Jerry Sadowitz defends stand-up show after cancellation at Edinburgh Fringe

Promoters said the show was axed because it was “extreme in its racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny”

Jerry Sadowitz has released a statement defending his Edinburgh Fringe stand-up show after it was cancelled over “unacceptable” material.

The Scottish comedian performed at the Pleasance theatre on Friday (August 12), before the venue axed his second scheduled performance on Saturday. The show, titled Jerry Sadowitz: Not For Anyone, had a warning that it contained “strong language and themes some may find distressing”.

Following the cancellation, Sadowitz 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.”

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In a statement released on Sunday (August 14), the Pleasance said they received an “unprecendented number of complaints” regarding the show’s material, which was deemed “extreme in its racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny”.

“Due to numerous complaints, we became immediately aware of content that was considered, among other things, extreme in its racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny,” the Pleasance said (via the Guardian). “We will not associate with content which attacks people’s dignity, and the language used on stage was, in our view, completely unacceptable.

“A large number of people walked out of Jerry Sadowitz’s show as they felt uncomfortable and unsafe to remain in the venue. We have received an unprecedented number of complaints that could not be ignored and we had a duty to respond. The subsequent abuse directed to our teams is also equally unacceptable.”

In a follow-up statement on Twitter, Sadowitz claimed his act was being “simplified” and “cheapened” due to the Pleasance.

“I don’t wish to humiliate The Pleasance but they are doubling down on their position and I don’t want to be made a victim of that,” Sadowitz wrote. “I repeat… I did a 75 minute show for 600 people that went pretty well and left with no hint of anything going wrong.

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“In addition to now being told there were multiple walkouts and ‘abuse of staff’ my act is now being cheapened and simplified as unsafe, homophobic, misogynistic and racist.”

He added: “A lot of thought goes into my shows and while I don’t always get it right, especially at the speed of which I speak… and I don’t always agree with my own conclusions (!)… I am offended by those who, having never seen me before, HEAR words being shouted in the first five minutes before storming out without LISTENING to the material which I am stupid enough to believe is funny, sometimes important and worth saying.”

The comedian also defended a part of his act where he exposes his penis on stage, writing: “There’s a lot of silly, exaggerated irony and nonsense, real fake and exaggerated anger and bile, and even getting my dick out is for the purpose of the funny line which follows it. (No I won’t tell you what it is… see the show for yourself… or better still… just stay at home).

“I ask nobody to agree with anything I say or do on stage… God forbid they should end up like me… and I have never ONCE courted a mainstream audience to come to my shows because guess what??? In real life, I really DON’T don’t want to upset anyone… including [Pleasance theatre director] Anthony Alderson.

“The show is what it is, for those who enjoy it. The rest of you… please stick to Carry On films.”

Sadowitz also called for the venue to apologise to those who bought tickets and travelled to see Saturday’s show. The Pleasance said refunds were issued to cover ticket costs.

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