How I bombed: Comic’s war jokes earn him a ban

By Sandy Rashty, August 1, 2013
Comedian David Trent was banned from Olives pub in Norwich

Comedian David Trent was banned from Olives pub in Norwich

An award-winning comedian has been banned from a comedy club after his use of Nazi images upset some members of the audience.

David Trent projected images of Nuremberg rallies and a concentration camp during his act at the Olives in Norwich — and asked the audience to “say something antisemitic”. And when a Jewish mother and daughter in the front row objected, he responded with a volley of abuse.

But this week, an emotional Mr Trent insisted his act was taken out of context and vowed not to change it when he appears at the Edinburgh fringe.

“He kept on asking the audience to throw some antisemitic stuff at him,” said the daughter. “It was such a nasty thing to do.

“He kept picking on us — I didn’t know where to look,” claimed her mother. “I was in shock and my daughter was furious. It was awful. He kept calling us ‘c***s’ and saying, ‘let’s pay those c***s to go’.”

Mr Trent, who is himself Jewish and celebrated his barmitzvah at the Welwyn Garden City Hebrew Congregation, said the “jokes were taken out of context. I’m upset by the whole thing. I feel sick and emotional.

“I set up a situation where the audience heckle me. If they say racist things, I say ‘bad luck mate — you’re in deep s**t’. If not, I say, ‘well done — you’re sharper than most’. It’s a joke about prejudice. I don’t believe it’s antisemitic or soliciting antisemitic hatred at all.

“I was definitely over-sensitive and definitely over-aggressive, but every time I made a joke, they blocked me at every level. I didn’t know what to do. I decided to continue with the show and do it over the top of them.”
Mick Marsden, the Olives owner, said: “The comedian seemed to have a problem with a couple of girls in the front row. It was very uncomfortable — he even threatened to stop performing.

“I wouldn’t have him here again. It was an awkward atmosphere. He picked on the girls without any good reason. I felt for them.”

Mr Trent, who was due to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe on Wednesday, agreed that “some people can get offended by this sort of material, but I don’t set out to offend. I set out to make people laugh.”

Last updated: 12:45pm, August 1 2013