Jerry Sadowitz: Wikis


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Jerry Sadowitz
Birth name Jerry Sadowitz
Born 4 November 1961 (1961-11-04) (age 48)
New Jersey, U.S.
Medium Stand-Up, Magic
Nationality Scottish
Genres Offensive/Blue
Influences Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Lenny Bruce
Notable works and roles The Total Abuse Video
Website Official website

Jerry Sadowitz (born 4 November 1961[1]) is an American-born Scottish stand-up comic and card magician, known for his frequently controversial "sick humour". An accomplished practitioner of sleight of hand, he has written several books on magic and invented many conjuring innovations. He is widely acclaimed as one of the best close-up magicians in the business.[2] In 2006, Sadowitz was voted the world's 15th greatest stand-up comedian in the Channel 4 production One Hundred Greatest Stand-Ups.[3]


Comedy style

An early influence were the Derek & Clive sketches by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, which much of his comedy emulates in its provocativeness and sheer offensiveness (he once described the Derek & Clive duologues as "comic poetry"). His earliest inspiration in stand up comedy was Alexei Sayle.

He often comments in a seemingly callous way on contemporary disasters and tragedies which have struck groups or individuals. He uses obscene language liberally and to cutting comedic effect. His comedy style combines the visual traditions of the magician, often using gaudy conjuring props, with political social and cultural observations which deliberately challenge the norms, taboos and transient sensitivities of contemporary culture. To this end, he is knowingly and deliberately offensive and sits firmly in the tradition of the "sick comic" established by Lenny Bruce.

He reacted against the alternative comedy movement by dealing in an aggressive and uncompromising way with issues of race and gender which challenged the prevailing orthodoxy of the alternative comedy culture. Outbursts of his savage comedy during his conjuring shows have sometimes alienated him from the more conservative magic community.


Born in New Jersey to a Jewish family, Sadowitz was brought up in Glasgow, Scotland and attended Shawlands Academy. Following the breakdown of his parents' marriage, his mother returned to her native Scotland. A sickly child, Sadowitz took an interest in magic while still at school.

Some of his earliest performances as a magician, with comic asides, were at a Glasgow pub (the Weavers Inn) run by future comedienne Janey Godley. He first came to prominence as a comedian in London in the early 1980s and was, for a time considered part of the alternative comedy movement. While living in Scotland he would travel down to appear at The Comedy Store in London by express coach. In his early days he was managed by anarchic comedian and club proprietor Malcolm Hardee, whose provocative selling line was that Sadowitz was too shocking to appear on TV; this may have actively put off TV producers from booking him. As a bet with fellow comic Nick Revell, he produced one of his most famous lines of that era: "Nelson Mandela, what a cunt. Terry Waite, bastard. I dunno, you lend some people a fiver, you never see them again."

While still with Hardee, Sadowitz's hit 1987 Edinburgh Fringe show Total Abuse was turned into the album Gobshite, but was soon withdrawn due to fears it may have libeled Jimmy Savile. After a brief run as a columnist for Time Out magazine, he embarked on the Lose Your Comic Virginity tour in 1989. At this time he was no longer being managed by Malcolm Hardee but by Jon Thoday's fledgling Avalon management company. This tour culminated in a show at the Dominion Theatre in London, the climax of which was an illusion in which he appeared from the rear of the auditorium wearing a kilt and a huge plastic phallus from which he proceeded to spray the audience.

Much of the material from this tour was 'borrowed' by Bing Hitler (Craig Ferguson), much to the irritation of Sadowitz. Around 1990 there was a brief flirtation with fame in Scotland but local media soon turned on his lack of cooperation leading to what amounts to be an exile, Sadowitz now rarely performs in Scotland.

In 1991 at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal he was knocked unconscious by an irate audience member during a performance which mocked French Canadians, starting with the greeting "Hello moosefuckers! I tell you why I hate Canada, half of you speak French, and the other half let them."[4]

In 1992 he appeared in his own television show The Pall Bearer's Revue. This name was taken from an old magic magazine. This show attracted a record number of complaints [5] and has never been repeated. The BBC has stated that this show will never be re-aired or released on video/DVD.

In the 1990s he was part of a short-lived double act with Logan Murray, in the shows Bib & Bob and Late Night Filth. His work with Murray took the form of sketches aimed at alienating almost everyone, including stamping on a blow-up doll of the recently deceased Linda McCartney, and tipping Logan Murray, dressed as Superman, out of a wheelchair into the audience (a reference to the paralysis of Christopher Reeve). At one point he spat in the face of a drunken heckler who was constantly interrupting the show. His final act was to strip naked and run for a few minutes across the stage, prompting a mixture of disgust and hilarity from the audience.

Sadowitz also appeared in the music video of The Shamen's UK number 1 hit from 1992 "Ebeneezer Goode", and helped get Derren Brown his first shows on Channel 4[6].

In 1999 he performed for a month at the Penny Theatre in Camden, London, performing close-up magic to 30 people at a time. In recent years he has performed more of these close up magic shows in smaller venues where the focus has been on the tricks and the offensive patter forming an incidental, yet still angry and obscene, part of the act. He performed two separate shows at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe, a stand up comedy show (Not For The Easily Offended) at The Queens Hall and Jerry Sadowitz - Card Tricks & Close Up Magic at The Assembly Rooms. The comedy show included a character named "Rabbi Burns", a cross between a Jew and the famous Scottish poet. He performed a similar series of shows at the Soho Theatre in London between December 2006 and January 2007.

In 2006 he broke the Soho box office record for ticket sales when he performed his close up magic show at the Soho Theatre.[7] In 2007 his Edinburgh show "Comedian, Magician, Psychopath" at the Smirnoff Cowgate sold out.

In early 2008 Sadowitz posted a photo of his penis on his website. The offending photo can be found in the "Bollocks" section of his site. Moreover, it is rumoured - although not substantiated - that this resulted in UK television's Channel 5 withdrawing an offer of a comedy/magic series.

In March 2008 as part of the Glasgow Comedy Festival Sadowitz sold out the prestigious Glasgow Theatre Royal. Sadowitz performed the show, "Comedian, Magician, Psychopath 2: Because I Still Have to Pay the Rent" at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in 2008. In December 2008 Sadowitz sold out the Queen Elizabeth Hall in Southbank, London.

In March 2010 he masturbated on stage at the end of a comedy show in the Leicester Square Theatre, London.

Television credits


  • Alternative Card Magic: Jerry Sadowitz & Peter Duffie (1982)
  • Contemporary Card Magic: Jerry Sadowitz & Peter Duffie (1984)
  • Cards Hit (1984)
  • Inspirations: Jerry Sadowitz & Peter Duffie (1987)
  • Cards on the Table (1988)
  • Out of Sight (1993)
  • The Marenzal Reverse (undated)
  • Thanks to Zarrow (1997)
  • Cut Controls (2004)
  • Dr. Norman Nutjobs 50 Close-Up Problems (2005)
  • The Crimp magazine (1992–2009)



  1. ^ "Jerry Sadowitz". The Comedy Zone. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  2. ^ Maxwell, Domonic (August 15, 2007). "Jerry Sadowitz". The Times. 
  3. ^ "One Hundred Greatest Stand-Ups". Channel 4. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  4. ^ "Jerry Sadowitz". Mystic Games. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Maxwell, Dominic (2009-06-01). "Derren Brown: mind over magic". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  7. ^ Maxwell, Domonic (August 15, 2007). "Jerry Sadowitz". The Times. 

External links

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