THE comedian Graham Linehan has said he has “never seen anything as insane” as his exclusion from the Edinburgh Fringe because of his gender critical views.

After two venues cancelled the show in which he was due to appear, the Father Ted writer finally performed to around 120 people outside Holyrood this evening.

He and three other comics appeared in the Comedy Unleashed show after being dropped by Leith Arches on Tuesday because of Mr Linehan’s views on sex and gender.

The show was then ditched by a second, fall-back venue earlier today.

Mr Linehan, a vocal critic of the trans rights movement, performed for just over 10 minutes, doing uncontroversial if dark jokes about animals, Netflix, and having testicular cancer.

However at the end of a hesitant set that was occasionally drowned out by traffic noise, he directly addressed the row that forced the show to take place at the parliament.

The Herald:

He told the crowd: “It’s been such a strange day.

"I just wanted to say… first of all, I’m really sorry you got messed around today. 

“As you can tell, despite the animal cruelty, there’s not really much to these jokes.

“It’s just insane. I've been fighting this stuff for five years and I’ve never seen anything as insane as the last two days.

“And I keep asking people what I’ve said wrong and what I’m saying wrong in this fight about women’s spaces, about children being mutilated and sterilised in gender clinics, and about the women who are being harassed and threatened for standing up to it.”

After being cheered and applauded, he went on: “Comedy is my first love, it’s the thing I love to do. But I’ve not been allowed to do that for five years.

"This is just what I decided to do to keep my toe in the water, a couple of silly jokes, and they can’t even let me do that.”

His remarks drew more cheers from the audience. 

The show, which had been originally scheduled to last two and half hours, wrapped up in less than one.

Comedy Unleashed bills itself as "the home of free-thinking comedy."

Mr Linehan, who also the TV hits the IT Crowd and Black Books, made his stand-up debut with the club in February, and has made three further appearances.

A planned musical version of Father Ted has also been abandoned with producers saying the writer's involvement made the show impossible to stage.

Earlier this week, Mr Linehan told TalkTV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer he would consider suing Leith Arches for cancelling his gig if it refused to take him back.

He said: “It was a sell-out. But you do get used to this kind of thing after a while. It never really makes you feel good.

“If they apologise and put the gig on, I’ll say no more about it, but otherwise I’ll be looking at legal action.”

Leith Arches said on Wednesday: “It was brought to our attention at the very last minute of the very controversial line-up.

“We work very closely with the LGBT+ community, it is a considerable part of our revenue, we believe hosting this one-off show would have a negative effect on future bookings.”

Comedian Andrew Doyle, who is due to appear alongside Linehan at another scheduled Comedy Unleashed show in London next month, said: “It is astonishing that a comedy night at the largest arts festival in the world should be prevented from going ahead, simply because activists are offended.

“The comedy industry is in a dire state. It’s about time that promoters, venues, comedy critics and comedians made a concerted effort to support free expression in the arts.”