There’s no pussyfooting around with Jim Jeffries. He’s a brutal comic, starting with a punchline about a pile of ugly dead Chinese babies, and rarely getting any more cheerful than that: Terrorism, war, cancer and paedophiles are all in his comedy lexicon,
His view is that human existence is cruel and bleak, and he indulges in all manner of potentially self-destructive behaviour to avoid that depressing fact - handily providing the audience with vicarious thrills. He knows drink and drugs are an anaesthetic, not the answer, which gives him the right to mock those misguided souls who think religion is the answer.
But there is a vulnerable charm to all this swagger. Whereas most shock comics present a cocksure confidence to the audience, Jeffries is, at heart, still the lost little boy being fucked over by his brother, and his honest, if sometimes uncomfortable, first-hand anecdotes add a personal touch to the offensive material contained in this show, which is an elaborated version of his 2007 Edinburgh offering.
That’s not always enough to satisfy every audience, however, and Jeffries is famous on the internet for being punched in the head. The footage of that incident, along with his blow-by-blow commentary, provides a central plank to Contraband. It’s the smack a career was built upon.
The only thing that lets it down are the production values. The ‘just point-and-shoot’ camerawork is fine, giving it a suitably rough and ready look, but the lighting in the Arts Theatre gives Jeffries an orange-red tinge previously only seen on Jodie Marsh. And the full punch-in-the-head footage, which Jeffries promises as an extra, isn’t actually there.Still, who buys stand-up DVDs for the camerawork? It’s the funnies you want, and that’s what Jeffries delivers, albeit in a slightly shambolic way.
|Sample joke:‘Women for me are like public toilets. They’re all dirty except for the disabled ones.’|
|Extras: The exact same show from 24hrs earlier ... though you'd probably need to be quite a devoted fan to compare and contrast the two. A seven-minute interview, and a two-minute vox pops conducted after the gig|
|Recorded at: Arts Theatre, London|
Click to buy from HMV at £14.99
|Main show running time: 72mins|
Release date: November 10, 2008
Jim Jeffries: Contraband