When I was younger I loved watching stand-up comedy. I would watch specials on Comedy Central all the time, but the older I grew the less I found new comics funny. For the most part they seemed juvenile, tasteless, and just plain unfunny. I still love the works of George Carlin, Eddie Izzard, and Steven Wright, but they are pretty much where it ends.
So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at how disappointed I was in Jim Jefferies’ act. I had heard Jefferies in interviews and on venues like the Adam Carolla podcast, and he seemed funny enough, so I thought I would give his HBO special a try. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, his act was just abrasive and insulting.
As you might have guessed from the special’s subtitle, the majority of the special covers religion—specifically Christianity—and it’s not funny. He’s angry, insulting, and in general doesn’t understand what makes religion funny. It’s a twenty-minute long attack on people and their belief system that’s not particularly clever or entertaining. He’s like your fanatically atheist cousin giving his spiel on how everyone who doesn’t believe his way is a complete moron.
And the rest of the special doesn’t fare any better. Jefferies’ best material comes when he drops the badboy act and tells stories about his father. Watching those bits I got the feeling that I was seeing the real Jim Jefferies, and he was a pretty funny guy. Unfortunately, he goes back to making juvenile jokes about getting raped by a South African, about why sluts are better than regular girls, or about sticking sex toys up his rear. Maybe if I was a little younger or a member of a frat I’d find it funny, but it fell flat for me.
The special is presented in 16:9 aspect ratio with the audio in English 2.0. There were no problems with either the audio or video.
Comedy is highly subjective, but I just didn’t find Jim Jeffries funny. What I consider the hallmarks of great comedy—clever word play, a unique-yet-skewed take on a topic, and a touch of absurdity—are largely missing from his act. Jeffries just comes across as angry and bitter, but not in a funny way. Not recommended.
Home Box Office presents Jim Jefferies: I Swear to God. Directed by John Moffitt. Starring Jim Jefferies. Written by Jim Jefferies. Running time: 60 minutes. Rated TV-MA. Released on DVD: October 13, 2009. Available at Amazon.