Jimmy Carr’s Funny Business, Chichester Festival Theatre (27/01/2015)

Not for everyone

Overall Jimmy Carr certainly knows how to entertain an audience though his blunt no boundaries style may upset a few.

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Now it is well known that Jimmy Carr’s humour is an acquired taste.  Furthermore when released from comedian-crushing nature of television censors and the incessant need for political correctness on screen he really lets loose.  No one is safe; the disabled, religious believers, nurses, even himself (Carr is well aware of his odd resemblance to tennis pro Roger Federer), everyone can be his target and within this 2 and a half hour show they were.

On arrival the audience were greeted with a slideshow which gave a phone number asking members of the audience to text in if they had a problem that they want Jimmy to fix or to at least heckle him.  This kind of audience participation created a great sense of intimacy as the texts were shown on the screen in the second half for Jimmy to comment on.  Many were jibes at him; one stating that the material of his suit was better than his comedic offerings, another asking were the jokes starting in the second half of the show (much to both Carr’s and the audience’s amusement) this show was very much about the audience as it was Carr.

It was clear to see that he thrives on opposition to his comedy and his point of view.  He spoke to a member of the audience who was a Christian and preceded to ridicule his beliefs to the point of trivialising them.  The man was offended but still the audience roared with laughter as Carr continued to hack away – the laughter only fuelled Carr’s offence-causing fire.  Many people would be struck down by harsh criticism if they spoke as freely as Carr but amazingly he goes from strength to strength, his audience being his driving force – supporting his self-proclaimed suffering of ‘joke tourettes’.

Carr’s best work comes from his sharp, knee jerk response to developing situations.  It should have been suspected that an audience member would mention his tax evasion scandal and although they did their best effort to belittle him, he was ready to fire back straight away. At times it felt like he was pushing the boundaries too far – a prime example being his portrayal of a disabled person.  This is purely personal opinion and the audience expects Jimmy to push boundaries. If you are offended by that type of comedy then his live performances may not be for you, it is just down to personal preference, as he said himself his style is very ‘edgy’.

Overall Jimmy Carr certainly knows how to entertain an audience.His stage presence is as unmistakable as his laugh, his commandment of the audience is enviable.  If you are a fan of his television work then to see him live is a treat, just be aware that some may be offended by his material.  However it is this edginess and unpredictability that makes his live performances stand out.  There is no need for gimmicky sets or long winded stories, punchy one liners and a splash of causing offence are Carr’s method of attack and by his continuing popularity it shows that is just what the audience want and expect of him.

Jimmy Carr’s ‘Funny Business’ is currently travelling around the country with new dates being added for 2015.  Tickets can be purchased here.


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