Review: Jimmy Carr


East Yorkshire journalist Roger Crow reviews Jimmy Carr, at Hull City Hall on Friday, March 3.

Jimmy Carr is a man on a mission: he wants to ’offend’ as many people as possible at Hull City Hall this Friday night. I've watched countless comedians push the boundaries over the years, so the hook for me is seeing how far he pushes things. 

While Carr is adept at seeing what will shock the people of Hull, watching him test the water and then dive headfirst into the pool of (un)acceptability is both hilarious and exhausting. 

I’ve heard many of the gags before. “Back on solids”, and “It's like watching your favourite pub burn down,” are a couple of the punchlines. Chances are you can fill in the rest. 

Then again it is a ‘greatest hits’ tour, as he reminds a critic who yells “Old joke!” after one quip. 

The show comes into its own when he goes off topic, sending up latecomers, mid-show texters, and dealing with hecklers like any expert comedian. The few vocal critics that do take on Carr don't have a leg to stand on. Their comments, either fuelled by alcohol, naivety or both, fall flat in seconds. I love a heckler who can match the onstage talent and enhance the show, but the few that try to steal the limelight are soon silenced. 

It's a pleasure to watch Carr work, firing off gag after gag. There's around two or three a minute for the first hour. Some hit the mark; some are old and some have me howling so hard I miss the next three jokes. 

My favourite involves an anecdote about an old TV trick that made chimps look like they are talking by putting peanut butter on the roof of their mouths so they try and lick it off. “The same approach is used for Geordie Shore,” quips Carr. Oh my aching sides.

While he sends up Hull’s status as City of Culture a couple of times, there's no sense of the masses turning on him. Quite the opposite. 

While his gags tackle just about every taboo out there with relish, they never feel vindictive. 

After an hour of rib-tickling, he wisely has a break. With even the best comics, laughing fatigue sets in after 45 minutes or so. I'd hate to leave the show on a low because I couldn't take any more. 

Part two is more of the same: winding up members of the crowd and reading out excellent texts from the audience. I’m guessing most were written in advance by Carr, but who knows? It helps break things up and the calibre of gags does not diminish, regardless of who penned them. 

There are two things I look for in great comedy, whether it's stand-up gigs, TV shows or movies: GPM and VFM - gags per minute and value for money. At around £30 a ticket, Carr delivers, and then some.

It's a gloriously funny show which is well worth the trip and price. Given the thunderous applause at the end, I'm guessing at least eight out of 10 fellow punters would agree. 

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