When the comedian’s cult show ‘Legit’ got canceled, he returned to his stand-up roots (and inked a deal with Netflix).
Photo: Matthias Clamer / FX Networks / Everett Collection
Comedian Jim Jefferies recently watched helplessly as his TV series, Legit, got canceled after two seasons on FX. The network pulled the plug on the darkly funny show because, despite some praise from the critics, no one really watched it. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Jefferies taped a new stand-up special, Bare, which will debut on Netflix on August 29. It’s a crass, hilarious hour on topics like gun control, sex and casting a disabled TV character. We spoke with the comedian about his writing process, the ups and downs of life on television, and trying to become his own type.
How do you determine what you’ll talk about when doing a new stand-up special?
The topics sort of pick themselves. I never sit down and focus on 'Okay, well, now I’ve gotta write some material about this.' It’s whatever is in my thoughts at the time and then how long the joke is depends on how much I can say about it. Often the problem I have is that a lot of my jokes are very long-winded. I wouldn’t be a good comic on like America’s Got Talent or Last Comic Standing where they perform for three minutes at a time. I wouldn’t get one joke out.
When the topics pick themselves, do you ever find yourself talking about something you never thought you’d joke about?
In this special, there’s a maybe 14-minute routine on gun control. I came from Australia, where they don’t really have guns, and lived in Britain, where they don’t really have guns either, and I’ve never particularly cared whether a person had a gun. Now I’ve become someone who’s become a voice for the gun control people. It’s something I didn’t see happening. Being edgy for me was saying there’s not God, or something like that. I was just preaching to the choir because the people who were coming to see me were already Atheists. But with this new special there are people who are going to watch it who are pro-gun. It’s a lot more tense of a situation to be in and it’s not one I particularly sought after.