"Father Ted" creator Graham Linehan said it was important to "make a stand" and hold an impromptu show on the streets of Edinburgh after his show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was canceled twice due to concerns over his anti-trans views.
Graham Linehan held an impromptu performance outside Scottish Parliament on Thursday after two venues refused to host his show.
Around 100 people attended the performance, which took place on a temporary stage erected outside the Holyrood Building.
Linehan told the BBC that he "refused to be canceled" after Leith Arches pulled out of hosting his show due to concerns over Linehan's anti-trans views.
"It is important to make a stand. It is important to at least stand in front of a microphone, even if it's just for a second, and show that these people don't get to push the rest of us around," Linehan told BBC Scotland News.
After Leith Arches canceled, organizer Comedy Unleashed announced that it secured a second venue for Linehan's show but later announced that the second venue had also pulled out.
Comedy Unleashed co-founder Andy Shaw told the Guardian that he understood why the second venue had canceled.
"I just think it’s become such a big issue that people are just getting cold feet and don’t want the attention," Shaw told the Guardian.
Comedy Unleashed later organized the impromptu gig outside Scottish Parliament, which featured Linehan and four other comedians.
Shaw told the BBC that it was probably the "hardest gig" he has ever had to organize.
"Graham's views on other matters are Graham's views on other matters and really it's a big, big pity that all the attention has been on Graham's views around the trans issue and not around the principle of free expression in the art and free speech which is actually what has happened here," Shaw told the BBC.
"We've had a gig canceled and very few people have come forward to say this is wrong - in Edinburgh, the home of the enlightenment and during the biggest comedy festival in the world."
Shaw said Comedy Unleashed was not attempting to make a political statement by hosting the impromptu show outside Scottish Parliament.
Linehan, who co-wrote "Father Ted" with Arthur Matthews, has consistently provoked controversy by becoming involved with social media disputes with trans activists and was banned from Twitter in 2020 over his anti-trans views.
His account has since been restored, but he remains a divisive figure.
Leith Arches said it canceled Linehan's show because it did not support Linehan or his views.
The Irish comedian told the BBC that he found it "extraordinary" that his views were classed as bigotry.
Linehan has previously stated that he is considering legal action against Leith Arches for discrimination on the grounds that gender-critical beliefs are protected under the Equality Act.