The Brilliant, Authentic, Jim Jefferies is a one-of-a-kind comedian in this modern era. He will either have you splitting your sides with laughter…or you may form part of a small group in the audience gritting their teeth and wishing they could punch his lights out. A 2017 Comedy Central Press Release hailed him as bringing ‘an inquisitive and international point of view’ to the world of comedy.
With his charm and brutal honesty, he pushes the boundaries with every show. Audiences all over the world love his authenticity while some are offended. That’s just the effect he has on audiences all over the world. Jim is not afraid to put sacred cows on the altar of brutal comedic honesty. Be it political, cultural, gender, or religious, nothing escapes his brilliant mind and sharp, wicked wit.
Jim owns his natural flair – or gift – for funny story-telling with a depth that surprises his audience, forcing them to own who they are and take a stand. But, whether you adore every Jim Jefferies show or never want to hear his name mentioned in front of the kids, grandma, and pets, no one can argue with the fact that he brings a raw, fresh dimension to stand-up comedy.
Born Geoff James Nugent, in Sydney, Australia in 1977, he moved to Perth to study musical theatre and classical music at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts but dropped out a few months before graduating. He returned to his native Sydney to start a career in stand-up comedy before relocating to the United Kingdom soon afterward. He at first decided to take on a stage name, ‘Jim Jeffries’ but added the extra ‘e’ to spell Jefferies when he realized there was already an American performer with a similar name. In entertainment and the performing arts, it’s common for artists to assume a stage name.
In his eighteen years in the world of comedy, he recorded eight stand-up comedy specials (four with Netflix); four movies, six sitcoms, and several special guest appearances. Most often he creates, writes, and produces his own shows. Jim reminds me of the great names in stand-up comedy who refused to have their art watered down and pigeon-holed by the so-called ‘cultural police.’His boldness to say whatever he wants and face the heat is synonymous with great names like Richard Pryor, who wasn’t afraid to change the rules. The legendary Ricky Gervais, Dave Chapelle, Joan Rivers, George Carlin, Bill Burr, Bill Maher come to mind, and many more – artists who unapologetically paved the way for candid, open-minded comedy and satire
Jeff’s star rose rapidly in the comedy arena due to his ability to include complex, controversial topics into his jokes that most other comedians wouldn’t touch. However, it’s Jim’s unique double-edged approach of charm and brutal honesty that wows the crowds, inasmuch as he offends in equal measure.
One of my favorite quotes in this regard is by George Carlin.
“I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn, and cross it deliberately!”
This quote so succinctly sums up comedy in the new millennium; there is no turning back!
Jefferies did a wide range of blockbuster stand-up comedy specials between 2005 and 2013. But if you are a supremely Netflix fan, Jim Jefferies may only have come up on your radar in 2014 in ‘Bare‘ filmed at the Wilbur Theater where he targeted the US gun laws with his signature style of depth and wicked wit.
Jim became a household name as a comedian in the US with his sitcom ‘Legit,’ which he created, wrote, and co-produced. The series ran for 26 episodes between 2013 and 2014 and was highly acclaimed, especially by the differently-abled community. The show’s success was atrributed to it featuring artists with various physical and neuromuscular conditions, including dwarfism. In an interview, Jim matter-of-factly stated that they simply cast the best artist who auditioned for a specific role, with no fuss or strings attached.
Then, in 2017, came his major break on Comedy Central, with ‘The Jim Jefferies Show‘ that ran from 2017 to 2019. In his announcement of the half-hour series that was to be executive-produced by Jim and a team of co-producers, Kent Alterman, the President of Comedy Central, stated;
“Jim has a huge comedic voice on the global stage. During development, we also learned his talent is only surpassed by his incredible work ethic.”
The UK Guardian, in a 2010 review of Jefferies’ stand-up comedy show in London, launched a ‘scathing attack’ on the comedian in response to Jim’s statement, “A big proportion of the world is as thick as s***!” The journalist, who was clearly antagonized, poured out his contempt for Jim’s brand of comedy, citing him as a “bland phrase-maker, and a so-so joke-writer, unable to attract intellectuals.”
In a 2019 review of the late-night show, the journalist for the Guardian cited the show as ‘wallowing in feces’ as Jim delivered an in-depth anecdote of his severe reaction to lactose intolerance while on a date with a germophobe. The journalist, who referred to Jefferies as having made his name by misogynistic, bad-boy stand-up comedy, added that there were moments during his performance when he ‘managed to ‘raise a smile.’ It sounds to me as if Jefferies has gone up in the ratings of the Guardian during the past 9 years.
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