Comedian in Focus: Jim Jeffries

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Australian Geoff James Nugent, more commonly known as Jim Jefferies, has divided opinion throughout his entire career as a comedian. Gathering reviews from either end of the critical spectrum, it is fair to say that Jefferies surrounds himself with controversy, advertently attempting to push society’s limits on dark humour every time he steps out on stage. In short, any fan of Jim Jefferies will tell you that the foul-mouthed Australian has no line, and this fearless attitude towards comedy is either adored or scorned by respective reviewers. Everybody has a guilty pleasure and mine, without question, is Jim Jefferies.

In my opinion, comedy and humour is based solely on exaggeration. If you were to examine any comedic form, such as slapstick or observational for example, it is clear that the humour is mostly created through an exaggerated take on real life. It is the same format with Jim Jefferies’ dark comedy, except, of course, it is important that the audience realises that the material is farcical and outlandish. Jefferies often enjoys playing with the audience, as he jested in Brisbane once: “I would advise you not to go to work tomorrow and try to retell my jokes”. Therefore, it is evident to everybody, including Jefferies himself, that his work can be inappropriate – that’s the comedic angle and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Although I have unfortunately never seen Jefferies live, I have been lucky enough to see most of his shows online, whether through YouTube or Netflix, and it’s got to a stage where I watch them on repeat! In every show, the set-up is the same; a cynical and carefree comedian either challenging society or sharing his personal anecdotes whilst drinking beer. In fact, Jefferies claims that “if you don’t drink, then all of your stories suck and end with: and then I got home…”, so clearly he feels that his stories and anecdotes are told better with a beer in hand! The laid back approach towards the delivery of his material is second to none, and is, in my opinion, the main reason why his jokes are so funny – it also makes it all the more humorous when he rants and loses his temper. Jefferies plays a character when he steps out on stage, and the bigoted style should be viewed as parodic rather than offensive. Once audiences started watching his comedy with this outlook, Jefferies became a hugely successful comedian despite the controversy.

However, his comedy stretches so much further than just dark humour. Arguably his most famous sketch is his comment on gun control in America, where he rants and disagrees with an American’s right to possess guns. He wittily mocks gun-enthusiasts by claiming that they only have one argument for owning guns:

“F*ck off, I like guns!” jokes Jim Jefferies in BARE, commenting on the most recent mass-shooting in America.

The video clip from his show shortly went viral and sparked a debate in whether the law should be looked at again. This kind of influence clearly shows the impact Jefferies’ comedy can have on audiences. Although most of his material is obviously ridiculous, from time to time the comedian can speak a lot of sense!

In my opinion, Jim Jefferies is an example of a triple-threat comedian; he has the perfect balance between expert material, dry and cynical delivery and unparalleled confidence.

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