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Comedy: The show that taste forgot

The word "dangerous" clings to Jerry Sadowitz (right) like a limpet to a rock. It stems from a period when TV commissioning editors found his incendiary material too hot to handle and a member of the audience came on stage at the Montreal Comedy Festival to whack him after an offensive remark.

It's still a tag that Sadowitz isn't comfortable with. "Dangerous is one of my least favourite words. You're either funny or you're not - other qualities come after the fact. If by dangerous you mean, `Am I willing to say anything, at risk to my physical well-being?', then the answer is `yes'."

He certainly proves as much in Bib and Bob, his sketch-show with Logan Murray at the Criterion Theatre. Their act comprises an hour of material that taste forgot. No subject is beyond the pale. You find yourself guiltily laughing at such topics as paedophilia, homelessness and disease.

It is, apparently, Sadowitz's mission to be as difficult as humanly possible. "I'm worried people might enjoy the show," he laughs. "I like to go for the complete package. Bib and Bob is late- night, it's difficult to get home afterwards, and you have to sit through an evening of offensive, outrageous, puerile filth. That way we'll get people to hate us. It's a long-term career strategy."

It's obviously not working very well, as he currently has a successful Channel 5 TV show (The People vs Jerry Sadowitz) and a West End run. He has even appeared on TFI Friday. For all that, he still remains bizarrely driven by self-loathing. "I hate myself. A lot of performers say that they're tossers on stage, but I say it in real life. My punishment when I die will simply be God showing me a video recording of my life and saying, `look what you did'. It will be painstakingly pointed out that everything that went wrong was my fault. I've always been in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Ever perverse, Sadowitz's low self-esteem extends to down-playing his hopes for Bib and Bob. "When I go on stage, I expect to be deafened by snoring. I'd advocate that people don't come. If they do, I'd say, `Enjoy the show, but afterwards get some advice and ask yourself some serious questions'."

`Bib and Bob' is at the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, SW1 (0171-369 1747) 5-9 May


Musical comedy is one of the hardest acts to pull off because the chances are that one of the two vital elements will be sub-standard. What makes Bill Bailey so unusual is the high quality of both his music and his comedy. Go and lap up such delights as the 1960s Belgian jazz version of the Dr Who theme tune as he embarks on a national tour. Cambridge Corn Exchange (01223 357851) tomorrow, and High Wycombe Swan (01494 512000) 8 May