It’s a warm sticky Friday night and I made my way to Worthing Assembly Hall to see Jimmy Carr perform his brand new stand up show Laughter Therapy. Jimmy Carr has been touring non stop for years now, coming up with a new show ever year starting around September and this is also around same time he visits Worthing.
Perhaps this is an ideal 2nd date on the tour, after traveling down from the previous nights opening show at Reading, a smaller, more intimate crowd is a good way for him to gauge the quality of the jokes and how they come across.
As we got to our seats, the stage was set up in usual Jimmy Carr style, huge screen in the middle with his face on it, a desk on the right hand side and a seating area on the left.
The show started with a trademark Powerpoint style warm up act on the big screen, warming the crowd up with some simple jokes. It feels very strange sitting in a room with around 1000 people all reading the same joke, then all laughing as the punch line comes up.
Then came the count down on-screen and out came Jimmy Carr, dressed in a grey suit and white shirt.
He dives straight into the comedy, with some extremely crude and outrageous jokes. These are the sort of jokes that if you went to work tomorrow and told them to your colleagues, you would have been put on disciplinary, had a capability review and marched out of the building all in the short space of time before you have even delivered the punch line. Some how Carr can get away with this. He has mastered the art of shrugging his shoulders, putting on an innocent expression and using his very amusing laugh.
The man is a full on joke machine, with 100’s of quick one liners, subjects ranging from sex, his girlfriend, religion, the news and pretty much anything he can use to twist words and create a witty gag from.
This is his 7th live tour in as many years and still he has a whole stack of new jokes. This years tour however seemed to have a couple of new elements. Jimmy seemed to venture into new territory of telling a couple of longer jokes. The master of the one liner can also pull off an excellent story type joke too!
One massive factor of the show is audience participation. On this evening, towards the beginning you could see Jimmy scouting around the front rows of the audience as he was throwing jokes our way. He found his prey and ended up having a conversation with one guy who claimed to have met the queen in Trafalgar square. The queen apparently told this guy he was very young for a war veterain. In quick-witted fashion, Jimmy replied “glad to see the queens still got it”. That was the last we heard from this lad until the 2nd half where he was invited on stage for an xfactor style joke audition against a girl from Liverpool who Jimmy Carr had spoken to earlier in the show.
There appeared to be an underlining theme of this show all about Jimmy Carr wanting to improve himself and further his career. This was first evident with his accents gag. Starting off saying how he wants to be better at doing accents, he has come up with stereotypical phrases and words which help get you into the accent. He then gets the audience to repeat them.
He then said he wanted to get into doing his own talk show and wanted a volunteer to come on stage for a chat show style interview. This was the ultimate highlight of the show as a lad in a wheel chair talks his way into convincing Jimmy to have him on stage.
His father then carries this boy onto the stage as there is no ramp and Jimmy starts asking him what he does and is not afraid to poke fun at the boy mentioning how clean his trainers are.
Some comedians would perhaps have avoiding this mine field of a gag, but Jimmy Carr just seemed to enjoy it more and so did the lad. The two of them worked so well off each other it was like some sort of double act.
“I wanted to be a stand up comedian, but that has not really worked out for me” said the boy, of who has no use of his legs. Jimmy looks lost for words as the audience cracks up with laughter.
“Have you tried wheel chair football’ suggested Jimmy. “No its shit!” said the boy very quickly back. Again, a huge laugh from the audience. They both then told their best disabled joke, both of which were very similar but both very funny.
The lad is then carried off the stage to a huge round of applause.
With this being only the 2nd show of the tour, he pulled out a couple of clip boards with new jokes which he had only recently written and decided to test them on the audience. You could tell he takes his job as a comedian very seriously. As he was reading out the new jokes, he was looking around, listening to the responses and making notes.
He ended the show by explaining that there is a line you can cross in comedy which makes the jokes un tasteful and he decided he wanted to explore these boundaries. He worked up from inoffensive jokes all the way up to the extremely offensive with by the end some people shaking their heads at the jokes. But that’s Jimmy Carr, people know what they are in for when they go to see him and he still got a massive round of applause as he left the stage after the 2 and a bit hour show.
Also in typical Jimmy Carr fashion (and I have yet to find another comedian or musician who does this) stayed behind at the end to meet anyone who stayed. He was signing programs and tickets for fans and taking his time to have a good chat with everyone. He was kind enough to take my business card and say he would read my blog if he had a spare minute and asked my girlfriend about her unusual necklace. He is a top performer and even more a top bloke!
Some have said the format of his live show was getting a bit stale and all his shows were starting to feel the same. well this is obviously something Jimmy Carr has noticed too and things have changed. More people are coming up on to stage, there is more variety of jokes and over all, this show may well be his best to date.
Missed out seeing him in Worthing? No problem! He will be coming to the Brighton Comedy festival on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th October as well as many other venues across the country. I have heard whispers that this could be his last live tour, whether that’s for good or that he is going to have a well deserved extended break from touring, I do not know but do not miss this chance to see the master of the one liner live.
Check out his latest live dates at