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Jerry Sadowitz


Sidewaysbob
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I remember watching Jerry back in the day when he was trying to break into TV.  He'd rock up and do these 10 minute slots on channel 4 late night shows.  

 

As a magician I think he was always described as one of the greatest close up magicians around. 

 

But as a comedian,  I don't think I've ever seen anyone actively hate their audience quite so much.  He's offensive,  and if you're going to see him live I think you have to know just how offensive he gets.  

 

So I'm surprised they cancelled his show knowing full well who his is and what his act is. 

 

I thought he was funny back in the day on TV,  but that was obviously toned down,  but it was still pretty full on even for Channel 4 in the 80s

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I think this is a really difficult one:

 

- Jerry is a well known and popular comedian who has been performing for decades, and arguably if you see him you should know what you're going to get

- The Edinburgh Fringe, though, is full of people who just turn up to random shows, rather then researching each act. It's part of the fun of the place

- Using the 'P' word, being racist and homophobic (even if it's just an act), and showing your penis to the audience, isn't acceptable behaviour as entertainment in 2022

- The Pleasance prides itself as a 'free speech' venue

 

So you have various factors smashing into each other in terms of pros and cons for axing the show or keeping it going. Free speech isn't a black and white issue, no matter which side of the argument you tend to fall on ideologically. It can be such a grey area depending on the circumstances of each case. I have no idea what I'd do in this situation, tbh. My instinct is for free speech, but the description of the material is pretty awful.

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8 minutes ago, Eighthours said:

I think this is a really difficult one:

 

- Jerry is a well known and popular comedian who has been performing for decades, and arguably if you see him you should know what you're going to get

- The Edinburgh Fringe, though, is full of people who just turn up to random shows, rather then researching each act. It's part of the fun of the place

- Using the 'P' word, being racist and homophobic (even if it's just an act), and showing your penis to the audience, isn't acceptable behaviour as entertainment in 2022

- The Pleasance prides itself as a 'free speech' venue

 

What is the "P" word? Paedo?

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15 minutes ago, Simmy said:

 

What is the "P" word? Paedo?

The Pakistani one, in reference to Rishi Sunak. Which I believe isn’t even where his ethnic background lies. 

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The thing about Jerry Sadowitz is that his act is about pushing the boundaries and saying the unsayable, but not in the more common Ricky Gervais / Jimmy Carr sense of saying racist or sexist things in a way that purports to be transgressive, but in actuality just reinforces stereotypes and confirms peoples prejudices. There’s no “I’m saying it, but we’re all thinking it” with Sadowitz - it’s more “I’m a cunt for thinking this, and an even bigger cunt for saying it” with an undercurrent of “and you’re a cunt too for paying to listen to me say these things”. A huge part of his act is just the fact that he’s saying the worst things possible with the clear acknowledgement that they’re not true and completely wrong. 
 

That kind of thing has to be very carefully judged, obviously. I think that if you complain about a Jerry Sadowitz show, there’s an element of “I went to see this highly offensive comedian under the assumption that he’d just offend other people, not *me*”, unless you were brought there under false pretences or something. But at the same time, the p-word is pretty strong material. It’s possible he misjudged this one. 
 

The horrible thing is, I can see all the right wing, cancel culture knobheads jumping on this bandwagon, even though Jerry Sadowitz hates them more than anyone - the kind of people whose show poster has them with a raised eyebrow standing in front of a microphone with a sticking plaster over their mouth, with “CANCELLED?” written on it. Even worse would be if Sadowitz got shoved into the same category as Andrew Lawrence or Mark Dolan. He’s been cancelled in the literal sense, but that doesn’t mean he’s some kind of free speech martyr. 

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I used to go see him live occasionally, last time about a decade ago and have some very old bootlegs of sets he was doing back in the 80s & 90s, which are still hilarious in places.

 

He's been doing hankies/rubber chickens out the trouser zipper claiming it's his cock for years - I doubt he's escalated to actually doing it for real.

 

As said above it's so hard to defend it, I know he's not in the same category as Bernard Manning, Chubby Brown etc but when you see it reported he's calling Sunak a paki it's hard to defend without tying yourself in knots.

 

He's always been vile, but in a 360 degree equal opportunities way that does have a lot more thought and context behind it - but you see it written down in isolation and it looks terrible. Which even as a defence is problematic because it's what Dr Fox the Capital DJ said when he was quoted in court when charged.

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Yes, Sadowitz requires an absolute shed ton of context around what he says on stage.  There is a particular joke that he has that is actually based around comedians surnames, but he wraps it in the context of Grenfell Tower so it can be massively misinterpreted.  Same with the use of the "P" word, did Sadowitzx say it or was it saying something like "It's confusing for Tory voters, wondering whether they should be voting for the (P-word)".  Sadowitz's offensive stuff comes from a different, I would argue better place than Jimmy Carr, who just provides context-free one-line bullying.

