The Vancouver comedy club Little Mountain Gallery (LMG) cancelled Canadian comedian Sophie Buddle’s performance in May after a fellow comic complained about an ‘offensive’ joke she made last year referencing residential schools.
Buddle landed herself in hot water in 2022 after she referenced residential schools in a joke about a Catholic friend who couldn’t get an abortion. Buddle’s performance was aired as a Crave special.
“We all know Catholics love a loophole. They’re like lawyers, you know what I mean? They love a loophole. So she figured out what she has to do, she has to have the child then she has to kill it and bury it at a residential school,” Buddle said.
The controversial comments have since led Vancouver’s LMG to cancel Buddle from their line-up a few months back, but it wasn’t until yesterday that the venue issued a statement explaining the rationale behind the decision.
“In late May, a comic contacted LMG to say they were not comfortable performing at our space if we hosted a comedian who was booked to perform that month,” wrote the venue.
“LMG was asked if hosting this comedian was consistent with our community standards because of a joke they made at a different venue in 2022, which was hurtful and offensive to many people.”
The comic in question was Sasha Mark, who revealed on Instagram that he contacted LMG about Buddle because of the allegedly hurtful past joke and was involved in an ongoing discussion with the venue. Mark was also identified by LMG as the complainant on social media.
According to LMG’s Board of Directors, it was the first time they have ever cancelled a comedian over such a matter and relied on the advice of “diversity, equity and inclusion” consultants.
“In June, we hired consultants to review LMG’s policies and standards through a DEI lens to address any potential organizational gaps, and that work is ongoing. We have communicated these steps to the comic who raised the issue, and greatly appreciate the outreach,” claimed the venue.
“To be clear, we do not support the joke at the root of this complaint. It is a priority for LMG’s work to listen to the voices of marginalized performers as we take inclusion and equity seriously and will take the learnings from this experience to heart in the future.”
True North identified Buddle as the performer in question based on statements made by Mark on Instagram referencing her Crave special and past jokes. Attempts to reach both Buddle’s talent agency Omnipop Talent Group and Little Mountain Gallery went unanswered by the time of publication.
Buddle, who was raised with a Jewish and Catholic background, said on Instagram in 2022 that the joke was edited out of context and that she was trying to emphasize “the disgusting actions by the Catholic Church against Indigenous Peoples.”
Buddle has also said in the past that she identifies as a progressive politically.
“I know dark comedy is not for everyone but I wanted to say that the residential schools in Canada are by far the worst thing I’ve ever learned about Canadian history and I was so horrified when the news broke I wanted to use whatever platform I had to not let people forget it,” said Buddle on Instagram.
“As a Jewish woman I do also get that you have to defend your group for what you see to be something attacking you, because who else will, so I don’t fault any of these comments or reactions to this (albeit small) slice of a joke.”
Crave even temporarily removed Buddle’s special from the platform at the time and edited out the portion of the joke.
Buddle has made several notable appearances in her career including landing spots at the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central and the Late Show with James Cordon.