Jim Jeffries: Hammered

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

The most common adjective attached to Jim Jeffries is probably offensive. But, in truth, he’s beyond offensive. Picking up a trick from heavy metal bands such as the one that inevitably plays him on, this filthy-mouthed Aussie has realised if you take things to excess with enough flamboyance, conviction and tongue-in-cheek theatre, it goes beyond pure sick and into the hilariously overblown.

That said, you probably shouldn’t go cracking any of his gags to the next Christian Union meeting. Or down the mosque for that matter. He is an equal opportunities offender, and will happily rip into nutty Islamists as much as the parasitic Christians.

His character – the word ‘persona’ might imply a fiction that’s not necessarily there – is of an angry, drunken, loudmouth, bar-room philosopher, wobbling on his barstool as he slurs: ‘And I tell you another thing…’ before setting out some odious philosophy. But the force of conviction and surprising internal logic momentarily tricks you into thinking it all makes sense. Of course it doesn’t, but you stick around to see just what outrageous outburst he’ll come up with next.

His first gag is about rape, and it’s pretty much downhill from there, if you can imagine such a thing. ‘Spastics’, burns victims, abused women who self-harm… they all feature in the depraved set.

Yet even if he is the champion of chauvinism and emperor of the sick, there’s a surprising charm behind it all. In his dissection of the Bible, for instance, he points out that people were much smaller 2,000 years ago, and paints rather a cute picture of pocket-sized prophets scampering around the Holy Land. Of course, if Christ really was as tiny as all this, it makes Jeffries literally bigger than Jesus.

There’s a vulnerability to him, too. For all his bragging of sexually humiliating women, what he really wants is a nice girl to settle down with, or so he says, but his libido always gets the better of him. Also, there’s a fleeting glimpse of a personal tragedy that again makes him more human, though he certainly doesn’t exploit the grief for comedy.

Life’s relentless blows colour his world view an even darker shade of black. Drink and drugs are the only escape from the misery of existence. Yes, some of this stuff is bleak – it’s not all cutesy mini-Messiahs. But he doesn’t like to dwell.

There are some great lines in here, despite – or, more likely, because of – their brutality. If comedy’s saying the unsayable, Jeffries has it nailed. Really, the only segment that doesn’t quite work is his run-in with Kelly Osbourne at the MTV awards, and that’s because we’ve already heard it in the world’s media.

About two-thirds into tonight’s gig, however, things take a turn for the weird. But I suspect that happens quite a lot in Jeffries’ boisterous shows. This time it’s nothing more that a strange spontaneous exodus of weak-bladdered punters needing the toilet simultaneously. Jeffries, unfazed by the sold-out crowd in the 400-seater Udderelly, riffs around it well, and gets a good ten minutes from one punter alone. But it does mean we never got to hear his thoughts on patriotism. I’d wager he’s against it. After all, he is against most things, especially moral boundaries.

But his hopeless nihilism, confident swagger and sick-but-intelligent mind combine in a show that’s as funny as it is abrasive… and that’s very.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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