CONTROVERSIAL American-Scots comedian Jerry Sadowitz had his Saturday evening show at the Fringe cancelled following complaints from the previous evening from audience members and staff.

He was meant to perform two nights at The Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh although Saturday’s did not go ahead as the venue said his material “does not align with our values”.

One member of the audience has said that Sadowitz “got his penis out to a woman in the front row” and that he was making racist and sexist remarks. 

Who is Jerry Sadowitz? 

Born in 1961 in New Jersey, Sadowitz left America after his parents split up, moving back to his mother’s native Glasgow when he was seven. 

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He attended Calderwood Lodge Primary and then Shawlands Academy. 

Sadowitz took an interest in magic at a young age, which he still incorporates into his comedy. 

He made his stand-up debut in 1983 at a Glasgow club and was able to secure a regular spot at the Weavers Inn, also in Glasgow. 

The pub was run by future comedian Janey Godley.

Why is he controversial? 

Sadowitz is known for his black comedy and obscene remarks. According to a Guardian profile, he had a “willingness to say the unsayable”. 

Comedian Richard Herring, who used to support Sadowitz, has previously said: “He is properly offensive and can offend me, but in the way that art should, rather than in that way of someone saying something for effect- which is true of most other offensive comics, including me.”

Janey Godley has spoken of being “physically stunned” by some of the lines he performed when she first took Sadowitz on, specifically his line: “What’s pink and fluffy and doesn’t move? Norman Tebbit’s wife’s slippers.” 

In the 1980s, he called Nelson Mandela a “c***” on stage but has spoken about his frustration that he is seen as offensive. 

In an interview with The Guardian in 2011, Sadowitz said: “If I had known in advance that so many people would hijack the material I put across in my act, and what they would do to it, I would never have taken up comedy.”

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He continued: “I do find Frankie Boyle offensive. He’ll write a joke, or someone will write it and give it to him, and he’ll do it without any thought. 

“It’s like someone quoting something without even understanding what it is they’ve quoted. My contribution to stand-up is not a genre. It’s me and my issues. It was never intended to be mainstream.”

What has he said about the cancellation? 

Sadowitz took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon where he said he was “truly sorry” for all those who had been planning on going to see his gig. 

He said: “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.”