Jim Jefferies takes down the house

Will Tonic and Jim Jefferies in Tulalip, April 5th

Will Tonic and Jim Jefferies in Tulalip, April 5th 

On Friday, April 5th, in Tulalip, Washington, Jim Jefferies performed to a capacity crowd of over 2,600 people. The audience that night was electric and Jefferies, an Australian expat comedian, had them in hysterics as he broached such provocative topics as masturbation, disability, and US politics.

With a brand new television show, Legit on FX, along with three successful comedy specials, Jefferies is a comedian on the rise. His brand of comedy is offensive, excessive, sometimes misogynistic, and quite frankly …hilarious.

In Tulalip, most of the crowd knew what they were getting into, but not the people in the front three rows. In Casinos, those seats are generally reserved for the ‘high-rollers’ and this theatre was no different. But, instead of catering to the money-men, Jefferies levelled them with punchlines. He ridiculed their dates, their ages, even their hair – nothing was off limits. The audience loved every blow. That’s until Jeffries hit on an American sore spot: gun control.

At that point, the crowd became tense. People seemed defensive and uncomfortable. Some were indignant. One woman actually got up and marched out. The crowd had no problem with jokes about physically hurting babies, but restricting the ownership of fully automatic weapons was too much for some.

Despite this hiccup Jefferies got the crowd back when he talked about how he struggled to find a disabled actor to star in his new television show. Apparently the casting was a disaster. Who knew that disabled actors were so hard to find? Jefferies didn’t. In fact, most everyone he interviewed was faking to get the gig and Jefferies was so taken in by their desperation that he even carried one to his car – method!

Jefferies is equal parts offensive and endearing. He manages to tell jokes that few others would even try to get away with. He seems to revel in that awkward space where his audience is on the verge of walking out , but remain hesitant to miss anything he might say next.

As offensive as his on-stage persona is off-stage he’s a super nice guy. In Tulalip he spent a full hour between shows greeting audience members, signing autographs and smiling for the camera even though he was to perform a second show an hour later,

When he returned to the stage he delivered a second edgy show. The audience for its part offered up a standing ovation – well “mostly standing”. As Jeffries pointed out some of the customers were in wheelchairs.

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April 2013
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