FOUL-mouthed Aussie Jim Jefferies took to the stage at the White Rock Theatre with a reputation for offence-heavy, alcohol fuelled gag-fests.
He left having served up almost two hours of intelligent – if a little near the knuckle – humour that disproved suggestions his is more shock over substance comedy.
Whereas Frankie Boyle unleashed a barrage of crude one-liners and Malcolm Tucker-esque manic swearathons just weeks earlier, Jefferies showcased a far more intimate, far more conversational style.
If Boyle was the brash school bully whose sheer anger and turn of phrase cajoled applause, then Jefferies was the classmate who made you giggle by telling you rude jokes at the back of the class.
Having successfully used support act Peter Cain to gently prod the crowd and ramp up the offence-o-metre, by the time Jefferies began his assault the audience had become sufficiently desensitised to shock. In much the same way a teenager watching Hammer Horror films will be less likely to hide behind the sofa during The Exorcist, so the gathered revellers seemed less inclined to find offence in Jefferies’ material after a pre-gig fluffing from Cain.
Despite the show being billed as Jefferies’ Alcoholocaust tour, the antipodean explained he “pretty much only used about three jokes from that”, preferring instead to lure the crowd down a string of blind, but entertaining, alleys before bashing them over the collective head with a lead pipe of laughter.
Tales of drug-fuelled nights spent with Canadian groupies and plans to instigate a country-wide holiday on September 11 in his adopted home of America sat comfortably alongside segments on female impotence and the problems of parents installing unrealistic expectations in their children (“The reason more people commit suicide here than in Africa is down to our dreams. A teenager here wants to appear on X-Factor, perform in front of 10,000 people and sell a million records. In large parts of the Third World just staying alive is enough.”).
As rock and roll a comedian as you are likely to find nestled in just to the left of a mainstream dominated by the clean cut Michael Mcintyres of this world, Jefferies almost single-handedly restores your faith in a style of storytelling far removed from the consumer ready comedy of John Bishop, Jason Manford et al.
More than just a smutty face. Openly discussing his bi-polar and depression, at times without the need for a punchline, Jefferies was as thought-provoking as he was funny.
And, despite the swathes of empty seats (the show was moved from the Sussex Hall to main stage at the last minute) such was his Aussie-by-numbers demeanour, the show retained an intimacy unmatched by bigger names who have performed the same venue.
A hellraiser unsurpassed. But one you would happy write off an evening of your life to spend with him.