edinburgh show is about nudity, then loads of other shows should get cancelled too.
“If it’s about content… then let grown adults google acts before they buy tickets. It’s not difficult.”
Richard Herring, a comedian who cited Sadowitz as an early influence, said the cancellation pointed to a wider malaise at this year’s Fringe.
Writing on his blog, he said: “To complain about him being offensive is like asking the actor who plays Macbeth to be arrested for murder.
“His audience should know what they’re getting into, as should any theatre that books him. It’s not like he’s a new act . . . it is another example of the Fringe not feeling very Fringey this year.”
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Dominic Cavendish, the theatre critic of the Telegraph, has written a good piece pointing out that Jerry Sadowitz has been telling racist jokes and exposing himself since the 1980s. The Pleasance knew this, the people who bought tickets knew this. So why did the Pleasance suddenly cancel his performance?
Stop Press 2: Sadowitz has called on the Pleasance to apologise to him for describing his show as “as unsafe, homophobic, misogynistic and racist”. He added: “If the Pleasance can’t apologise to me they should at least apologise to the 300 people who paid for and travelled to see the show on Saturday.” GB News has more.