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Canadian comedy tour drops Irish comic

TORONTO (JTA) — Canada’s leading comedy tour has dropped an Irish comic for his anti-Semitic remarks about Jews and the Holocaust.

Tommy Tiernan was scheduled for a 14-city cross-Canada tour beginning Oct. 28. Stops were to have included Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

Organizers of the Just for Laughs tour announced Oct. 8 that Tiernan’s performance had been dropped.

"Both parties agreed that it’s better that he not be on this tour," tour spokeswoman Lisa Lee told the Toronto Star. "He deeply regrets any hurt he has caused."

Last month at a music festival in Ireland, Tiernan referred to Jews as "f—king Christ-killing bastards," and went on to say "F—king 6 million? I would have got 10 or 12 million out of that. No f—king problem! F–k them. Two at a time, they would have gone. Hold hands, get in there. Leave us your teeth and your glasses."

In a statement quoted by the Toronto Star, Tiernan said he was "quite bewildered" by the uproar and had not intended to cause "hurt to others."

"The things that I said in front of a live audience were in an attempt to explain my belief that one of the duties of the comic performer is to be reckless and irresponsible, and that the things that they say should never be taken out of context."

He said he was merely trying to parody extremism.

Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber said the CJC "had conversations with the Just for Laughs people" to "offer our services." He stressed that the congress did not call for the festival to drop Tiernan.

Tiernan "happens to be a very edgy comedian … one of these new very edgy guys. I don’t believe he’s an anti-Semite, but what he said was absolutely repulsive," Farber told JTA. "Comedians are always looking for that edge. Tiernan went to the edge and quite clearly fell over."

The comic has been invited to the Holocaust Centre of Toronto to meet with survivors because "we wanted to demonstrate to him that what he was engaged in was not comedy."
 

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