Master jokesmith and all-round funny guy Jimmy Carr has been touring the antipodes with his Funny Business show recently. The self-styled “hardest working man in comedy” (which he admits isn’t that impressive, being similar to “tallest dwarf” or “healthiest Scotsman”) gave two performances in one night in Wellington – the first having sold out, and either his tour schedule or venue availability necessitating the double whammy. Fortunately, as I’d booked early, we were in on the first sitting at 8pm rather than the later (billed as starting at 10:15, but actually started after 11:00pm according to my source).
I perused the Entertainment website to find somewhere away from our usual haunts for dinner, and we ended up in the Cuba Street Bistro. It may surprise you to learn that this is a bistro on Cuba Street. They serve typical bistro fare. We both liked the sound of the crab ravioli, so I had it as a starter whilst Nicola had it as main course. I followed with the pork 2 ways (pork belly and a pulled shoulder pastry sandwich) served with red cabbage, while Nicola started with the duck liver paté – served with “grilled bread”, apparently. Looked like toast to me, but hey, who’s arguing?
The St James Theatre in Wellington is undergoing a bit of a renovation at the moment, whilst they rip out what was The Jimmy and install a new Mojo in its stead. We were upstairs in the circle. We took our seats when the bell rang, and looked on expectantly. The pre-show projection listed a number to text if you had any questions, comments or heckles that you wanted Jimmy to respond to (or, in the case of heckling, just hear).
Before the show started, he enjoined us not to record the show on our cell phones, pointing out that (i) you’ll never listen to it again and (ii) the best way to enjoy the show was here and now. He then launched into the show.
Jimmy Carr is an old-fashioned kind of comedian. He doesn’t do the whole stream-of-consciousness thing with different characters, situations and long stories, like Eddie Izzard and Bill Bailey…he tells jokes. Lots and lots of jokes. Many of them are very rude, about people, or groups of people. No-one is safe from his scathing wit. Oscar Pistorius? Maybe he just really, really needed to pee. Teachers were also a favourite subject.
At the start of the second half, he read out a number of texts he’d received. Some of them were jokes (recycled from other comedians, I would hazard) and some were comments on the show. At the beginning of the show, he’d promised us “an hour’s worth of funny material, crammed into two hours”, and one wag wanted to know when he’d start with the funny material.
We left at around 10:15pm and had to fight our way out down the stairs and through the foyer, as the theatre management didn’t seem to have given much thought to managing a theatreful of outgoing people at the same time as a theatreful of incoming people.