I’ve been to more music concerts then I can count, but I’d never been to a comedy show before.
I love a good stand up comedian. I’m always on the lookout for new artists that ‘get’ my cracked sense of humor and cater to it. I’ve found that the good ones are few and far between. So, when Jim Jefferies announced a Denver show, I caved and bought tickets straight away. Jefferies has been one of my favorite comedians for a while, so the fact that I had scored 8th row seats had me pretty pumped.
There’s been a few reasons that I’ve always been leery about the idea of going to a stand up show. One of the biggest, though, was probably my fear of paying to see a comedian that I have heard of before, and then having them rehash jokes that have been played to death already on their specials. Which is an interesting thing to me, because with all the music concerts that I’ve been to all the fans WANT to hear the greatest hits recycled for their listening pleasure.
Comedy is a different animal. You can only laugh at the same joke so many times before it looses its luster. When you think about it, that puts a ton of pressure on a comedian. Every time they hit the road they have to have a whole set’s worth of new material…
I arrived at the Paramount Theater a bit early and made my way to my seat. The Art Deco design of the theater brought me back to all the concerts I’ve seen at NYC’s Beacon theater or my Massachusetts hometown’s Mahawie theater. As the usher led me to my seat I was most definitely feeling good about how close we were going to be to the stage…. until I actually saw the seats, that is.
Having 8th row tickets in a tiny theater sounds like a good idea, and in theory, it is. However, the plush cushioned fixed seats at the Paramount start at row M, and the first few rows of seating are populated by archaic leather cushioned folding chairs, the width and depth of which were equivalent to those found in an elementary school. To add to the experience, the people on either side of my friend Nate and I should have probably bought two seats each, and gym memberships. I’ve had more comfortable seats flying coach on economy airlines. I guess the average theater patron was a bit thinner back when the place was built. Plus, it was the 1930’s…. Who was really comfortable then?
Jim Jefferies took the stage after a solid opening act named Forrest Shaw. I had never heard of Shaw before, but he did a great job of getting the crowd laughing, using self-deprecating humor to make jokes that the thin skinned would be offended at. But, as he pointed out, if you show up to a Jim Jefferies show expecting good old clean, wholesome humor, then you might as well leave.
The comedic stylings of Jim Jefferies aren’t for everyone, and as expected, his set touched on many topics that most comedians shy away from. Religion, dead babies, autism, gun laws, the handicapped, anti-vaxxers, rape…. The night was full of stories and observations that the politically correct would cringe at. As a matter of fact, if you’re of the school of thought that there are some topics that should not ever be joked about, then you probably would be writing a letter to your senator after the opening bit.
While some comedians use vulgarity strictly for shock value, Jim Jefferies’ show, while crass, vulgar, and rude, always had a purpose to it use of ‘edgy’ material. Jefferies uses his ability to make people a little uncomfortable to drive his points home.
Jefferies was on stage for 2 solid hours, and much to my relief, he didn’t waste time on his old material. He occasionally referenced old bits, and since I’m familiar with the past material the nods added a greater depth to the stories that he was telling.
That’s the type of comic he is, a storyteller. His bits were all self contained stories, yet somehow he wove them all together, making it feel more like you were sitting listening to a friend that you haven’t seen in a while filling you in about what’s been going on in their lives, rather than a stranger telling a bunch of jokes.
After his set, Jefferies did something that I haven’t seen many artists who sell out a theater do. He set up at the Merch booth, promising a free meet and greet to anyone who stuck around. Given that there was about 2,000 people at the show, the line of those deciding to stay was pretty long.
I’m fairly certain that if we’re friends that you’d like Jim Jefferies. Well, close friends. Ok, I take no responsibility for your conscience. But you should check him out, because you will laugh, and laughing is good. Or, you might be pissed off, which is still experiencing an emotion, so you should be happy for that!