My Comedy Hero: Leo Kearse on Jerry Sadowitz

My Comedy Hero: Leo Kearse on Jerry Sadowitz

The Scottish Comedian of the Year picks the controversial funnyman and card magician as his comic idol

Scotland has a culture of 'If it's funny, say it'. The first comedian I saw epitomised this. On our annual trip out of the hills and into the city, my mum took me and my brother to see Jerry Sadowitz. We loved it. Here was a man who said everything we'd been told was wrong. Who tore into every icon. Who got his cock out without offering us sweets. His jokes were hilarious and criminally offensive. He had total disdain for the audience; as he spat abuse, the first few rows would get soaked in his saliva which left his hair hanging like a wet spaniel's ears. Then he'd pull out a super soaker that he'd been spitting into all week and spray the rest of the room. We begged mum to take us every year. And get us vaccinated against hepatitis.

Despite a couple of TV shows, his career never moved beyond a cult following. Perhaps mainstream audiences just weren't ready for a man raping a blow-up doll while he called Mandela 'a cunt'. I randomly saw Jerry behind the counter in a magic shop in Clerkenwell and asked him if he worked there to keep his roots in with the magic community. He told me: 'I work here because I don't make enough money doing stand-up, you stupid cunt.'

Unfortunately, in recent years he's attracted the wrong crowd: people who heckle him for racism and misogyny. This impairs the enjoyment of his shows for me and the skinheads in the audience. People ask how he gets away with such hateful bile: is he so pitiable that everywhere he punches is up? I think it's just because he's funny.

Rotunda, Glasgow, Fri 15 & Sat 16 Jun, Fri 13 & Sat 14 Jul; Enterteasement, Glasgow, Sat 16 Jun; Espionage, Edinburgh, Thu 2–Sun 26 Aug.

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