The Jim Jeffries coming to Tel Aviv this January is not the same Jim Jefferies we saw last time. Politics have changed, the gender narrative has changed, and his jokes have changed too. We sat-down with the stand-up comedian who is not afraid of change.
The life of Australian comedian, Jim Jeffries, has changed substantially since the last time he appeared in Tel Aviv. At the time, Jefferies, who performed his previous show, “Freedumb” (which has since been published on Netflix), was straddling the line between the stand-up comedy that made him famous (i.e. drunken tales and crude jokes) and a growing preoccupation with political issues.
The result was interesting: just before he turned forty, Jefferies still fit the mould of talkative/ hedonistic type obsessed with (topics such as) drugs and fucking; however, with age comes wisdom. Jeffries started to care more about the world in which he lives.
A good part of his show was dedicated to Donald Trump, a small and ludicrous candidate who was supposed to have been defeated by politicians like Jeb Bush or Ted Cruise. Jefferies expressed complete distaste for Trump’s politics, but also admitted to a small urge to vote for him: “just to see what happens.” Well, he found out.
You’re different from John Stewart or John Oliver, who have very intellectual personas. You allow yourself to be confused during the broadcast.
I think everyone is confused, Stuart and Oliver and Colbert are telling us they are more intelligent than we are, but in the end, we all have a team of writers and researchers. But yes, I prefer to be the idiot among the thinkers. Or the thinker among the idiots.
In any case, you have evolved. You are settled now, leading your own television show and far from the drunken and vocal character you were on stage a few back.
I can’t get drunk on my show, I’m on the clock. If I had a lighter show, I might have been drinking…Jim of ten years ago? Well, he was completely different, I started my career in England and I was drunk all the time there and then I was drunk in Los Angeles. But you become a parent, you get to be forty, you can’t tell these stories and do drugs all your life; it gets sad sometimes, and those who continue with this lifestyle also don’t tell these jokes anymore because they’re most probably dead. I guess that the more time I spend living, the more boring I’ll become. I’m sure at the age of ninety I’ll tell jokes about vegetables and drinking a lot of water.
In a successful – and especially viral – monologue from the first season of your show, you talked about Harvey Weinstein, and ended it with a personal moment where you talked about the sexist jokes you told in the past and how you wanted to grow and improve. Ten years ago, Jim was surprised by this, what do you think?
Look, I always thought I was a good person, a decent person. I never harassed anyone or touched anyone. And you say to yourself , “oh, that’s good enough,” but yes, I had certain jokes that I always assumed the audience would understood. This is Persona. It’s a character, and I did not take the jokes seriously. Then I realized that there might have been a slight percentage of the crowd laughing for the wrong reasons. I thought they were laughing at the scandalous effect of saying something amusing, not because they were cheering me on…it wasn’t Harvey Weinstein that changed my mind, it was Trump. I said to myself: How the hell do you vote for such a person? So I decided to stop those jokes…I think my stand-up is more extreme than ever, by the way. I still like to shock, but the jokes are less sexist. It’s just that at one point in my stories there was some sense of pride, some enthusiasm, and now I’m just embarrassed by myself.
Jim Jeffries will appear at Menorah Mivtachim Auditorium on January 16, 21:00.