If you know anything about comedian Jim Jefferies, it may be that he's Australian, that he has lived in the U.K., that he really likes to drink, and that he doesn't care if you're offended by anything that he says. On last night's Lopez Tonight, however, Jefferies informed the audience that his doctor told him he needed to quit drinking.
The Lopez Tonight audience clearly is made up of many women who love the idea of getting drunk. Jefferies learns them on how they're amateurs if they need drinking games to do so.
Also: You can say "shitload" on TBS.
Roll the clip!
For the second year, Just For Laughs Montreal is putting several of its shows into an offshoot called Zoofest, and this time, they're opening acknowledging it as the "off the wall parallel" to JFL. In other words, for all of the unique, interesting and possibly amazing one-person shows by performers who aren't headlining Galas or otherwise big-ticket names to Canadians, why don't you try Zoofest? "1 show for $15, 2 shows for $20" Or get a Zoopass for $29.99 (do I need to tell you these are in Canadian dollars) It's all about marketing, really.
What comedy fans want to know is who's going to be there this July? Why don't I tell you!
Bill Burr, "You People Are All The Same," July 12-16 at Theatre Ste-Catherine
Bo Burnham, "Words Words Words," July 12-15, 17 at Theatre Ste-Catherine
Donald Glover, "Gross!", July 12-17 at Katacombes
Jamie Kilstein, "No God, No War, No Nickelback," July 14-15, 17, at Theatre Ste-Catherine
Jim Jefferies, "Alcoholocaust," July 12-17 at Katacombes
"Kim Noble Will Die," July 12-7, 20-24 at Theatre La Chappelle
Noel Fielding Live, July 12-17 at Savoy at Metropolis
Patrice Oneal, "Mr. P," July 13-17 at Katacombes
Phil Nichol, "A Deadpan Poet Sings Quiet Songs Quietly," July 12-17 at Katacombes
Tim Key, "The Slutcracker," July 14-17 at Savoy at Metropolis
Tom Wrigglesworth, "An Open Letter to Richard Branson," July 12-17 at Savoy at Metropolis
Related: Zoofest ticket info.
I had the chance to spend more than a few minutes with comedian Jim Jeffries in his hotel room during the Just For Laughs Chicago comedy festival earlier this summer, and no, he did not touch me. Not physically. His website is now called Jim Jefferies, because that's his name now. Did you know that? You should, because I had told you he changed his name earlier this year for his first HBO special, which debuted in May. When I caught up with him in June, I asked him about the name change, plus got his thoughts on playing American comedy clubs, being known as an offensive comedian, and what he now knows about baseball, thanks to an autographed ball from Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. Jim Jefferies hosts tonight's taping of Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, kicking off four nights of tapings at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City.
OK. Enough intro. Want to know what Jim Jeffries' real name is? Roll the clips!
Jim Jeffries has his first HBO hour stand-up special debuting on Saturday, May 16, and the network has graciously fed the Internets with a few glimpses from the set, taped earlier this year in NYC. Jeffries, an Australian who made his comedy name in the U.K., is unabashedly not safe for work.
Also, typo alert? Nope. My sources tell me that Jim Jeffries has added the extra "E" to become Jim Jefferies because of the existence of another "Jim Jeffries" in the show business here in America. That may remind you of the time in the 1990s when a British band named Suede had to change its name here because a American lounge singer already had trademarked the name. I do not, however, believe that Scott Thompson changed his name to Carrot Top to avoid confusion with the Scott Thompson from Kids in the Hall.*
Anyhow. Here is Jim Jefferies arguing why pandas are dicks. Like I said, unabashedly NSFW. If you miss the debut May 16, HBO will rebroadcast I Swear to God on May 17-18, 22-24, 28, 31, and future dates.
*Fun self-referential fact? When I moved to Arizona, I quickly learned that there was another Sean McCarthy performing stand-up who had been there and moved to Los Angeles. When our paths eventually crossed, the other McCarthy -- who looks nothing like me and whose stand-up is nothing like mine -- boasted he already had his SAG card. No worries. Just one of the reasons I've always used my middle initial professionally.
More clips from Jim Jefferies after the jump!
This is an early review! HBO just taped four episodes of a new stand-up showcase, Down and Dirty with Jim Norton. It'll air this fall (update! debut is midnight Oct. 4, with other episodes premiering Oct. 11, 18, and 25) They taped two episodes last night and two tonight at the BergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey. At last night's tapings, things got, well, down and dirty.
Al Jackson, who I'm watching on Last Comic Standing as I type this, deserves special honors for his work warming up these rowdy crowds. He got some serious laughs and comedy points during the intermission between shows (an intermission that didn't allow the crowd to move) with material about being a teacher and a story involving his first trip to Starbucks.
