Jerry Sadowitz slams Pleasance for canceling comedy show
Comedian Jerry Sadowitz disagrees with a Scottish venue’s decision to remove him from the Edinburgh Fringe festival lineup amid allegations of ‘extreme’ racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny.
On Sunday, the Scottish American comic shared a long statement condemning the Pleasance for unplugging their second and final set at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival. According to Deadline, Sadowitz allegedly made a racist remark about prime minister candidate Rishi Sunak and exposed his genitals during his first Fringe performance at Pleasance on Friday night.
“I don’t wish to humiliate the Pleasances but they are doubling down and I don’t want to fall victim to that,” Sadowitz wrote.
“I did a 75 minute show for 600 people that went pretty well and left no trace of anything wrong. Besides being told there were multiple walkouts and “staff abuse”, my act is now belittled and simplified as dangerous, homophobic, misogynistic and racist.
Shortly after Sadowitz’s performance on Friday, the Pleasance publicly called the veteran performer’s behavior “completely unacceptable.”
“Due to numerous complaints, we immediately became aware of content considered, among other things, to be extreme in its racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny,” Pleasance said in a statement obtained by The Times on Monday.
“We will not associate ourselves with content that undermines the dignity of people.”
Although Sadowitz has played the Pleasance many times and the venue has acknowledged its reputation as “controversial”, he maintained that this time “a line has been crossed”. The Pleasance also cited “later abuse directed at our teams” while explaining its decision to cut Sadowitz’s remaining broadcast.
“I think a lot about my shows and although I don’t always succeed, especially at the speed at 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 shouted in the first five minutes before storming out without LISTENING to the material that I’m dumb enough to believe is funny, sometimes important and worth saying,” Sadowitz continued his Sunday rant.
“Plus there’s a lot of irony and silly, over-the-top absurdity… anger and bile, and even getting my d—is out for the purpose of the funny line that follows it. (No, I won’t tell you what it is…see the show for yourself…or better yet…stay home).
According to the Guardian, Sadowitz has long been known for his intentionally offensive style of comedy and for incorporating magic tricks into his offbeat routines. Further defending its choice to sever ties with Sadowitz, the Pleasance stressed that its values ”are inclusive, diverse and welcoming.”
“In a changing world, the stories and language that were once accepted on stage, whether performed or not, must be challenged,” the venue’s statement read.
“The arts and comedy in particular have always pushed the boundaries of social norms, but that boundary is always shifting. Our industry must evolve with it. However, this does not mean that we can allow this content to be on our stages.
On Sunday, Sadowitz hinted that he deserved an apology from the Pleasance and demanded that the venue “at least” apologize to the “300 people who paid and traveled to see the show on Saturday.”
“I don’t ask anyone to agree with what I say or do on stage,” the 60-year-old artist said.
“God forbid they end up like me…and I’ve never ONCE wooed a mainstream audience to come to my shows because guess what??? In real life, I really don’t want to upset anyone… including [Pleasance artistic director] Anthony Alderson. The show is what it is, for those who appreciate it. The rest of you… please stick to the Carry On movies.