I should clarify this from the outset: this is only a review of the first half of Jimmy Carr’s The Best of, Ultimate, Gold, Greatest Hits Tour.
Because after that I got up and walked out.
The show opened with text emblazoned on a screen: ‘Here are two hours of your life you’re never getting back’.
It was, ironically, the most on-point joke of the evening.
An onslaught of misogyny, sexism, paedophilia gaffes, homophobia, fat-shaming and ‘your mother’ jokes left me feeling nothing but bored and pissed off.
So what has changed in the type of comedy Londoners like to see? Are we all too PC to have a good old-fashioned laugh at someone else’s expense?
The key to good comedy is to know your audience, be able to make fun of yourself a little, use themes common to all of us and make them funny.
In these turbulent times, the ammunition in a comedian’s arsenal should be endless – Brexit, Trump, the general election, etc.
However, it is also a time where cultural sensitivity is not only required but expected, particularly among the young.
So why does Jimmy still insist on an outdated, bland, offensive rhetoric that awarded him nothing more on Saturday night than a few half-hearted chuckles and even a couple of boos (from the people in my vicinity at least)?
In fairness, this was his ‘greatest hits’ so I suppose it is understandable he would churn out the jokes that got him the most laughs in the past.
However, he stitched them together with the aptitude of someone with far lesser stature and experience.
He lays down joke after joke, with no storyline or attempt to make the jokes current, and they keep on coming, blow after blow: “You know how touchy queers can be.” Bam. “If you’re scared of paedophiles, grow up.” Bam. “We need to keep making fun of people in wheelchairs.” Bam.
Where is the space for this type of comedy in Brixton?
In this vibrant pocket of one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, trying to ‘stand united’, as the media is so fond of saying, after a barrage of horrific tragedies?
I think the problem with Jimmy is he’s too old for this sort of behaviour now. His smug, thuggish lad attitude is now more creepy uncle you avoid at all costs at a family do.
To be fair to Jimmy, I should note that the second half of the evening may have been a total turnaround.
Maybe he finally turned the blade on himself (rather than looking for affirmations: “Do I seem posh? I do, don’t I?”), maybe he finally got a few laughs from the more enlightened audience members. But I doubt it.
The evening was best summed-up by my partner in frustration.
I turned to her and, in an effort to not let the evening end a total bust, said: “We need to remember he’s being like this to shock us; comedy isn’t meant to be PC.”
She replied: “Yes, I know. But I just want to laugh.”
Featured image courtesy of IAB UK, with thanks