British standup comedian Jimmy Carr is, by his own admission, “rude, crude, and offensive.”
His sense of humor certainly isn’t for everyone. However, for those who enjoy properly dirty jokes, Carr is a virtuoso. He combines the
This Friday, March 31, the London native will headline his first show at the Fillmore Miami Beach. With its notoriously rowdy crowds, Miami might just play to Carr’s strengths. For the uninitiated, Carr loves to interact with his audiences. Consistently, across his nine DVD specials, some of the best moments are when Carr gets heckled, something he invites.
“I love rowdy. I encourage heckling. I think heckling has gotten a terrible reputation. Sometimes you go to a comedy club and a drunk guy tries to ruin the show. That isn’t what I mean. I don’t want drunk guys to ruin the show. I love being in a room with 2,000 people and the only thing that unites us all is we have a similar sense of humor. You’d be crazy not to use that. The idea that I’m onstage going, ‘Well, I’m the only one that’s funny here,’ no, no. Lots of people in my audience are superfunny, and sometimes they shout things out and they’re hilarious.”
In fact, Carr just wrapped up a rather memorable show. Lately, he’s been inviting fans to text in during his gigs because, he says, “I found there’s quite a lot of very funny people in my audience who
But that night’s particular interaction was a bit more old-school. “I just got off-stage this evening, and I eviscerated some guy who kept interrupting. I eviscerated him. By the end of the conversation, it had transpired that I, and everyone else in the room, had had sexually intimate relations with his mother. It was brutal, absolutely brutal. At the end of it, at the end of everything, I did about five minutes on this guy; I just destroyed him. At the end of it, he went, ‘You’re full of jokes tonight, aren’t ya?’ And it just destroyed me. Such a lovely reaction of ‘I get it.’”
Carr is bringing his 2017 tour, the Best Of, Ultimate, Gold, Greatest Hits Tour, to the States, which consists of his favorite material from the past 15 years and should be a great introduction to American comedy fans. Still, Carr understands that even the promise of his best is a risky proposition for those who don't know him too well.
“In the UK, I play big rooms, and I’m on TV a lot, but in America, I’m fairly unknown. So It’s a lovely kind of thing that I think people are taking a really big chance on the show. They come to see someone who they’ve seen a couple of clips of on YouTube, and they go, ‘Well, I guess we like British comedy; let’s go and check it out.’”
For those interested in seeing Carr, be aware: Getting mad about anything he says onstage does nothing but frustrate those who fail to be in on the joke with him.
“I’ve never apologized for a joke; I’ve apologized that people were upset. Maybe there’s not a huge distinction there, but I’m of the opinion that you should never apologize for a joke. The whole apology is redundant, semantically, because as soon as you say it’s a joke, ‘Oh, OK, you didn't mean that sincerely. OK.’ I do a very different thing from other comedians: I write jokes. They’re little verbal constructs, quite old-fashioned in a way, to tell jokes, as opposed to telling stories about your life or your worldview. They’re all lies — wonderful, funny, little lies.”
For example, when Carr arrives at a new city, he likes to find a way to add heft to those lies. He asks cabbies and locals crazy questions that “you would never ask, as a tourist. ‘Oh, where do the sluts live?’ or ‘What’s a bad neighborhood where you can buy drugs?’ You’re asking people, and they’re kind of going, ‘You wanna go and buy drugs?’ And you’re like, ‘No! I just need this reference point for this joke.’ And they go, ‘Well, we can get you drugs if you want drugs.’ It’s this wonderful, sort of fun, odd way to live.”
Not only is Carr fearless when making first impressions on strangers in the streets, but he also does the same onstage. He’s been known to write thousands of jokes before whittling it down to a few hundred. He takes those and tries them, for better or worse, live.
“The audience is a genius. Lenny Bruce said it first. The audience knows funny better than any comedian. All you got to do as a comic is you gotta get up in front of a crowd and test the stuff. Fifty people in a bar, in a tiny comedy room, will tell you what the reaction will be at the Fillmore, in Miami, in front of 2,000 people.”
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More often than not, people get it. They laugh. Hard. Carr understands that his job is atypical. He certainly gets away with more than most people who show up in three-piece suits to work (as he so often does for his sets). “It’s a weird thing, though, isn’t it, that in any other job if I said the kind of things I say to people, you would be hauled up in front of human resources and at minimum you would have to go on a daylong course?”
What sort of things does that include? Well, in his 2008 special, In Concert, Carr posits the question “Would you fuck your dad to save your
“Oh, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. It’s too easy. Don’t get me wrong, I would be thumbing in a softie, but sure.”