STAND-UP MAGIC JERRY SADOWITZ
Carnegie Hall, Dunfennline, Tue 2 Oct; Whitehall Theatre, Dundee. Wed 3 Oct.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but the last time I saw Jerry Sadowitz in the ﬂesh was at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1996, and, boy oh boy, what a bounty of Jerry's flesh was displayed on that occasion. As one half of comedy duo Bib & Bob (the other half being an uneasy-looking Logan Murray), the climax of Sadowitz’s performance involved the outlandish stand-up comedian and magician tearing off his clothes and smearing his naked body in baked beans. While this gruesome ﬁnale provoked a less than thrilled response from audience members, their barbed heckles were mere whimpers of protest compared to the tirades of abuse they had previously received from their host. The curly-permed one, it seemed, was having yet another bad-hair day.
Sadowitz has trodden this fine line between being painfully funny and plain painful since he made his stand-up debut in 1985. With his depressingly bleak world-view and willingness to pour bile on
Dundee Rep, Dundee, Fri 21 Sep; King Tut’s, Glasgow, Sat 22 Sep.
When Ross Noble plays his next gig in Scotland. it will have been exactly 25 days since his last show of the Festival. And that wasn't just a four week run of nightly shows. Oh no. there were BBC shows to be hosted. ‘Late and Lives' to compere. ‘Best of the Fests' to pop up in, and even Leeds and Reading festivals to grace. How does he do it? Why does he bother? When I ask why he's back in Jockland. he increduloust replies. 'because it's me job. it‘s what I do.‘ Don't I feel like an ass.
Being renowned as a workaholic must have its drawbacks. While his constant gigging is a godsend to eager promoters. travelling around the country and playing comedy festivals the world over doesn't leave much time for chilling out. 'l've just had ten days off after the Festival,' says Noble. ‘I thought I would spend a bit of time at home. cause I
keep forgetting what me house looks like. But l'rn back into it later worked as a busker, practising ‘close-up’ magic on now.‘
everything from Nelson Mandela to Dundonians to (especially) women, the performer has consistently divided audiences and
Sadowitz in non-juvenile delinquent guise
critics alike. Part of his appeal lies in the fact that he is such a showbiz outsider - you’d never see Sadowitz cosying up to fellow comedians in the Gilded Balloon bar during the Edinburgh Festival, least of all Rob Newman. And, in this age of bland, inoffensive chuckles, at least Sadowitz’s nasty diatribes spurn political correctness, refusing to pander to the notion that life is anything other than nasty, brutish and short. Yet, his material nearly always leaves a bad taste in the mouth; one of his more recent comedy creations was Joey, a Bronx juvenile delinquent and self-confessed
A talented magician, Sadowitz originally took up the art form as a means of escapism from his miserable childhood and the alienating effects of having suffered from the severe limb condition St Wtus’s Dance. He
BIG WORD POETRY SLAM Bongo Club, Edinburgh, Sun 30 Sep.
Karen Dunbar can't have done much for the image of performance poetry in Scotland. Her be-permed feminist parody astutely debunks its lofty pretensions. finding favour amongst a wary audience. In stark contrast. the live performance poetry scene is blossoming. Jem Rolls and Anita
the streets of London and following home any tight- fisted spectator who refused to give him money, doubtless accompanied by streams of insults. It’s this tenacity that has allowed Sadowitz to survive for so long in such a notoriously fickle business, despite his well-documented problems with agents, managers and
As well as his live dates, fans of the Sadowitz phenomenon will relish the September return of The People Vs Jerry Sadowitz to Channel 5. The programme features its host in trademark top hat with plastic cigar
inviting a queue of volunteers to attempt to hold forth
Govan are co- founders of Edinburgh's fortnightly performance poetry cabaret Big Word. and their success has been nothing short of remarkable. Drzrwrng in crowds on average of 05. which cross the spectrurrrs of age. sex and quite noticeably background. the cabaret introduces a range of acts varying in their degree of performance skills and poetic aptitude. And it makes for a captivating exr_)erience. Building on the success of this 'pilot' season. the first season proper will soon be upon us. and. as a precursor to that. Scotland will have its first poetry Slam. The concept of a Slam
originated fifteen years ago in Chicago.
was then fervently adopted in New York's Nuyorican Cafe, and its first trans—Atlantic incarnation was in the burgeoning performance poetry scene of South-West England. Edinburgh's first Slam Will see rival poets each performing for just two rnrnutes. and attempting to win over a panel of judges considering three criteria:
on any subject, gonging off the ones that bore him. Money for old rope, perhaps, but funny nonetheless, and an early, more vicious blueprint for Anne Robinson’s The Weakest Link. (Allan Radcliffe)
quality of [)()()ll‘.. quality of performance. and audience response. These heats are followed by semi- finals (including sorne comic relief courtesy of Des Clarke) and then finals. The overall winner will be crowned Scotland's first poetry Slam champion and will receive spot in a forthcoming Big Word night.
As this is the first event of its type in Scotland. there can be no certainty over what will happen. ‘l‘ve probably seen 1 .000 acts.' says co-organiser Jem Rolls. 'and three of the best acts have been black women from the New York poetry Slams. The American style is very high powered and political, and they do have very good quality poetry. I think the stuff over here will be very different in that it Will possibly be more poetic. more comedic. less serious.‘ And rs there a secret to being a good Slammer"? 'lt's a matter of saying what you want to say. but saying rt in a way that people want to hear il.' (Maureen Ellis)
Describing what the 25—year- old Geordie lad does isn't eaSy. Hrs irnpr'ov skills are legendary. he transforms the mundane into the fantastical, and augments the most trivial of episodes into an immense triumph of invention. And we strive to keep up.
Despite offers of television work and advertising plugs. he's still intently focused on live work and seems to thrive on his ridiculously hectic schedule. 'I love it. I'd rather be doing that than sitting around twrddlrng me thumbs. Backstage at Reading. a lot of people would walk in and just go. "How are you here? Aren't you in Etllltbtll'glt at the rrroment’?" And l'rn like “yeah. I've franchised rneself off; l've trained actors to just do me stuff'” There's scope in that. surer (Maureen Ellis)
.‘i‘ Sop ~l Oct 2001 THE LIST 65