For the first time in 25 years, Jerry Sadowitz, ‘the world’s most offensive comedian’ is embarking on a national tour.
After making his name for visceral, bile-fuelled sets in which he said the un-sayable, the New-Jersey born and Scotland raised Sadowitz influenced a generation of imitators who have gone on to find far greater success.
It’s a fact that further maddens the already seething 49-year-old. I ask him why, despite his notoriety, we never see him on any of the endless comedy panel shows that litter the listings.
“The truth is that so many of the comics who present and appear in these shows regularly purloin my subject matter and comedy ethos to such a degree that neither they or their promoters and producers can look me in the face,“ he explains.
“Instead they hide behind the line that ’Jerry Sadowitz is difficult... you can’t work with him.’
“It’s a blessing maybe as I think these shows are dreadful, constantly putting a horrendously cozy spin on my stuff, which they now bundle under the heading of ’politically incorrect’ comedy.“
Does he consider himself forgotten, under-rated? “I’d like to say yes, but everything is rubbish in the end – so who cares? Certainly not the comedy going punters.“
Asked about his proudest moment he offers me this: “I recently saw an interview between Larry David and Ricky Gervais, where David said something about how original and great he thought Gevais’ stand up act was. I’ll make do with that.“
His comedy talents aren’t as overlooked as he might believe. In 2007 he was voted the 15th greatest comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups while his fans remain numerous – rare live appearances consistently sell out and his live DVDs are still best-sellers.
Surely then he’s looking forward to going back on the road? And why the long wait? “At this stage I have lost all enthusiasm for everything,“ he says. “I’m least looking forward to working very hard for nothing to less than half empty rooms, to people who will think that I am copying the copyists and the groupies won’t be there anyway as they’re too busy baby-sitting their grandkids.
“I have always wanted to tour, but could not find a promoter as I am not on television and therefore the promoters cannot make the hundreds of thousands of pounds that they are used to.
“Twenty five years later, I have found a promoter who loves comedy enough to put me out there at a loss. Virtually unheard of!“
His performances ruthlessly rip into anything and everything, a vile platter of unpalatable views. But amid the angry outbursts come punchlines so hard and unexpected you can’t help but laugh. With skits like Rabbi Burns (which imagines the Scottish poet as a Jew) and new material on Dale Farm, some audience members are bound to complain.
“They complain to me after every show,“ adds Sadowitz. “What worries me is that it’s always the same audience.“
Jerry Sadowitz is at Harlow Playhouse on October 30 at 7.30pm. Strictly adults only. Details: 01279 431945