Photo: Comedy Central
Photo: Comedy Central

Jim Jefferies (Cobb Energy, 9/14) has no grandiose ambitions, thrilled to have Comedy Central show

Originally posted Friday, September 13, 2019 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Jim Jefferies is not a man harboring deep ambitions to be a worldwide comedic star.
But at age 42, he has three Netflix specials under his belt and a fourth season of his Comedy Central talk show returning Sept. 17. So his career is definitely looking up. And he continues to tour regularly, including a stop at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Saturday. (Tickets available here.)

He has made previous stops at smaller Atlanta venues such as Variety Playhouse (2014) and the Buckhead Theatre (2015). 

The Australian native who grew up in London and now lives in Los Angeles can be biting in his commentary but he comes across as a genial guy even when he goes on a profanity-laden rant during one of his stand-up shows or on Comedy Central.

He was pretty mellow when I spoke to him Wednesday.

- A shift in emphasis for upcoming season of “The Jim Jefferies Show”: “We’ve recorded all the field pieces in London, Australia, South Africa. As for the rest of the show, we’ve written a few sketches but we can’t write too far ahead because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the news. We’re going to stay away from politics and talk more about social issues. It’s easy to do jokes about Trump’s tweets and I don’t want to do that.”

- Topics he plans to address: “I like to talk about health care and stuff like that. We’re going to do a piece on abortion coming out of the gate. Since we’ve been off TV,  all those bans have come in. “

- Where he goes for field pieces: “I’d like to say there’s a social issue in a particular country and I have to go and find out what’s going on . But the truth is I book a whole lot of shows overseas. We check out what’s happening in that city. That’s the real way: the gigs come first and we figure out what to do second.”

- Complementary to “The Daily Show”: “I’m on before Trevor’s show. I think we’re a pretty good lead in. If you can get used to the Australian accent, you can get used to the South African accent.” 

- Los Angles is home for him now: “I could live in London again. i have a huge affection toward London. I really like London. It might be a bit cold to retire. I could retire in Australia or Hawaii. I’d probably just stay here in L.A. This is where my family and friends are now.”

- Career aspirations: “I’m further along than I thought I’d be. I never thought I’d do more than perform in comedy clubs. I never thought what I did on stage would ever pick up on a larger scale. I know it sounds very corny but I’m happy for what I’ve got. I take each opportunity - for lack of a better term - as a blessing. I had no intention of ever coming to America. It all just happened. I really did spend my life following the next little thing and taking chances. Alright, I’ll do this TV show, I’ll do this stand-up gig and see where it takes me. I think if your dreams are a little bit too big, your disappointments are the same size.”

When did he find this voice: “It was about 2005 when I started doing the Edinburgh Festival. That was the first time I wasn’t just getting up in clubs but having my own name on the show and people decided if they wanted to see me. That’s when I understood there was an audience for what I do. You do jokes that you think are funny and hope there is an audience that agrees with you.”

Difference on TV vs. stand up: “You got standards and practices. You have to turn in a script. TV is a different animal I’m surprised by what you can do on TV.  Things I thought would be a bit much they let through. It’s getting easier and easier. Plus, I work on cable. I’s fairly lenient... Subject matter is protected. They don’t like dirty words or anything that inciting.”

Humor is common worldwide: “Funny is funny. You got prudish people. You got low brow, high brow. It’s the same across the world. There’s a bit of a fallacy of different nations having different senses of humor. When I tour, it’s the same people who see me whereever I go.”

Netflix specials: “Internationally. it’s a huge difference. You used to do a special on cable, they try to sell it to other countries. By the time they get there, everyone had bootlegged it or downloaded it for free. Now everyone gets it the same hour and that’s the way to go.”

Too much comedy on Netflix? “There can never be enough comedy. They can pick and choose what they want to see. Keep putting them out.” 

Humor in Trump world:“It’s harder to be funnier in the world of Trump. With George Bush, he’d say something stupid and get something mixed up and we’d pick up on that. But it’s more complicated when the target is so easy.  Now everyone thinks they’re a comedian.”

Drinking: “I don’t drink nearly as much as I used to. I haven’t had a drink for a few months. I’m just trying to get healthy. I have a young child. I want to live a bit longer.”


Jim Jefferies

8 p.m. Saturday, September 14

$42.50 to $52.50 before fees

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta


“The Jim Jefferies Show’ returns for season four on Comedy Central at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 17 and will air weekly

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.