It was with much eagerness and anticipation that Shane and I disembarked our bus and strolled toward the Hackney Empire last Sunday. The beautiful building was unfortunately covered in scaffolding but the rich music hall history enveloped us as we entered the theatre. Our tired eyes scanned the room locating the important amenities of bar and bathroom, as pointed out to us by our usher as we were shown to our (brilliantly close) seats.
We had spent the day in town enjoying lunch at our favourite 50’s diner and soaking up the gloriously warm T-shirt weather. This was followed by a DVD (and accidental nap) at my house, which is exactly what Sundays are for.
My excitement piqued at the ‘two minutes to curtain’ announcement. We had bought these tickets many months ago and we were about to enjoy a comedian whom has been on my bucket list for a few years now.
The lights dimmed and Jimmy Carr took to the stage to rapturous applause, looking as immaculately pressed as ever in a crisp grey suit. I’ve always thought his hair resembled that of a ‘Ken’ doll, but he would have to be Ken’s evil doppelganger – Mattel could never endorse his rated sense of humour!
His nature was very casual and conversational. I began to compare the experience to earlier in the year when I went to see Eddie Izzard with Meagan, but with Wembley Arena having a capacity ten times the size of the Empire’s 1275 seat count, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. This much smaller size allowed Jimmy to address us directly, which he did, and ask us direct questions. He was very engaging and it honestly felt like we were all sitting in a living room having a chat.
The jokes were irreverent, which was to be expected, but also hilarious. His observations were astute, honest and blunt but not so offensive as to cause walk-outs (which I’m very sure he has done before).
Into the second half of the show he mentioned being in Johannesburg, so the inevitable ‘any South Africans in the audience’ question was asked. I hesitated – if only for a nano second. I thought twice about speaking up since his earlier ‘warm’ comments about Australians and greeting Aussies in the crowd with a ‘welcome home’ made me wonder what we’d be letting ourselves in for by admitting our presence. This was quickly superseded by the thought that this moment could be a potential bragging point in the future – and when am I ever going to get the chance to speak to him again?!? At the same moment Shane and I both responded to Jimmy’s question, making ourselves known. He asked us where we were from, and to my answer of Cape Town he responded ‘Oh, the nice part’. On Shane’s response of Durban, he let out a slightly louder ‘Oh’ followed by ‘you must have been proud of Oscar…for a short time’. I couldn’t help but giggle.
Another observation followed that only in South Africa would a sentence like ‘I’m not a racist’ be almost always followed by a ‘but’ and a racist comment. The truth of his comment made me laugh almost as much as his attempted Afrikaans accent.
I can only recommend seeing Jimmy Carr live. Leave your sensitivity at the door, prepare for some audience participation and strap yourself in for hilarity and some exasperated gasping. I would definitely see him again.