Jim Jeffries: Second Coming [Montreal 2007]

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

For an hour, Jim Jeffries lets rip a savage tirade of offensive, boorish, nasty, violent, misogynistic, politically incorrect, intolerant filth. But in a good way.

His trick is to come across as quite charming, vulnerable even, while whipping up this maelstrom of vileness. Quite how he achieves this paradox is difficult to say. But if you don’t mind your comedy cruel and dirty, Jeffries certainly packages it in a surprisingly amenable way.

You can’t crack jokes about the mentally ill, about cancer, about ‘broken’ vaginas without getting the occasional gasp of horror. But with Jeffries the more common reaction is a laugh – a guilty laugh, granted – but evidence that the comedy overpowers the shock.

In this show, a reworked, de-anglicised version of the show he took to Edinburgh last year, mixes this fiercely unpleasant material with an impressive demonstration of storytelling abilities. Sometimes – as in the case of his getting a sex-shop love egg jammed in his colon – both at the same time.

The anecdotes that most sets up sympathy for him, however, is the tale of an armed raid on the house he shared with fellow Australian stand-up Steve Hughes – the crooks convinced that their victims’ lifestyle was that of drug-dealers. It is a harrowing experience, which Jeffries recounts with underplayed drama, but also an eye for finding a joke in any situation.

It’s impressive stuff – and proves that laughing at things you oughtn’t isn’t confined to the traditional excess of ‘nasty’ comedy, at which he specialises. Laughter is supposed to be a way of exorcising demons, of mocking our fears, and that’s the role Jeffries fulfils.

Knifemen notwithstanding, Jeffries seems to be the sort of person forever stumbling from one bizarre incident to the next, without really thinking. An impression of the hapless innocent only reinforced with his slightly slurred delivery and generally bemused demeanour possibly exacerbated by drug-taking.

The scrapes range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Millions have already seen him be twatted around the head by an irate Comedy Store punter in Manchester, but he’ll also tell of the time he wound up accidentally picking up a man in a South African gay bar. More seriously, there are mentions of abuse by a scoutmaster and a cancerous growth – but these are never mawkish, or overly-dramatised, just everyday conversations about unlikely things he sees humour in.

The obscene stuff gives him the ‘bad boy’ reputation, but it’s these abilities to spin a yarn with wit and unexpected modesty that will really make his name.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
July 18, 2007

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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