Jim Jefferies, the Los Angeles by-way-of Sydney, Australia comic and former star of FX’s Legit, released his seventh comedy special on July 1st (his second with Netflix,) titled FreeDumb. Anyone familiar with Jefferies knows that his hilarity comes from his irreverent, everyman style that is just as funny lambasting menial, everyday issues as it is tackling big political topics like gun control or abortion. Well, I’m happy to report that Jefferies brings that style back for his newest special, perhaps better than ever. His comedy, his stage presence, and his commentary on various political and social issues have all been finely honed like a high-quality blade, and holy shit does it cut deep.
Jefferies first words of the special? “Alright, let’s start this shit: BILL COSBY.” Jefferies has never been one to shy away from uncomfortable topics, and his opening joke of the show immediately sets the tone that this special, like the many that have come before it, is not going to hold back in order to protect anyone’s sensibilities. That’s because Jefferies’ style isn’t crass for the sake of being crass: it is, in its own way, an ode to free speech and the ability to joke about anything, regardless of whether some might deem it in poor taste. Jefferies is going to straightforwardly and very plainly hit every topic that his heart desires, critics be damned.
“You can joke about anything. A joke doesn’t mean intent. A joke doesn’t mean you’ve actually done it or something,” Jefferies says. Anyone watching FreeDumb would do well to remember that statement, because Jefferies spends the next hour going on a tear from which no subject is safe. “The pregnant are a bunch of cunts,” he says lovingly while talking about his wife, who he had only been dating for six weeks before she got pregnant. Jefferies, like many of his Australian and British counterparts, is a master at the use of the word “cunt,” and he manages to use it in a way that stings but still somehow comes across as friendly and affable, a feat in itself here in the U.S. That’s what he does, though: he speaks plainly and honestly, and you love him for it.
That’s what Jefferies does so well: he acts as a third party, holding up a mirror to the audience to show them the ridiculousness of the cultural moors around them that they’ve come to accept as a fact of life
There really is no other way to say it: Jefferies comes out swinging in FreeDumb. This is Jefferies at peak Jefferies-tude, the perfect mixture of crassness, levity with brief glimpses of seriousness. One of the best parts of watching Jefferies in action is that, while you know that he’s telling jokes and therefore not always serious, there are kernels of truth and genuineness to much of what he says. It’s what he does best, and he dives headfirst into that lane every time he’s on stage.
As an (insanely funny) Australian now living in the U.S., he’s got an interesting point of view on the goings on of U.S. politics, which he briefly touches on. The cover photo for the special is Jefferies with an obviously Donald Trump-esque hairpiece that is literally spawning a bald eagle, so it was expected that he’d make a comment or two on the Republican presidential candidate. Not surprisingly, he plays a little devil’s advocate before acknowledging that the reality of a Trump presidency is ludicrous.“Don’t get me wrong, he’s a lot of fun. And there’s a little bit of me that thinks ‘Fuck it, let’s do it! Let’s do it and see how fucking crazy shit can get!’” Ultimately though, he brilliantly compares Trump to a child making empty promises he knows he can’t keep. “He’s like a kid running for class president, he’s walking around going ‘We’re gonna have two lunches, and there’s gonna be a soda machine in every classroom!’”
That’s what Jefferies does so well: he acts as a third party, holding up a mirror to the audience to show them the ridiculousness of the cultural moors around them that they’ve come to accept as a fact of life, like America’s obsession with insisting it is the freest country on Earth. “You know when you’re singing the national anthem at the baseball game and the person holds the note ‘Free’ just a little longer than they should until all you Americans come in your pants? Yeah…”
There are a ton of subjects that Jefferies digs into in the way that only Jefferies can, and I’ll leave them up to you to hear when you watch the special yourself. And believe me, you absolutely must see it for yourself, because there are very few comics working today that so perfectly point out the hypocrisy, the absurdity, and the humor in both the biggest and smallest moments of our day-to-day lives. He’s like an Australian George Carlin, just a little less paternal and a little more like that friend who’s drunk all the time and can’t help, but go on hilariously passionate rants.
In the last minutes of the show, Jefferies leaves the audience with a little nugget of wisdom that we’d all do well to remember as we go back out into the world tomorrow: “Try not to be a cunt.”
FreeDumb is out on Netflix right now, so plant yourself in front of a screen and watch it as soon as you can. Seriously, get off of here and go watch it now!