Comedy Review: Jerry Sadowitz’s Card Magic
OverviewAct: Jerry Sadowitz
Pros:Incomparably funny, amazing magic tricks, aggression that can only be achieved with a Scottish accent.
Cons:The tone of the comedy is likely to turn off all but the most tolerant.
The infamous Jerry Sadowitz emerges from seclusion to take on the world again.
‘You must be very confused at this point,’ admits Sadowitz to the audience in an uncharacteristically calm voice, ‘because your ticket says “Magic Show”, and I’ve done fuck all.’ No one minds. In fact, the majority of the crowd can’t even try to complain as they’re doubled over in pain from laughing so hard, some looking like they’re having genuine trouble breathing. They’ve endured a twenty-minute salvo of political and social commentary, coming in flavours of piercing and absurdist, delivered with the subtlety of a tornado passing through a sledgehammer factory. Jimmy Carr, John Terry, CERN, the Greeks, religions, David Copperfield, David Blaine, the Scottish, the Jews, Scottish Jews, South London, the Olympics, numeracy, LIBOR and the world’s worst heckler in the audience have all been verbally torn asunder with a vicious and terrifying precision, and the show hasn’t even started yet. Jerry Sadowitz tells the sort of jokes that would see him hanged in most countries of the world. ‘I’m just going to walk on again and we’ll do it properly, yeah?’ He ducks behind the curtain and re-emerges to rapturous applause.
Jerry Sadowitz has long held the reputation as one of the most notorious comedians ever, and it’s not hard to see why. His performances in the past have been categorised as racist, sexist and most anything else you can fit –ist after. In truth, he plays a character, just not a character with feelings other than anger and disgust in him, or that you’re supposed to warm to. A self-described ‘nice guy, just a little fucked-up’, Sadowitz’s shows haven’t always gone down as well as tonight’s. He infamously opened his debut performance at the Just For Laughs festival in Canada a few years ago, in as coarse and violent a Scottish accent as you can get, by shouting ‘Hello, Moosefuckers! Do you know what the problem with Canada is? Half of you speak French and the other half of you fucking let them.’ The show ended seconds later when a man rushed the stage and sent Sadowitz to the hospital with a strong right hook. By contrast this evening, it’s probably the best compliment he’ll ever give to an audience by saying thanks for coming to watching him in ‘a fucking circus tent’.
Maybe a circus tent is apt, because his performance is a true ringside spectacle. His magic tricks are flawlessly accomplished. Sadowitz is one of the quickest card dealers you’re ever likely to see, and one of the most respected names in modern magic. He taught Derren Brown lots of his tricks along the way and got the mentalist his first big break. ‘If it hadn’t been for Jerry, I wouldn’t be bothering you at all,’ Brown has remarked in the past. Not that their friendship excuses him from being the subject of Sadowitz’s ire; Brown gets it with both barrels. Someone in the crowd leaves without a smile before we are treated to a plentiful supply of card and money-based magic, interspersed with further ravings, putting the swear counts of both Casino and South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut to shame. His final tricks are masterpieces of magic and comedy, perfectly honed. By the time he finishes, having put on a show twice as long as most stand-ups, a chant of ‘Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!’ begins.
The vox populi on Twitter afterwards is unanimous in its approval. Most who have exited the tent likely will never laugh as much again. One woman claims he’s lost some of his edge, but God only knows where more could fit in the show. Sadowitz is a genius. A challenging and clearly disturbed genius, but a genius nonetheless. He is by no means for everyone (he is more accurately described as suitable for almost no one) and is likely to remain a cult figure for the rest of his career, with almost no mainstream appeal to him at all. Controversial and immoral he may be, but the world would be a much sadder place without him.