Linda Marric

Jerry Sadowitz often pushes boundaries, but that's exactly the point

The comedian offers one of the purest forms of risqué comedy out there

August 15, 2022 17:27

Jerry Sadowitz, a stalwart of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the last three decades, has had his show cancelled. Not a metaphorical Twitter cancellation, but a real-life cancellation that will affect his back pocket.

Having played said show in front 600 people so far, it now transpires that it allegedly took just one single complaint from an audience member for the iconic Fringe venue The Pleasance to cancel all further performances. 

In their statement, the venue indicated that the production, ironically titled Jerry Sadowitz: Not For Everyone, was cancelled because his (self-admittedly) risqué and controversial act, "does not align with the venue's values”.

In reality and as pointed out by many of us on Twitter over the last 24 hours, it’s safe to say that Jerry’s act doesn't even align with the comedian's own values. As a frequent attendee at the Fringe, the way I have always seen Sadowitz’s comedy is as an extreme form of  Brechtian alienation technique.

His whole schtick has always been to make his audience battle with their own prejudices instead of nodding in agreement or being bombarded by a series of one-liners they’re likely to forget as soon as they’ve left the show.  

But none of that really seems to matter in cases like this. Before long he'd done the standard Twitter Notes App statement, but unlike so many others who run into outrage, he refused to apologise.

In a defiant stand, Sadowitz said that while he may not always get it right, but that in itself was the nature of his show.

Nevertheless, the usual bunch of contrarians seeking to score points for whatever agenda they’re peddling have now latched on to the story to prove once again that “Cancel Culture” is clearly out of control, but it’s important to understand that Sadowitz’s only agenda as a comedian has always been to shake things up to avoid stagnation.

It is also important that we comprehend that throughout his long career,  he has never purported to be family-friendly, politically correct or even someone who could fill venues like the rest of his peers. He's a niche act.

Jerry Sadwitz’s anarchic style is the purest form of comedy I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. He genuinely is someone who believes that every single idea should be challenged. And if you take that out of its extremely specific context, it's easy to make him look silly or offensive.

Sadowitz is now being accused of having flashed an audience member - something he is rumoured to have done in the past-. who went on to complain to the venue. But surely both venue and audience members should have known what to expect?

Do I think he’s gone too far at times? Absolutely and without a shadow of a doubt. Would I have gone to the venue to complain about him and get his show cancelled, most certainly not. 

August 15, 2022 17:27

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive