Jim Jefferies: Fully Functional (5 stars)

This article is from 2012

Jim Jefferies

Revelatory and raucous stand-up at its most potent

Watching Jim Jefferies at his best is akin to the sensation of wading neck deep into ice cold water and suddenly realising you’ve lost your footing. The sheer audacity of his material and its depths is breathtaking. Given his current personal circumstances – settled down, bought a house and looking towards fatherhood — and that much of his work is autobiographical, you might have imagined that Fully Functional would be a tamer show. But no, the set pinballs from one uncomfortable subject to another.

Plundering the recesses of the mind for its darkest and dirtiest thoughts, and instead of burying them again with a shudder he drags them out for all to see: infant death, paedophilia, rapey groupie situations. And yet still we’re laughing; big rib-shaking laughs even if they are from behind your hands as they cover your face. He even manages to turn an aeroplane story into a hilarious narrative of childish pettiness and near accidental bigotry.

His stand-out piece this year is the sight of Jefferies staggering and swaggering about the stage, portraying god as a belligerent, irrational and hateful drunk at a party who points his finger at people he decides, rather randomly, that he doesn’t like — including the prawns. And in case Jefferies is teetering on the brink of god-at-a-party level of machismo himself, he undercuts it with a story that displays his own vulnerability for us all to consider.

In a lot of ways he’s like the Tracey Emin of the comedy world: there’s no apparent filter on how much he should be revealing about himself. Here it’s the ‘coke wank’, revealing a truly pathetic figure lying alone in a sweaty bed, masturbating for four hours but too doped to orgasm after a night mixing whisky with coke of the Colombian kind. Stunning. Quite literally.

Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 26 Aug, 9pm, £16–£17.50 (£15–£16).

Jim Jefferies: Fully Functional

  • 5 stars

The king of controversial comics returns to raise hackles and laughs with his fearless roasting of sacred cows and ever-original barbs.