I DID love that guy. I saw his choicest anti-religion rants online and was pretty excited when he came to Detroit to perform live. I do some entertainment writing, so I got a press pass from his PR company with an eye toward doing a show write-up, and we discussed doing an interview, which didn’t turn out to happen. I didn’t think Jefferies was that well-known in the US, let alone Detroit, so I was surprised when I got there shortly before showtime and found the line of attendees stretching around the block. Okay, I don’t mind “discovering” someone after everyone else.
What I did not know is that this comic is a regular on the Opie and Anthony radio show. So most of the crowd knew him from THAT, not his atheist comedy. If I’d been more familiar with that side of his act, I would not have come.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying his bombastic and obnoxious routine—I can even really enjoy comedy like that. He told us from the start that he’d quit drinking because he had “what the doctors diagnosed as ‘shitting blood.’” Within 15 minutes, audience members were delivering shots (Jagermeister?) up to the stage, which he faux-resisted before downing. As he got drunker, the show devolved from his routine into telling stories that included lines such as “so I fucked the fat one. I didn’t use a condom either, because how many men could she have ever fucked? And it’s not like I was going to be in Canada again.” It actually got worse than that.
I think it was probably right around this time that he started losing his audience. If you’ve ever been in a crowd of people who really want the act they paid for to succeed, it’s painful when you hit that moment when you realize even the hardcores are getting disappointed, even the dude-bro-dudes were getting uncomfortable.
This was one of the few shows that I essentially refused to write up. It’s a shame, because he’s very funny… when he’s funny. (And not telling rape stories.) It was kind of heartbreaking.
Now, as an antidote to that horrible tale, let me say, I saw Tim Minchin here in Detroit a couple of weeks ago, and he was FANTASTIC. He was better than I even expected, and I expected a LOT. So, if you only have room in your heart for one Aussie comedian with the balls to say “fuck the pope,” I’d suggest Minchin is the better choice.