This is another special entry, as I’ve had the surprise opportunity to not only watch, but also meet, one of my favourite stand-up comedians – the consistently hilarious joke machine that is Jimmy Carr, who is on his Gagging Order tour. And it’s all the more interesting to see him right now, as he’s recently been headline news for his tax avoidance.
I bought a signed tour programme and poster as well, so I’ve shared some images throughout this post (you can click to enlarge them). Naturally some of the jokes in his show and tour programme reflect the more edgy side of his humour, so there may be material here that some people find isn’t to their personal taste. We can’t all like and laugh about the same things. But I enjoyed myself, it was a fantastic night. Jimmy is a genuinely nice guy, his show was very funny, and I hope you enjoy reading about my experience!
Saturday July 21, 2012
Well, things have been a bit fun and eventful all of a sudden!
My friends A & D were going to come to Torquay and see Jimmy Carr at the Princess Theatre in Torquay last night. But then A decided she wanted to go with some of her church friends to see the new Batman film instead (the last in The Dark Knight trilogy). So she asked me earlier in the week if I wanted to go with D in her place. Couldn’t say no to that, could I? I’ve enjoyed all of Jimmy’s DVDs and his TV appearances, so I knew I would like it. I don’t think he’s up A’s street quite so much – well, she does like him, but not as much as D & I do.
So I met D at Torquay railway station, where he arrived with his Guide Dog, and we walked up to the theatre, which is just a 15 minute walk away. As we had been sure to get there early, we sat in the restaurant area and had a glass of Coke each. Then we went to the lobby with everyone else and told them we had booked assistance – plus, in fact, D had been speaking to a couple of ladies on the train who knew the manageress of the theatre, so they texted her to let her know we were coming too.
We asked if they could help us meet Jimmy after the gig, as he often likes to say hello to the audience and sign their programmes, DVDs, etc. Which they said was fine – and then said we could meet him before the show as well!
So they took D & I down to the front of the stage before anyone else was allowed in. There was already a person in a wheelchair there who had the same privilege as us, but that was it. And, as is obvious from the TV and his DVDs, Jimmy’s a really nice guy, he’s very friendly. He was still dressed casually at this point, he hadn’t changed into the suit he wore for his performance. He also used D’s iPhone to take a selfie with D & I, and took a couple of selfies of himself with D’s Guide Dog. And they all came out really well. D’s promised to email me the photos, and I’ve said I’ll try and get large copies printed off at work. So already we had a unique souvenir that nobody else would have.
2022 Update: Sadly D forgot about the selfie and never sent it to me, despite promising to do so, and we lost touch when he split up with A, whose friendship we had in common. So I’m unable to share that unfortunately.
The theatre staff sat us on the left of the auditorium, in the front-most seats there (level with row F on the side of the aisle next to us), because there was a nice space in front of us where the dog could relax while the show was going on (and she was very good, she wasn’t bothered by it at all). They even got her a bowl of water in the interval, which she was only too happy to lap up.
And the show was brilliant, as you would expect. Jimmy opened up with a few good swipes at the whole tax avoidance scandal he’d been involved in, and there were a couple of other references during the show, thus heading off any heckles he might otherwise have got. For instance, he said that you know you’re in trouble when the Prime Minster of your country takes time out from meeting President Obama and other world leaders to talk about a comedian not paying his tax. It always seemed a bit unfair that Jimmy was singled out really. It may not have been morally right, but it was still legal, and he was acting on his accountant’s advice. He’s not a bad man in the grand scheme of things.
The audience got the biggest laugh on that topic though, when Jimmy was indicating that there was a charity collection outside the show. He was about to say what it was for, when someone shouted out “tax evaders”, which got a big laugh and a round of applause. And Jimmy took it in his stride brilliantly. It was never likely to bring down the show to be honest – if people didn’t want to see him for that sort of reason, they would have cancelled anyway. And it’s great that he’s making jokes about it now, after he had to eat some humble pie over it. Clearly he’s still appreciated by the vast majority of his fans despite that, so I don’t think it’s done him any serious harm.
Aside from those few digs at himself, the rest of the show was the usual great Jimmy fare. It’s his 10th solo show now, which is an amazing achievement, and he still comes out with new material every time. And it works. Pretty much every joke hit the mark and got a good laugh.
And the interactions with the audience worked very well, including:
- A couple of people he got up on stage to do a sitcom sketch with him.
- A group of girls on a hen night – Chlamydia Ground Zero as he referred to them at one point.
- A lady who explained how she walked in on her dad using a vibrator on her mum – and apparently got on the bed with them!
- A lady who claimed to have seen a ghost walk through a wall in a pub cellar.
- A guy who had to be told what a vajazzle was.
- A woman who called out in response to a question to say that she was a lesbian, only to go silent when Jimmy tried to find out where she was in the audience.
And then, after the show, the theatre staff helped D & I to skip the queue for the signings, taking us all the way around to meet Jimmy before most of the other people, and he signed our programmes and posters while chatting to us a little bit more. He was very pleased that we’d enjoyed it.
So it was well worth the £26 entry D had paid (he’d only had to pay for himself, as whoever went with him got in for free as his assistant/carer). That got us a show lasting 2 hours (it really seemed to fly by, which shows how fun it was), and the only extra money we spent was £5 each on a thick, glossy programme, with lots of pictures, jokes and an interview, and paying for a glass of Coke each before we went into the theatre. I bought the drinks and the programmes, so I didn’t need to pay D towards the ticket as well – I did offer to, but he said it was fine.
I will of course be getting the DVD of the tour whenever it comes out – the tour is called Gagging Order, but the DVD might have a different title – and it’ll be fun to recognise some of the jokes and be reminded of the show, even though it’ll have ben filmed somewhere else. He could have got a good DVD show from Torquay I reckon, though I doubt they would ever actually film one down here.
The show started about 7:45pm, and finished after 10pm. By the time we’d come out and chatted to Jimmy, it was about 10:30pm. We walked back to the train station afterwards, and I made sure D got on the train at 11:46. There was a bit of confusion with that in fact. We went to the platform we assumed would be the correct one given the direction of travel to Exeter. But then the announcement and the screens, shortly before the train came, told us it was the other platform, so we went over the bridge. And then the train arrived at the platform we’d be on in the first place, so we had to go back over the bridge again Luckily D got on the train fine, as it was the last train that night. I then got a taxi home, getting in just after midnight.
So that was a fun evening out I hadn’t expected to happen this week!