(This blog was also published in the Huffington Post)
The comedian Jerry Sadowitz’s schtick is that he is highly offensive.
Last night, I saw his full-length stage show for the first time in a few years. The latest show is called Jerry Sadowitz: Comedian, Magician, Psychopath which, I think, pretty much covers all the angles – though it did not demonstrate any of the sheer genius of his actual magic act. He is a world class magician.
I have blogged before about Jerry’s early comedy career in the 1980s, how he was managed by the late Malcolm Hardee and how I produced a TV show in 1990 in which Jerry did not swear.
When I produced that show, Jerry spotted two lesbians in the audience (do not ask) and zeroed-in on them for particular comic attention. After the show, they were outraged and complained. Jerry was genuinely perplexed.
“They are just jokes,” he said, nonplussed.
My attitude was that, if you knowingly go to a Jerry Sadowitz show, you cannot complain afterwards about being offended. It is a bit like letting your small child watch Doctor Who and then complaining afterwards that he or she shat behind the sofa with fear.
That is almost the show’s raison d’être.
Doctor Who can sometimes scare the shit out of children.
Jerry Sadowitz’s comedy show is highly offensive.
The only reason to complain would be if Jerry were NOT offensive.
It was good to see last night that he can still go beyond highly offensive. All other so-called offensive comedians pale into insignificance compared to him. They are like a little pile of sugar four inches high in comparison to the Himalayas.
The two things which struck me last night were that he seems to be talking more about death than he used to. No surprise there, I guess. He is older. And, in among the bile and vitriol spewed at almost every target under the sun, there is an occasional unspeakable truth spoken.
I find it is always good for my blog to mention the late ‘old school’ comedian Bernard Manning because it annoys people. It is like saying “mint sauce” to a lamb.
If Bernard Manning had told almost any of the jokes Jerry told last night, people would have been even more outraged than the people who are currently retrospectively outraged by Manning’s live act although most of them never saw it.
If any other comic had told some of the jokes Jerry told last night, I think there is a high possibility he would risk being arrested.
And not without reason. Some of the Muslim jokes were so close to stirring racial hatred that there could be a nice philosophical discussion on where the line lies. Though, interestingly, some of the jokes were so unsettling because they said out loud some normally unsayable truths.
If comedy, like trouble, can be said to brew, Bernard Manning told comparatively mild gags. With Jerry, motormouthing for well over an hour at about three times the speed of any other comic, the gags are more bitter.