Jim Jefferies came to SA to have fun and not to make money.
The Australian comedian is on his latest world rodeo known as The Night Talker Tour and he managed to squeeze in not two but three shows down in SA.
Most South African stand-up comedy goers have become fans of Jefferies after watching his specials on Netflix. This Is Me Now, released last year, has been one of the most popular stand up comedy shows on South African Netflix. Jefferies has now released seven comedy specials, and has also starred in a number of television shows.
Jefferies sold out a Friday and Saturday show which prompted the booking of a third, Sunday show.
While the third show was only about 40% full, Jefferies said it was the show he enjoyed the most of the three. Perhaps he liked the intimacy and was able to experiment with more on-the-fly material. He joked about how his shows in SA were not set to make him oodles of money given how weak the rand is relative to the US dollar and Australian dollar. He said the ticket prices were reasonable in rand terms and cheap as chips in dollar terms. Maybe gigging in SA lets Jim Jefferies relax on stage more than he usually would when he has a huge crowd and a more critical audience.
But there were a couple of South African hecklers and he dealt with them well, including people who were trying to get him to talk about the arrest of R Kelly and other recent news events. He managed to make quips about the news while sticking to a very well-thought-out stack of material.
Perhaps his best audience interaction was with a young South African amateur comedian who was watching Jefferies in exchange for cleaning the theatre. When the would be comedian said he was trying to be an amateur, Jefferies had to explain what the differences between amateur and professional were. The amateur also said he had seen what jokes not to make; to which Jefferies replied “of course you don’t copy other peoples’ material”.
Supported by another well-received Australian comedian, Amos Gill, Jefferies artistically eased into his most sardonic, brazen and only at times crude humour. His jokes were crafted around how he had become lactose intolerant but was a big fan of cheese. He ended up eating cheese with his girlfriend at the time which resulted in a comedy of horrors.
He also had material related to his young son and it was refreshing to hear some single dad comedy for a change.
Jefferies has often said he is an atheist and made religious jokes which pleased fans. However, he generally has avoided religious humour in The Night Talker tour.
Jim’s show is the best I have seen a comedian deliver in SA in more than a decade. His jokes were fresh, he was confident and he read his crowd perfectly.