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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

March 30, 2022: Stand-Up Studying: Jim Jefferies

[For this year’s April Fool’s series, I wanted to highlight one great routine each from a handful of the many wonderful stand-up comedians doing their thing these days—in case, y’know, you’re (like me) looking to move on from a problematic fave. Add your faves, present and past, in comments!]

Yesterday’s subject, Roy Wood Jr., is that rare stand-up comic who can talk about social and political issues without sounding the slightest bit pedantic or preachy—and he does so consistently, at least in the newest special on which I focused in that post. Today’s subject, the foul-mouthed Australian immigrant Jim Jefferies, tends not to talk about such issues much at all, at least not in his stand-up comedy (he does so more often on his Jim Jefferies Show, in which he offers similarly foul-mouthed takes on headlines and current events).

Which perhaps is part of the reason why Jefferies’ single most famous stand-up set-piece, drawn from his 2014 special Bare, is a 15-minute long segment (that’s just part one of two; the second video should show up on that page as well) on why he hates guns and is a strong advocate for gun control—I’m sure his audiences at the time were stunned to see Jefferies turn his attention at all to such a controversial political issue, much less to do so at such great length. But while that might have drawn initial attention to the routine, what has made it such a lasting part of our pop culture landscape is that it is both thoroughly hilarious and impeccably well-argued.

Want proof of the latter point? A couple years back, my older son had to write a persuasive essay for one of his classes, and he chose the topic of gun control. We had watched the Jefferies clips some time before then, and my son was not only able to recall them quite fully, but used many of Jefferies’ ideas as jumping-off points for his own arguments (which he was then able to back up with extensive use of sources and statistics). Am I saying it was the funniest student paper about gun control ever written? I just might be—and I know for a fact it had the funniest starting point and source.

Next stand-up fave tomorrow,


PS. What do you think? Takes on Jeffries and/or other faves you’d share?

PPS. One note if you're going to watch the clips: like many Australians and Brits alike, Jefferies uses the c-word as a ubiquitous insult, for men at least as often as for women. Very different from our usage of the word in the States, so just FYI. 

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