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Saturday 13th August 2022


I had a dream that my other testicle had got huge and heavy. In the morning I wasn’t quite sure if it had been a dream or if it had really happened and was a bit scared. Then I remembered that I had realised that the ball was so big because I had felt both of them and the difference was noticeable. But (and I know I haven’t really mentioned this before) I only have one ball, so that cleared up any doubt about whether this was real or not. The spectre of the return of cancer does hang over you though. 
The finish line is in sight for my Fringe 2022 and today was the penultimate show. The guest was Sanjeev Kohli who amazingly I have never met before. He was a very good talker which is something of a relief during a run of a dozen shows and I was able to sit back and listen and not have to interject too much. Sanjeev was very funny and we covered a small part of his impressive career, but the time flew by.
For the second day in a row I took the afternoon for myself and sat reading my new book about the Lewis Chessmen in cafes and trying to keep up with the York City score despite variable internet. It looked like the Minstermen might be heading to the top spot after two matches and have the only 100% record in their league. But whilst I couldn’t get online the non-York team scored two quick goals and so normal service was resumed.
I went to see Omid Djalili’s stand-up ahead of his appearance on RHLSTP tomorrow. He is such an incredible performer, shamelessly getting the audience to give him a standing ovation before he had even started and using his considerable charm and cheekiness to play around with jokes that might get another comedian into trouble and then blame the audience for laughing. It’s terrific fun and you get swept along by this huge personality, who subtly undermines the facade of performance. I know it was Saturday (though early evening) but his audience had very small bladders and also an inability to come down the stairs without stomping. Omid coped with it well, but it was weird and distracting. It felt like a DIck and Dom style competition to see who could exit the room making the most possible noise. One would suspect some afternoon drinking, but I would be ashamed (and have been) about my pathetic bladder skills, rather than bouncing down the stairs and letting everyone know.
I was saddened to see that Jerry Sadowitz has had his second of two performances cancelled by the Pleasance. Jerry was one of the first acts I ever saw at the Fringe back in 87 and is a master of offence and over the years I have found his shows challenging and upsetting. Which is what they are supposed to be. It is more theatre than comedy in some ways and to complain about him being offensive is like asking the actor who plays Macbeth to be arrested for murder. His audience should know what they’re getting into, as should any theatre that books him. Ultimately it works as an act, because it’s about self-hatred and Jerry is the lowest of the low, striking out at everyone, saying things he shouldn’t say without discrimination (ie he is terribly offensive about everyone), railing against the Universe because of his own unhappiness with his lot. I can’t tell you how much truth there is in it, but the joke is on Jerry and his shows are an incredible rollercoaster and one that comes with a warning. Last time I saw him he really challenged my sensibilities on a number of topics and made me feel very shocked and even unhappy. Which is why it was an amazing show. Good to be challenged.
I don’t know the full details of what caused his show to be cancelled, though it seems to be because the set didn’t conform to the values of the Pleasance, so it is likely to be about him using forbidden words. But that’s the point of him. So the Pleasance should have made that decision before they put him on at all. It’s not like he’s a new act. Whatever the truth it is another example of the Fringe not feeling very Fringey this year and whether he’s guilty of something unforgiveable or not, it made me unhappy to hear about it. Jerry has nothing but disdain for me (at least in the occasional mentions in his act), but that doesn’t stop me wanting him to be able to carry on what he’s doing. 

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