 

An interesting point I saw raised is that while his audience might know what to expect, the actual venue staff might not and they have no choice.  I thought that was a fair comment, and worth thinking about.

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Sadowitz's thing is offensiveness from a perspective of outright misanthropy. Going to his show you're kinda signing up for some pretty grim material, and that's always been the case. Even his magic shows include him being purposefully insulting and abrasive, it's a style that only really works when you're in on the joke, when the context is in place.

 

With the little we've been told, I'm not sure there's enough there to consider a boundary being broken that means his show can't be allowed - going into that show I'd be expecting some racial slurs and content and some shock nudity stuff. Perhaps there's context we've not been given that makes it look worse, but as it is, this feels more like a venue getting cold feet over a controversial show than Sadowitz going too far.

 

Unfortunately it has become a shithead talking point now so even if the truth is revealed the subject is lost.

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Well, he isn't what you'd call a racist comedian as such. It wasn't punching down, it was punching in every direction, including himself, the audience and anything that needed punching. Think Frankie Boyle, but more intense. 

He is absolutely not TV friendly or most peoples cup of tea, but he is a master of the art of comedy.

The likes of Boyle, Limmy and Carr probably owe him their careers. 

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Assuming reports like this one are accurate, it is easy to see why people are offended and the show deemed unacceptable for the venue.

 

White, rich men doing a comedy routine that relies on racism and misogyny should be as careful in their job as the person in charge of the electric fences at a brand new dinosaur theme park, which is opening on the site of the previous dinosaur theme park that closed in mysterious circumstances.

 

Its easy to ask 'what were they expecting?', but anyone who has suffered racial abuse or sexual assault, be they in the audience or a staff member in attendance, could be harmed by jokes of that nature. Of course, context is important. And that context, in this case, needs to include 'joke being told by a wealthy old white guy', which is an immovable obstacle to the content being deemed acceptable in the current day and age.

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I'll also say that Sadowitz is almost certainly not rich, not even at Richard Herring levels. He's incredibly protective of his act's context and not letting things escape when they can be easily misconstrued - his approach to YouTube takedowns makes Nintendo look like a poster child for the Free Software Foundation.

 

However, I do think that after what, 30 years?, maybe this act could be retired? Like I know he's not the person he presents himself in his shows, and he's a gifted comedian - but we don't let Gervais off in his less good shows, so why does Sadowitz get a free pass? We know that he certainly can do amazing magic and even has a history of child-friendly performances!

 

(also, was the booking manager for The Pleasance just off the ball when they booked him? You know exactly what you're going to get with Sadowitz on stage)

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Key thing is, the people that are going to largely assume he's on, sigh, their side are the Linehan's of the world.

 

It's going to be amusing when he tackles him in response. He'd fucking better.

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To be honest, I've seen Josie Long playing to a room that was like a morgue and it wasn't because it was after Sadowitz had been on.

 

(Besides, who the fuck agrees to go on after Sadowitz.  That's like doing a cookery show after the previous person burnt the stage down with a flamethrower.)

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42 minutes ago, Festoon said:

Key thing is, the people that are going to largely assume he's on, sigh, their side are the Linehan's of the world.

 

It's going to be amusing when he tackles him in response. He'd fucking better.


The man himself has said “My act has helped some nasty people have very successful careers.”

 

The problem is he would rip into Rowling and Linehan (and probably has) but because he has no presence outside a theatre, you’ll never hear it. 

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21 minutes ago, Plissken said:

To be honest, I've seen Josie Long playing to a room that was like a morgue and it wasn't because it was after Sadowitz had been on.

 

 

A touch unfair. Even Lee was idly wondering last year about how Sadowitz's act plays in today's world.

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25 minutes ago, Plissken said:

(Besides, who the fuck agrees to go on after Sadowitz.  That's like doing a cookery show after the previous person burnt the stage down with a flamethrower.)

 

This is an odd criticism. You know how venues work for the Fringe - a short changeover and mostly different audience each slot.

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39 minutes ago, Skykid said:

 

This is an odd criticism. You know how venues work for the Fringe - a short changeover and mostly different audience each slot.


Well if it’s a different slot and audience it’s not his fault the room is a morgue, is it?

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I went to see him about 10 years ago at Leicester Square Theatre, more because I was interested to see his magic rather than comedy. It was…intense. He got heckled by some guy in the second row and Jerry just spat at him. There was also a lot of Rolf Harris and Jimmy Savile stuff but I think that’s probably part of the course. 

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11 minutes ago, GoblinUK said:

I went to see him about 10 years ago at Leicester Square Theatre, more because I was interested to see his magic rather than comedy. It was…intense. He got heckled by some guy in the second row and Jerry just spat at him. There was also a lot of Rolf Harris and Jimmy Savile stuff but I think that’s probably part of the course. 

 

Ooh, an eggcorn! 'Par for the course', no?

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