Edinburgh Fringe cancels comedian Jerry Sadowitz’s show over complaints – Metro.co.uk

Jerry Sadowitz’s show at Edinburgh Fringe has been scrapped (Picture: Denis Jones/REX/Shutterstock)

Comedian Jerry Sadowitz was banned from performing his second show at the Edinburgh Fringe festival this weekend following a spate of complaints about his jokes.

The Scottish comic performed the first night of his show, Not For Anyone, at The Pleasance on Friday night. 

A warning was issued by the venue prior to the show, stating: ‘This show contains strong language and themes some may find distressing.’ 

Sadowitz is known for his controversial dark style of comedy and even warned ticket-holders himself about his material in an earlier video, saying while referring to himself: ‘He’s gonna be funny. He’s gonna be rude. 

‘He’s gonna do magic tricks. He’s gonna do impressions. He’s gonna get his d*** out.

‘He’s gonna do every f****** thing, so make sure you go and see him.’ 

However, it’s said audience members and staff alike complained about the gags made during the first show, prompting the venue to pull Sadowitz’s second night. 

A Pleasance Theatre Trust spokesperson has since told Metro.co.uk in a lengthy statement: ‘As previously stated, the Pleasance chose to pull Jerry Sadowitz’s second and final show. Due to numerous complaints, we became immediately aware of content that was considered, among other things, extreme in its racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny. 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.’

They continued: ‘At the Pleasance, our values are to be inclusive, diverse and welcoming. We are proud of the progress we have made across our programming, which includes significant investment and support for Black, Asian and Global Majority artists, LGBTQ+ voices, those from working class backgrounds, and the strong representation of women. We do not believe that racism, homophobia, sexism or misogynistic language have a place in our venues. 

‘In a changing world, stories and language that were once accepted on stage, whether performed in character or not, need to be challenged. There is a line that we will not cross at the Pleasance, and it was our view that this line was crossed on this occasion.’

The comedian is known for his controversial and dark style of comedy
Sadowitz performed at The Pleasance theatre on Friday night

The statement went on: ‘We don’t vet the full content of acts in advance and while Jerry Sadowitz is a controversial comedian, we could not have known the specifics of his performance.  The Pleasance has staged his work numerous times over the years, but as soon as we received complaints from those in the building which caused us great concern, we knew we could not allow the final performance to go ahead. 

‘The arts and comedy in particular have always pushed the boundaries of social norms but this boundary is always moving.  Our industry has to move with it. However, this does not mean that we can allow such content to be on our stages.’

Sadowitz had earlier addressed the venue’s decision and 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.’ 

One audience member claimed to The Sun that Sadowitz exposed his penis while on-stage but, he is a magician and it’s not known if the genitals reportedly shown were a prop.

The Pleasance theatre’s decision to axe the show with some welcoming the move, while others arguing it encourages censorship. 

The comedian said he thought the show ‘went well’

One tweeted in support of the comedian: ‘Ridiculous. Jerry Sadowitz has always been an outrageous voice. Would like to understand the reason for his cancellation. Would Bill Hicks or Lenny Bruce be viable today?’

Another agreed: ‘Why would you watch a Jerry Sadowitz show if you were easily offended? Jesus, comedy is being slowly smothered to death, one joke, one show, one comedian at a time.’ 

However, one applauded the theatre’s move, weighing in: ‘This is absolutely right and proper.

‘It is unacceptable in 2022 for comedians to be expressing opinions and making jokes which people may find offensive.

‘You wouldn’t find Janey Godley or Frankie Boyle peddling such filth and calling it comedy!’ 

Ticket-holders are able to claim refunds for those purchased for Saturday’s show. 

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Sadowitz’s rep for comment.

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