Jimmy Carr: Public Display of Affection, International Conference Centre, Edinburgh
Monday 23 August 2004
Jimmy Carr arrived in town like a Rolls-Royce, smug in the knowledge that he had the power to match his spotless appearance.
Jimmy Carr arrived in town like a Rolls-Royce, smug in the knowledge that he had the power to match his spotless appearance. If Jimmy was the Roller, then the EICC was the outsized garage he parked in. In fact, let me push the analogies further to give you an idea of the scale of this "Fringe" venue - it looked like the United Nations, and being in Row X along with the rest of the Albanian delegation was no laughing matter. A far cry from last year, when Carr was able to welcome each audience member individually to his Pleasance venue.
Admittedly, Carr's run in Edinburgh this year is short, but TV appearances such as the Channel 4 game show Distraction have elevated him to what he admits he is; a minor celebrity, but one able to fill the 1,200-seat EICC six times or so.
Like most minor celebs, he could get his own chat show one day, and his set here is prescient of that. Everything about the perfectly turned out Carr screams light entertainment - except, of course, his "post-modern ironic" un-PC jokes.
Despite the scale of the venue and my misgivings about comedy and its natural environs, Carr's conveyor belt of one-liners ("My dad's dying wish was to have his family around him. I can't help thinking he would have been better off with more oxygen") provide the big belly-laughs that have sadly been absent elsewhere on the Fringe this year.
Recognising that there is a "you've paid to see me but you're wondering who I am" element in the crowd, Carr takes a seat at one point to tell us about his Irish background and his aborted career in marketing. As with his tales of celebrity put-downs, there's a danger that this can seem a little self-indulgent. But the delivery here is more explanatory than it is smug: that he saves for the punchlines themselves, irrespective of who they are aimed at.
Not that one or two hecklers don't get the sharp end. Explaining a joke about Jesus being the successful product of a teenage mum, he asks one apparently mystified woman: "Do you know who the protagonist is?" It's a quality moment: there are only a few comedians who could get away with asking that kind of question of their public.
Carr isn't so pleased when others take liberties, and is currently embroiled in legal action against Jim Davidson for allegedly using one his jokes. As Steve Bennett of the comedy website Chorlte says: "The story highlights the gulf between modern comics, who pride themselves on distinctive material, and the older generation for whom swapping the same gags was par for the course."
It also shows that Jimmy has a far wider appeal than many of his generation. Like the Rolls, it might seem crass and flashy at times, but you have to admire the craftsmanship.
To 29 August (0131-226 0000)
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 SAG Awards: Fake applause track interrupts Reese Witherspoon
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after Wembley Stadium rant
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Game of Thrones season 5: IMAX releases new trailer with first look footage of Tyrion Lannister
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks