Freak Out! Jim Jefferies Giveaway And IXclusive Interview
This year’s Just For Laughs Festival is in full swing here in Montreal. They’re pulling out all the stops and bringing Montrealers the best, and biggest, names in comedy. From Andy Samberg, Maz Jobrani, and Don Rickles, this years festival is sure to impress even the least comedic individuals.
Coming in fresh on Friday night, July 25th, for one show only is the famous Jim Jefferies. Known for pushing all the right (but oh so wrong) buttons, this Australian comedian is sure to have you laughing while simultaneously questioning why you consider yourself to be a good person. Tickets for his show are hard to come by, but we at IX have a pair of them for one lucky winner.
Just tell us why you want to go in the comment section below, and check your inbox Friday morning to see if you've won! That simple. Contest ends Thursday night at midnight, so make sure to comment ASAP!
IX: So why the interest in stand-up comedy?
Jefferies: It’s the only thing I thought I could do in the entertainment business. I was very young, I was like ten/twelve, I watched it on TV and thought I could do it. You know? Everyone has those little moments… I just always thought I was funny, and thought that was a skill I had, and yeah, it worked out well for me! There’s not another job in the world I could do where I could make good money. I’m not smart enough, or coordinated enough, or well structured enough to do any other job and earn this much money.
IX: Where do you get the inspiration for your sets?
Jefferies: The social commentary stuff is just watching the news, or listening to what people are saying. You know, it would happen over time. Most of the time I come out with material it’s discussions I’m having with my girlfriend, or my friends, and as a comedian you always pepper in a little joke here and a little joke there, and then all of a sudden you’re going from talking to someone in a bar to all of a sudden it being something you could say on stage… I’m not like Jerry Seinfeld where I sit down and think about the structure of a joke, and why is it funny, and why is it not funny? I try to have my thoughts sort of free forming a little bit more.
IX: You’re shows can deal with some heavier topics, from paedophilic celebrities to racism. Do you ever worry you’re pushing the line too much?
Jefferies: (laughing) No, I don’t worry… All I know is that comedy works in a sort of- if you could write a graph, the more offensive the joke, the funnier the joke has to be. You know often people think, especially when they’re starting out in comedy and they have this image that they’re going to be an edgy comic, and then they go on stage and they’re trying to look all dark, and smoking a cigarette, and they tell stories about why the government is doing something wrong, and the audience doesn't laugh at them they go, “Aww, well my stuff was too edgy for them. They didn't get what I was saying.” It’s like, “no, it just wasn't funny.” You can talk about anything as long as it’s super funny. Like, the set’s got to be super funny to get away with something that’s really offensive. Otherwise if it’s not an offensive subject you can say it in a pretty benign, sort of banal, joke and people will still have a little jigger at it. The real secret with doing comedy is treading that line so finely that you don’t get booed off.
IX: Your sets make people laugh so hard they cry, but have also inspired people to try and punch you in the head. How does it feel getting such diverse reactions from audiences?
Jefferies: Well, I've been punched in the head once in 2006, so it’s not a constant. It’s not like every time I go to a show someone’s trying to punch me in the head. But I do get a response of often people wanting to be violent, or angry… but not so much now. Now I’m playing to a fan-base, and the fan-base pretty much knows that I’m going to get into. In saying that, in America at the moment I’m talking about gun control and that has gotten a lot of people who are pro-guns very angry with me. You know?... People think they've seen it all and think “I can deal with a paedophilia joke, or a misogynistic joke, or a wildly racist joke. I can put up with anything.” Until you touch on that subject that they go, “wow, wait a minute!” And you don’t know what that subject’s going to be, but we all have them.
IX: Because your work can pick a nerve with people, what would say is the hardest part of dealing with the occasional heckler that you set off?
Jefferies: The hecklers are easy. Dealing with hecklers are easy, the hardest is I don’t want the jokes broken up by people talking. The feeling when someone heckles is very minimal. I don’t worry that I’m going to beat them, or anything like that because I've got a microphone, I’m louder than them, so of course I’m going to do better than them. What I’m more worried about is the show will lose momentum. And that for me is the biggest fear, because often someone will yell something out and they won’t get a laugh, and the audience won’t like them, but you’re like, “Ahh, the big joke was about to happen and you just ruined the punchline.” I think that’s what most comics hate about heckling.
IX: What’s your favourite part about performing?
Jefferies: ...I like the immediate gratification of being live on stage. Now I’m trying to be an actor… I’ll be in my head the whole time going, “oh, I’m stupid, people must think I’m an idiot, I’m a bad actor, I’m not doing a good job.” Whereas when I’m on stage I know I’m doing a good job because I can hear the response. And so that gives you a level of confidence, and confidence makes you feel good about yourself, and if you feel good about yourself it’s wonderful because like most comics, I hate myself for 23 hours out of the day and then I have that one hour a day where I’m like, “meh, I’m alright. People do like me.” (laughing)
IX: With Montreal audiences so excited to see you, what would you say you’re most excited to see here in Montreal?
Jefferies: Seeing the other comedians, to be honest with you. Getting to hang out with the comedians is great. I work by myself, I travel by myself… and it’s only in Montreal, or Edinburgh, and Melbourne that that ever happens. And normally I only do one comedy festival in the world a year. I try not to do all of them because it’s just too much. I’m doing Montreal this year, and I might do Melbourne next year. So yeah, just hanging out with the other comics. Apart from that there’s always restaurants that I want to go to and stuff like that. There’s a place in the basement of the hotel that does good ribs, that I’m looking forward to. Just little things like that.
IX: Any particular comedian coming to Montreal that you’re excited to see?
Jefferies: Ummm, I would like to watch Bill Burr. So I’m excited to see him. And then friendship wise, there’s guys like Jimmy Carr, who’s coming in from the UK. I only see Jimmy when we’re in the UK together. It’ll be nice to see him in a different country.
IX: Any advice you can give someone trying to start out in stand-up comedy?
Jefferies: I guess the only advice I could give you would be try and be unique. Write as much material as you can, and get up as much as you can at open mics. You know, you’ll find your voice quickly, but don’t try to emulate anyone else.