Fans literally lined up around the block in this suburban Jersey town for the shows, which Norton promoted on his MySpace and via the Opie & Anthony show. Did I mention the crowds were rowdy? Alrighty then. I still haven't gotten full confirmation from HBO on this, but the first night's shows sure seemed like a suburban, white, rock version of Def Comedy Jam. Norton hosts all four shows and does about five to six minutes upfront, and there's a special podium set up for Lemmy from the band Motorhead, who introduces Norton and contributed the theme song. The fans clearly were on board with Norton from the get-go, welcoming him with a standing ovation.
In the first show, Norton opened with a funny bit about our past and present New York governors and their sexual tendencies. Russ Meneve came out first, and when some guy in the audience shouted out during Meneve's first bit, I got more than a bit worried that this crowd wouldn't know how to behave at a TV taping. They settled down, though. And they laughed and laughed. They gave Meneve an applause break when he joked that his last four girlfriends had died in sailing accidents. They continued laughing throughout the night. Joe DeRosa, whom I first encountered opening for a rowdy audience waiting for Dave Chappelle, certainly held his own with an opening bit about what life really is like for comedians on the road. Ari Shaffir went next, though, and attempted to steal the show when he ended his set with a joke about being ready for a blowjob anytime, demonstrating such by dropping his pants and his underpants for a full frontal moment. A moment that continued when he stood like that, then walked away with his pants still down. Hours later, Shaffir told me he didn't warn the HBO folks about his Full Monty moment, because he figured a warning might only result in HBO telling him not to do it. Then again, it is HBO. Moreover, he didn't really give them any chance to edit around his penis. So to speak. Let's see Carlos Mencia try to steal that bit. Norton's retort? "He looks like me, if I was taller and had a clit." Jim Jeffries got introduced as a special guest and had a funny opener about getting a ride home from an audition, followed by his story about coming down with a case of penis cancer. Audience naturally loved him. But they gave a standing ovation welcome to the first show's headliner, Andrew Dice Clay. Yep. He had his leather jacket, giant belt buckle, sunglasses and cigarette. No nursery rhymes. Instead, some different ancient premises that boiled down to dick jokes, black dick jokes (Siegfried and LeRoy???) that resulted in his philosophical outlook on how black men are ruining us. Or something like that.
The second show last night couldn't help but seem tamer. Norton opened that show with a few quick jokes about breaking up with his girlfriend (somehow Facebook alerted this to me first?!) before launching into his extensive breakdown of a video that I have seen (thank you, Joe Rogan?) of a man dying in Washington state a few years ago after allowing a horse to have sex with him. Indeed. I did say this show seemed tamer, though, and that was because the first few acts weren't quite as aggressive, even if they were still raunchy. Louis Katz introduced his own sex move, the Vengeful Louis, and closed with reasons why premature ejaculation is not necessarily a bad thing. Kevin Shea, introduced as Korean-born, also informed the crowd that he was college roommates with one of the YouTube founders-turned-billionaires. Jason Rouse, Canadian, living in England, started with a topic DeRosa had covered earlier but took it in a different direction. Rouse's jokes weren't just filthy but also somewhat misguided. After one joke, Rouse even said, "I know I'm going to Hell for that joke. But f#@k it, it's warm, and I'll know people there." Patrice Oneal closed out the second show with 15 minutes about how he's gotten creepy as he's gotten older. It's funny because it's true. But also because he's really not that creepy.
They filmed two more episodes tonight, with headliners Bill Burr and Artie Lange, and a lineup that looks more subversive (wish I'd seen that!) and includes Anthony Jeselnik, Whitney Cummings, Andy Andrist, Sean Rouse, Geoff Keith, Jacob Sirof and Jim Florentine.
The second and final night of AltCom saw a packed crowd of enthusiastic comedy fans at the Somerville Theatre on Saturday night. Certainly more of a buzz in the air. Then again, in comedy clubs across the country, 8 p.m. Saturday is considered the sweet spot for audiences, because those customers tend to have circled the date on their calendars, get all dolled up and are more than ready to laugh. So it was this night, too. More than a few in the crowd appeared to have arrived specifically to see headliner Patton Oswalt.
Boston-based comedians Myq Kaplan and Micah Sherman again opened with their warmly received rendition of the "Comedians National Anthem." But Saturday's show certainly had an unusual flow to it in terms of energy and material.
