Review: Walk-outs and rudeness but Jerry Sadowitz still has the magic

Jon Rollinson reviews Jerry Sadowitz at the Assembly, Leamington

Jerry Sadowitz
Jerry Sadowitz

Self proclaimed “comedian, magician, psychopath” Jerry Sadowitz turned up last Thursday and played to a half full Assembly “in a town so boring it compares unfavourably with Aleppo, where waiting for a bus is more exciting than Leamington Spa because you never know which will come first - the bus or being turned into a smoking shoe”. So ran one of the more printable riffs from Glasgow’s rudest comic.

Sadowitz doesn’t really do jokes. And for all the “professional jealousy” in his hatred for Michael McIntyre – greeted by a loud cheer – his humour is just as observational, but based around the darker sides of life and death.

The Glaswegian bemoans his comedy pariah status. Long shunned by television as too risky a foul-mouthed gamble, he complains loudly about 2016 being the year of too many celebrity deaths. But only because even their funerals were better attended than this gig.

After thirty minutes of this high-volume attack on everything, it’s a relief when the magician takes over. Sadowitz is genuinely one of the finest close-up sleight of hand magicians around. Tonight, however, he’s up on stage, messing around with tricks in the Tommy Cooper vein. Like Les Dawson’s piano playing, you need to be seriously talented to get things as beautifully wrong as this.

Occasionally, especially as the gig wears on, Sadowitz loses his place and stumbles over a few words. This might be a glimpse of the work that he puts into the routine, a quick peek ‘behind the scenes’ to show that this isn’t just stream of consciousness vitriol. Sadowitz himself makes reference to this as he teases the audience over whether he means what he says. “Of course I’m being ironic, but underneath there is another level of irony where I do mean this”...and so on and so on, like Russian dolls.

A few people walk out, presumably not finding it funny rather than being offended, for surely no-one can attend an evening with Jerry Sadowitz without expecting some toe-curling observations. At ninety minutes, and that’s enough to be honest, he finishes with a flurry of excellent call-back tricks and is gone, to the next boring town on his list.