Stand up for Jim Jefferies

Jim Jefferies
Jim Jefferies

IT was just after 11.00 a.m on a Thursday morning when I called Jim Jefferies.

For most that’s a reasonable hour, but for the Australian who’d only arrived in Scotland two days before from the US it was obviously an early hour.

He’d performed his first preview show in Edinburgh the night before, his voice was a little rough and his yawns suggested he would rather have been elsewhere then doing countless media interviews.

Jefferies’ reputation as a guy who enjoys a drink and telling comedic anecdotes of drinking, drugs and women is one I’m well aware of.

But the comedian is a changed man, no longer drinking before or during a show.

He’s also set to become a dad later this year.

However, fans shouldn’t be worried though as he says his latest show, Fully Functional, which comes to the Alhambra on Friday, August 31, is ‘more of the same’.

He may have reduced the drinking and performing, but his subjects, inspiration and stories remain on a similar vein as when he was drinking before and during performances.

Jefferies is currently performing his show at the Edinburgh Fringe, before taking it on a tour around the country, which includes the Dunfermline date, and he’s happy to be back in the UK.

He said: “I always enjoy my time here.

“In saying that, I brought my girlfriend over and I gave her a whole spiel of ‘we don’t need those jackets’, but I must have forgotten how cold it is here.

“I’m pretty excited, it’s not a matter of getting back on stage I do at least an hour on stage a night in the US.

“It’s actually been the easiest Edinburgh show to write because I have had two years to write it.

“I have been busy, after this tour I won’t be doing stand up again until February or March.

“I’ll be becoming an actor for a while, filming a new TV show.”

The new show is a sitcom called ‘Legit’ and has been commissioned by FX. In it, Jefferies plays himself, but five years ago before he moved to the States and filmed a successful HBO special that enabled him to crack the American market.

So, performing in the UK and in the US, what’s the difference in the audiences?

“Funny is funny round the world,” he says. “People laugh at different times and laugh at certain bits.

“There are some things the British find funnier than audiences in the US do and vice versa. You guys don’t hoot and holler as much but laugh louder. There’s also less woo-ing.

“You guys will like a good dirty joke but they will go mental over a religious joke.”

From his latest show, Jefferies promises a great night of comedy.

He told the Press: “It will be a whole lot of jokes they haven’t heard me do, but more of the same. “Everything you’d expect but nothing you’ve heard.”

His inspiration comes from his own life experiences.

“I try to remember something that was funny or a story from my relationship with my girlfriend, or whatever and try to replicate it five nights out of the week.

“I’m not really a guy who looks at a person or that looks at salt and pepper and says ‘why is it salt?’, or ‘why is it pepper?’ That’s not me.

“I tell my stories and hope that people find them funny as much as my friends do.

“The rest is up to everyone else’s opinion.”

In the past Jefferies shows have been known to be somewhat controversial and have split audiences’ opinions.

“I think comedy is so subjective I don’t understand people that don’t get it or don’t like it.

“I don’t understand people getting violently angry at it.

“In general stand-up doesn’t get given the same respect as theatre or films in reviews.

“For example, no one would review a folk artist in the same way as a heavy metal artist.

“Comedy is differnet for some reason.

“It’s not treated in the same way.

“There are different comedians doing different styles of comedy and you can’t really compare them. the same way you wouldn’t compare an action movie to something like ‘The Artist’.

“But with comedy, reviewers will happily say this person is not as good as this person.

“People are very exact with their comedy opinions, liking it one way and every other way sucks.”

>> Jim Jeffries is at the Alhambra, Dunfermline, on August 31.