Australian comedian and former Perth resident Jim Jefferies returns to his old stomping grounds for three shows at the Crown Theatre this Thursday, April 2, Friday, April 3, and Saturday, April 4 as part of the 2015 Perth Comedy Festival. TRAVIS JOHNSON catches up with the controversial commentator.
A quick look at the official Jim Jefferies website shows it to be loudly and proudly proclaiming that his last comedy special, Bare, won Comedy Special Of The Year. That’s not bad for a guy who went largely unknown in this country before he struck out for foreign climes, making a name for himself first in the UK, then the US (it’s not his fault – we have a habit of refusing to recognise our starts until someone else does).
In person, however, Jefferies is humble when asked about it. “Ah, well, it was one webpage (comedy news site The Interrobang) that said it was comedy special of the year. It’s not like I won the Emmy – although I’m eligible to win an Emmy! But I don’t think it’s gonna happen somehow.
“To me that was nice because it was voted on by the public. There were big names – Jim Gaffigan and Bill Burr were in there. It was big comics I was up against. I was quite happy – I’d never won anything before. What does it mean to me professionally? Not much, I don’t think? Hopefully ticket sales go up ever so slightly, I’m not really sure. Hopefully it means people are liking my stuff.”
People do, by and large, although he does ruffle feathers from time to time with his often crude comedic sensibilities and his tendency to not shy away from courting controversy or even enmity. Take for example, his response when we ask him about the recent cancellation of his television series Legit, which ran for two seasons on FX. He mentions a channel shift and other factors before flooring us with, “… the real reason it was cancelled is the guy who was the showrunner, the co-creator, Peter O’Fallon, was just a bit of a fucking dickhead and couldn’t get along with people at the network. That’s the real answer. That’s as honest an answer that I can give you. And I used to say nothing, I used to say nothing in interviews, but I’m just done with the cunt – he’s a fuckin’ pain in the arse.”
Cue long pause.
But Jefferies’…differences… with his colleague haven’t soured him on TV, and he’s actively working on more projects in that field. “Yeah, I have a deal at the moment with a new script I’m writing. The thing is, it’s very tricky. It was my third or fourth script that I’ve sold, but then to get it to pilot, then to get it to series, it’s very, very hard to get a show to series. I feel… I don’t want to use the word ‘blessed,’ but I fell very, very lucky to have gotten two series of television that I’m proud of. At the moment it’s pilot season now in LA, which means I’ll be going out and auditioning for all the new sitcoms, just be an actor. And in my opinion, half the shows aren’t particularly very good that you’re auditioning for, and that’s very disheartening. So the long and the short of it is, yes, I am going to be trying to do more acting, but my main focus has always been stand up.”
Presumably there are less “fucking dickheads” to be found on the comedy stage.