Few comedians are universally loved – the ones who don’t curse or talk politics or make you think much at all.
Jim Jefferies is not one of those comics.
“But I’m taking the easy route,” says the Australian comic, sarcastically.
Jefferies is on the phone from his home base in Los Angeles, where he’s gearing up for his upcoming tour, which stops Friday, July 29, at the Saroyan Theatre. There seems to be some hostility toward those who think dirty jokes make for easy laughs, or that clean comedians are inherently more wholesome. Bill Cosby, for instance.
The 39-year-old comedian is known for his dark humor. Cosby comes up early in his latest stand-up special “Freedumb,” which was released July 1 on Netflix. There are also bits about ISIS, Donald Trump and guns.
Jefferies created, wrote, produced and starred in the critically acclaimed series “Legit” that aired on FX.
Jefferies’ thoughts on guns are well-known. Clips from his first Netflix special went viral last year. In it, he compares the gun culture in the United States to his homeland of Australia, which instituted a massive ban on guns after a mass shooting in 1996, and lays out what he sees as the only argument for gun ownership: People just like guns.
“It’s not the best argument, but it’s the only one you’ve got,” he says in one clip.
The piece was a good bit of comedy, Jefferies says. He knew it when he wrote it, though the follow-up bit, in which he talks about the South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius, is far superior, he says.
Jefferies didn’t write it with any kind of premeditation and didn’t expect it to have the effect it did.
“Things aren’t as complicated as people think they are,” he says. “Sometimes, it’s just lucky coincidence.”
For the Fresno show, Jefferies has a few new pieces about guns and a little more on politics, but mostly stuff from his personal life. It’s material most fans have never seen him do before.
None of it was written to appease an audience, he says. A Jim Jefferies show is all about what he thinks is funny. He comes off as almost blasé about appealing to a general audience.
“Either people like you or they don’t,” he says.
A lot depends on the specific audience and its perception of the world, and that changes from country to country, state to state and city to city, he says. To some, Jefferies comes off as straight-thinking and level-headed. To others, he’s a radical.
The gun lovers think he’s a hippie, which he finds funny: “I don’t think I’m a hippie,” he says.
See, he’ll never be universally loved.
People will be listening to that for years to come.
Jim Jefferies, on his now famous bit on gun control
- 7 p.m. Friday, July 29
- Saroyan Theatre, 730 M St.
- 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com