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Jim Jefferies Dumps on Trump, NRA

In Culture
eTOUGH TALK: Hard-drinking Aussie comedian Jim Jefferies refuses to play nice.

eTOUGH TALK: Hard-drinking Aussie comedian Jim Jefferies refuses to play nice.

In his recent Netflix special, Freedumb, Jim Jefferies calls Donald Trump’s backers “fucking dummies.” The comedian, who plays the City National Civic in San Jose on July 28, characterizes the demagogue’s statements as “really simple shit that means nothing” and concludes the bit with a legitimately touching plea, entreating his audience to combat Trump’s bigotry and fear-mongering with love.

In response, hate-mailers have accused the comedian of being “politically correct” and in the pocket of the establishment. It’s an odd accusation to level at a man known for making jokes about rape and child abuse, his unapologetic advocacy of drinking to excess, and a love of, um … money shots.

“People write to me and say that I’m being paid to say these things,” Jefferies says, referring to his recent comments on Trump. I’m like, ‘What the fuck?’ I’ve said some of the most misogynistic, horrible shit onstage—as a joke, but whatever. And all of sudden the government is going, ‘You know who we should get to voice our opinions? The fuckin’ Australian guy.’ Like, what a load of rubbish.”

Listeners have disagreed with his material before. Jefferies broke out internationally with the help of a viral clip in which an incensed audience member jumped on stage and attacked Jefferies in the middle of a show. Unphased, the comedian returned to the stage to finish his set. He has established himself as a bluntly opinionated outsider who can deconstruct America’s cultural, political and religious norms. But he chafes at the qualifying label of “Australian” comedian.

“Most criticism that I get is that I’m foreign and I should shut my mouth,” he says. “The reality is I’ve been in America for seven years. … My point of reference is America. It’s not Australia anymore. If I started commenting on Australian politics, it would be way more annoying, because I don’t know what the fuck is going on over there.”

To Jefferies, it’s not his birthplace that bolsters his points, but his experiences. Beyond America and Australia, he’s lived in England and has traveled the world—performing before crowds in both Holland and Tel Aviv.

“I’ve lived all over the world,” he says “I may not be a smart man. I may not be what you would consider to be a savvy individual. But I am fuckin’ worldly. And people seem to think that worldly is just someone who knows a lot about opera. No. It’s someone who has lived in the world. So whether you like it or not, I’m a worldly guy.”

Case in point: one of Jefferies’ most watched bits juxtaposes America’s insane aversion to gun control with the aftermath of the Port Arthur Massacre in Australia. After a gunman killed 35 people in 1996, the Australian government banned semi- and fully automatic rifles and shotguns—buying back 650,000 of the newly banned firearms in an effort to keep the weapons off the streets. In the years since, there have been no mass shootings and sizable reductions in the rates of suicide and homicide. Hilarious and logically tight, gun control proponents have widely circulated Jefferies’ candid take on firearms, an outcome that surprised him.

“I knew it was a good piece of stand-up comedy,” he says. “I would never be arrogant enough to say (that bit) would be important to people, or something stupid like that. And I’m not an authority, I’m just a guy giving an opinion. I think I’m saying things that people agree with, but they’ve never been able to put into words properly.”

Jefferies makes a point of pushing people to challenge their preexisting beliefs. An atheist, he calls churchgoers “dumb cunts” and calls bullshit on the idea that an “unconditionally” loving deity would also allow unbaptized babies to burn in hell for all eternity.

“Let’s say someone wants to be an atheist, but still has the [indoctrination] that was put in their head as a child,” he says. “You give them arguments—arguments that they can use against their idiot brother at Christmas. So, I feel you can be a nudge for people. But I don’t think anyone is watching me, and all of a sudden they’re like, ‘Oh my God, my whole life is a sham.’”

Jefferies accepts and embraces that his opinionated comedy turns off broad swaths of the public. He’ll probably never land on a brightly-colored network sitcom, but his singular perspectives on off-limits topics have earned him a devout following.

 

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Jim Jefferies

Jul 28, 8pm, $38-$48

City National Civic, San Jose

 

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