There is apparently something in the ether in Albany; every time that Jim Jefferies comes to town, something exciting happens. When I went to see him in 2012, he wound up hitting a heckler in the head with a microphone, which I thought was going to be as crazy as it got.
Turns out, I was wrong.
I almost didn’t go to see Jefferies this time around because I had such an amazing experience my previous time seeing him. He was so good and I laughed so much that I worried that any subsequent shows would never quite live up to how awesome that first show was. Why tempt fate and sully my memories of that epic evening. This reasoning is why I’ll probably never see Paul McCartney in concert again – once you have a near perfect concert/show experience, the likelihood that it will be topped by subsequent shows is pretty minimal. Diminishing returns and whatnot.
However, my dear friend Jenn missed Jefferies the last time that he was in town when she fell ill the night of the show and she has been forced to listen to me and her soon-to-be husband go on and on about how great Jefferies was. We don’t do it on purpose, but it was such a fun and weird night that we can’t help but tell the story and sing Jefferies praises, thereby rubbing salt in her wound that she had to skip the show. So when she was interested in trying to go see him again, I decided it was worth pushing my luck to go with her. I mentally prepared myself for the show as to not be disappointed; lightening doesn’t strike twice and it would still be a fun night even if it didn’t quite live up to the bar that I set after the last show. Something insane was unlikely to happen again, right?
The show started and Jefferies was off to a fantastic start. He is just ridiculously funny and can tell a story better than just about any other comedian out there today. It was all completely new material from the last time I saw him, which was not unexpected; he hasn’t really been touring a lot since the last time he rolled into town since he has a show on FXX (Legit – totally worth your time) and he and his girlfriend had a baby. The birth of his child has given him a whole new source of material, but fatherhood hasn’t changed him – he still uses curse words liberally and his material is definitely not family friendly or for those that are easily offended. He’s so good that he did a whole section on gun control – a hot button issue in most places, but especially in a place like Upstate New York where hunters are aplenty– and he had the audience in the palm of his hand. Not everyone necessarily thought he was right, but I think almost everyone in the audience could agree that he was hilarious. Not a single person yelled anything out during this section, which is remarkable since local audiences seem to have a problem not yelling out period. But that’s how captivating Jefferies was; he totally owned that room.
The show was chugging along and I was laughing so hard that my sides actually were beginning ache. I was secretly hoping that things would slow down a little bit so I could catch my breath – the laughs were coming so fast and furious that I was beginning to feel a little winded. Things were going swimmingly……..
…….and then we met “Jacket.”
Now, our introduction to “Jacket” was innocuous enough; from the stage, Jefferies noticed a woman in one of the first few rows that looked like she might be ill. She was kind of slumped over and was either sick or really drunk. Jefferies expressed some concern to see if she was OK.
This is the moment when things went from awesome to epic.
She wasn’t ill, but was definitely under the influence of something. Being a comedian, Jefferies couldn’t resist taking a little time out to engage with this woman who suddenly became alert and seemed to have a lot to say. She was now unsteadily standing and making a lot of hand gestures, but it was difficult to make out what she was actually saying because of all the slurring. She kept running her finger under her nose and then pointing at Jefferies. He asked her what that meant and she said “I want some cocaine.”
That is when Jefferies knew that he had hit gold.
He sat down on the stage and gave his full attention to this woman, whose boyfriend was trying to get her to either shut up or leave. She was having none of that and Jefferies wasn’t about to let this golden opportunity slip away from him. He assured the delighted audience that this wasn’t going to cut into our show time – he told us to consider this diversion a DVD extra – and started chatting with the woman. He asked her what her name was and she came back with something that sounded like “Jacket,” so that is what he referred to her as for the rest of the night. She was so slurry that when she gave her occupation, it sounded like “dance instructor” when it turns out she was saying dietician (which actually makes the whole thing way funnier). The boyfriend vainly continued to try to derail this whole thing, which earned him a slap in the face from Jacket. We were a few rows back and off to the side, so we had an awesome vantage point of what was going on. Jefferies referenced hitting a guy with a microphone the last time he was here, much to the delight of us who had also witnessed that bit of crowd work. The audience was totally into this little diversion and Jefferies was easily illustrating how naturally funny he is; here he was going completely off script and it was just as funny as his prepared material.
This went on for a while and then Jefferies returned to his set. He wasn’t done with Jacket, however; later in the show, he looked out and noticed that sometime after that whole exchange Jacket’s boyfriend had taken off, which warranted comment and concern. At a later point in the show it appeared that Jacket had disappeared as well, but she was just on the floor in front of the seats, possibly vomiting. Jefferies was worried that Jacket was all alone, but it turned out that her brother was sitting on the other side of her. I have no idea how long the brother had been stewing about his sister being the butt of many a joke that night, but as Jefferies cracked a few more jokes about how what Thanksgiving must be like for this family, the brother got noticeably more aggressive in his seat. This was not lost on Jefferies, who commented that he understood that the brother had to defend his sister’s honor and get mad. Jefferies cracked a few more jokes and his 2+ hour set was over. He left the stage to thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
This is also when Jacket’s brother rushed the stage and tried to attack Jefferies.
It all happened so quickly; we were standing up and putting our coats on to leave, when out of the corner of our eyes you saw a guy scurry across the stage and try to land a punch. Jefferies was off stage and the brother appeared to be intercepted by a security guard before he got anywhere close to actually attacking Jefferies. The audience all seemed to grasp what was happening at the same time and everyone froze to see how this was going to play out. The brother was pretty persistent and was pushing and shoving the security guy; he was adamant about defending the family name, though his beef really should have been with his sister and her desire for narcotics. That is what got them into this situation. When we realized that the situation was pretty firmly in hand and that we were not about to see a brawl, we made our move to the exit.
Immediately outside the venue were a couple of state police that apparently had been called to respond to the situation. They were talking to some of the other people that had been seated around Jacket and from what we could overhear, people were going to be getting arrested. I heard the Trooper ask if they had all ridden together to the show and one of the guys mentioned that they were all in a limo. This was important info to have, since as we walked to my car we passed a limo and we had the wherewithal to peek inside to see who was inside. And who did we find? Jacket’s missing boyfriend! He had apparently wisely fled the scene and was quite possibly leaving Jacket behind while she and her brother were presumably detained. We knew from the interaction during the show that he and Jacket had been dating for three years, but perhaps he had just had enough. Or maybe this kind of thing happens all the time. Who knows? All I know is he looked ready to go and didn’t seem too concerned with Jacket’s whereabouts. I got one final laugh when I got home and saw that Jefferies had tweeted out the following after the show:
The show was great even without all this chaos, but the entire Jacket situation took the experience to the next level. This may have been the funniest stand-up show that I’ve even been to and I’ve been to a lot of stand-up shows. All I know is that the next time Jefferies rolls into town, there is absolutely no way that I’m going to miss it. Not only is he hilarious, but you literally never know what is going to happen at one of his shows. The venue wasn’t sold out, which means that a lot of people are sleeping on the comedic gem that is Jim Jefferies. If he comes to your town, I can’t recommend him highly enough. The police may not need to be called, but you are guaranteed a fantastic night of comedy.
Jim Jefferies is currently out on tour and the second season of Legit begins on February 26th at 10 pm on FXX.