(photo credit: COURTESY PR)
Jim Jefferies is an a**hole. A hilarious, entertaining a**hole.
For close to two hours, the Australian comedian, who now lives in the US, paced a stage set up in the center of the Menorah Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv. He was vulgar, he was disgusting, he was offensive, and he was uproariously funny. He was Jim Jefferies, basically.
As Jefferies pointed out on Hayom Balayla
with Guri Alfi Monday night, he didn’t sell as many tickets as the last time he performed in Israel, in 2016. It’s true that the hall was far from full – but Jefferies’s target demographic of 20-something slightly unwashed men was out in full force. It’s likely that the lower attendance had something to do with the influx of comedians to Israel this month; last week Chris Rock showed up and two weeks ago was Jerry Seinfeld
– and there are few Israelis who can afford all three.
In a way, Jefferies is the anti-Seinfeld.
Seinfeld’s jokes are squeaky clean, well-rehearsed and often predictable. Jefferies was a hell of a lot more entertaining.
With his signature lightning-fast wit, perfect timing and endless vulgarities, the comedian was on top form Tuesday night.
Perhaps he was happy after hearing earlier in the day that his Comedy Central show was renewed for a second season. Or perhaps he’s just doing what he loves. Either way, no topics were off limits, and no profanity was left behind; his favorite and most frequent word of the night can’t be printed here, but it rhymes with... runt. He was even selling mugs emblazoned with the word as people filed out of the show.
Jefferies had no problem jumping into jokes about his host country right from the start.
“Stop fighting over this land, it’s not that good,” he said. “I mean, it’s nice, it’s just not worth the argument, you know? I’ll give you Tazmania or something... Florida maybe.”
And it’s clear that he had some time to tour around, because Jefferies already realized a fact of life for all Israelis.
“Your customer service sucks d***s, by the way,” he said. The comedian lamented that every restaurant he walked into – which all claimed to serve “the best hummus” – acted like his entering their establishment was an inconvenience.
Jefferies peppered his show with plenty of local humor, including jokes about the guttural Hebrew language, and how Birthright trips sell young American Jews hard on Israel, by exposing them to “the hottest women on the f***ing planet.”
While Jefferies made his fame in part on sexist and misogynistic jokes, he has promised a certain level of reform in 2018. Sort of.
“After this whole #metoo movement, I’ve been told to lay off the misogynistic jokes,” he said early on, to a chorus of boos from certain segments of the audience. And, well, in his eyes, he probably did. Jefferies did however recite word for word the infamous “grab them by the pussy” recording of US President Donald Trump, and made jokes at the expense of Kevin Spacey, “Who lost his job as fake president, and yet the real president....”
“Listen,” he said. “I promise I haven’t raped anyone. That’s all I can promise.”
Jefferies delights in pushing all possible boundaries, grinning when he knows he’s being as offensive as possible, including long riffs on the blind and the deaf, and the sentence: “It’s good to be in Israel, because there are no Mexicans.”
Toward the end of the show, Jefferies jumped off the stage and wandered into the crowd, trying to coax a man to kiss him on the lips and smoking a cigarette while standing on the back of a chair, to the dismay of security personnel – one of whom he called a “fat-ass.” And at one point he saw a face that made him stop in his tracks: “You don’t look super-Jewy, what are you doing here?” he asked.
Jefferies isn’t for everyone. But the fans at Tuesday night’s show left after getting exactly what they came for. Close to two hours of cringeworthy, side-splitting humor.