The Walsh Brothers, raised in nearby Charlestown but recently relocated to Los Angeles, got things going with an early gag on a seating upgrade for the fan with the worst seat in the house (Q-16?), inviting a young lady named Denise to come downstairs -- not to the front row, but to a chair Dave and Chris Walsh put onstage next to them. (Spoiler alert: Denise actually was local comedian and friend of the Walshes, Renata Tutko) The brothers then began by talking about their new neighborhood in Los Angeles, remarking on all the men who happened to be really good at dressing up as ladies. "Fool me once, shame on me," David said. "Fool me twice? (pause) You're good!" But what they really wanted to talk about -- and these brothers are known stylistically for their storytelling banter -- was something closer to home: The Fung Wah bus company. Ah, the Fung Wah. I've heard them talk about the Fung Wah more than once, and in fact, once called up David one noontime to tell him to turn on the local TV news when a bus had careened into a Mass Pike toll booth. This time, their story included a flourish I hadn't heard, though, about the idea to turn the Fung Wah into an amusement ride with special harnesses, having the bus hurtle down the Pike at 150 mph and then have the walls and the floor disappear. That'd be a way to get to NYC, I tells ya. The Walshes also got to close with their elaborate ad pitch for the Fung Wah, complete with a rockin' theme song backed by local band (and Walsh Brothers friendlies) The Grown-Up Noise. Playing it down the road in the basement at Jimmy Tingle's former theater is one thing, but on the big stage in front of 900 fans turns it into quite the production.
Which made the transition to Morgan Murphy more than slightly jarring. After a few minutes, though, Murphy got the audience adjusted to her pace and energy, and they were completely onboard with her proposal to do away with all of the pre-existing holidays and replace them with 12 Halloweens. Hard to believe, but Murphy flew all the way from Los Angeles on Saturday just for this show, then departed for her return Sunday morning. She deserves a prize for that. I don't know if they also give out prizes for ending your set with the word "cuntface," but it works for her!
Jim Jeffries followed and quickly ramped the energy in the room back up past 11. The "unhealthy Australian" who seems healthier by living in England proceeded to school the audience as to why kids should be exposed to pornography at an early age, why nondrinkers are boring people who should not be listened to, and why he'll end up being a TV spokesman for penis cancer. That last story, by the way, as colorfully told as it was, ended with a lengthy applause break from the audience. Perhaps sitting on the floor to tell part of the story helped soften the blow of some of his material. He's a charming bloke, that's for sure, so even if he's talking filth, it mostly goes over easy. So Jeffries wanted to reward these fans by closing his set with, as he put it, "my signature filth." Good luck following that!
Of course, Patton Oswalt would not need any luck headlining the showcase. He had fans in the crowd there to see him and clap loudly at any mention of a word that sounded like a previous bit. He opened topically with a tale reportedly from the night before in New York City, when he had a waiter tell him, "Have fun with that salad!" That led Oswalt into a routine about his current physical condition. Then, perhaps in an act of defiance against the nature of "alternative comedy" itself, he spent the next several minutes talking about flying on airplanes, and specifically, about JetBlue. It was funny enough. But still. Hmmm. I didn't get a chance to ask him about this afterward. In the meantime, Oswalt moved on to funny observations about the James Bond music and the inappropriate nature of his own real-life Bond experience involving a restaurant bathroom. I told you it was inappropriate. He then went current again by talking about the recent death of his grandmother, and how, leaving only one of his grandparents alive, whether it makes his grandmother Oswalt the "Highlander" of the family. Oswalt offered a look ahead at the 2008 presidential election, condensed into a four-second shouting match between his Egyptian cab driver and a black pedestrian. A long discourse about being an atheist but loving religion for all that it's given us over the centuries was followed, oddly, by an observation about self-checkout grocery stations. It was a set that went all over the place, but delivered to an audience that was willing to go anywhere Oswalt wanted to lead them. He acknowledged that getting interviewed by kids for last year's hit movie Ratatouille unnerved him deeply. He offered a delightully macabre vision of the birds and the bees as told by the oldest couple to reproduce, and then, by request, did his best Daniel Plainview impersonation from There Will Be Blood, putting the character played by Daniel Day-Lewis into all sorts of other occupations (and telling the audience that he'd love to have had his former job back writing for MADtv just so he could pitch this sketch). Oswalt closed his almost hourlong set by calling back and updating his now famous routine on the KFC Famous Bowl (related: he wrote about actually eating one earlier this year) with thoughts on how the bowl now includes a biscuit and the dangers of the newest test product, the MegaLeg.
Known friend of comedy Aimee Mann congratulated the comedians backstage (she happened to be in the neighborhood following her in-store performance at First Act Guitars in Boston), and Friday's performers such as Emo Philips and doktor cocacolamcdonalds also hung out, at least for the show. Afterward, Philips, Oswalt and Murphy all looked for a cab back to their hotels, while the rest of the crew took over the downstairs lounge at Redbones to celebrate the end of the inaugural festival. AltCom founder Brian Joyce beamed and talked of plans for next year. Jeffries said he'd just finished a long tour and was ready to get back home. Which reminds me, it's time for me to get back to the city, too.