Jimmy Carr's Offensive Jokes Had His Miami Audience Howling — in a Good Way

Jimmy Carr's Offensive Jokes Had His Miami Audience Howling — in a Good Way
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Even if a joke doesn't contain profanity, that hardly prohibits it from being cruel or offensive. Take this one-liner from British comedian Jimmy Carr:

“A big girl once came up to me after a show and said, ‘I think you're fatist.’ I said, ‘No. I think you're fattest.’”

It’s a rude comeback that might piss off women and overweight people. When delivered by Carr and his unimpeachable sense of comic timing, though, it had audiences laughing in spite of themselves.

That is, in essence, what Carr’s first show in Miami at the Fillmore Friday night was: jokes with carefully constructed setups and punch lines that had the room bent over laughing at some pretty terrible targets. Carr went after everyone and everything: bestiality, feminists, the handicapped, incest, the mentally disabled, Miami sluts, pedophiles, priests (those last two often appearing together), religion, suicide bombers, and, of course, Trump (America put “the wrong kind of c*** in the White House”).

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Absolutely nothing was off-limits.

Carr might come off as racist or sexist or condescending. Onstage, he is all those things, yet even the most liberal snowflake or righteous conservative might find him funny. Well, perhaps not, but at this past weekend's show, the audience bought into the idea that these were “just jokes,” making for a smooth, not entirely uncomfortable evening.

The night began with some white text on a black screen providing the crowd with necessary advice and information, including, “Shove your cellular phones up your arse,” a sentiment shared by most standup comedians. In fact, aside from one random flash at the very beginning of the show, this crowd not only kept the phones away, presumably not in their asses, but also was incredibly quiet during the joke-telling.

That is, they were quiet until Carr prompted them not to be. He notoriously encourages heckling and audience participation. This is where he showcased one of his most important skills: a memory as sharp as his insults. Considering that this current tour — the Best of, Ultimate, Gold, Greatest Hits — collects his favorite jokes and one-liners from the past 15 years, it’s safe to say he’s done these bits thousands of times. However, what’s more impressive are his off-the-cuff moments with fans in the audience.

Two lessons learned about attending a Carr show: One, don’t arrive late, or he will terrorize you, much to the delight of everyone else. Two, don't sit up front unless you want to be a part of the show to devastating effect. From the “two Phils” to the not-a-nurse nursing student to 14-year-old Peter, whom Carr called “a fucking legend” before directing a gay rape joke his way, the audience, and how the comedian responds to it, is what makes every Carr show unique. Remarkably, Carr remembers nearly every bit of information gathered from his impromptu interrogations of audience members and returns to them as punch lines an hour later.

Between these interactions, Carr was telling jokes at a machine-gun pace, spitting out one-liners every 30 seconds or so. In a two-hour show, he purposely overloads audiences with hundreds of bits, barely affording them the opportunity to either catch their breath or get angry about something he said because, look out, there’s the next joke.

Carr is the epitome of the equal-opportunity offender. Though he can be mean and brutally sarcastic, none of it can or should be taken seriously. Told in his very proper Londoner accent and accompanied by three-piece suits, his verbal assaults on all things taboo and his takedowns of anyone who makes even the slightest mistake are tempered by his charming-asshole routine and his ridiculous donkey laugh.

His comedy is the ultimate form of escapist standup; it’s just jokes. That’s it. By the time the encore rolled around, Carr told Miami he didn’t want to leave them wanting more; he wanted the crowd to leave thinking, "Thank fuck that’s over." Instead, because of those two hours of wonderfully vile nonsense, the audience probably left thinking, Thank you for helping us laugh at all the shittiness in the world.


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