If you happened to miss any of the press for stand-up stalwart Jimeoin’s new Fringe show, it promises something like this: a “ferocious onslaught of gags and a constant stream of laughter… unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”
Perhaps whoever wrote that saw only the last few minutes of the Irish comedian’s “new” hour-long show, Jimeoin LIVE.
Jimeoin is a Fringe veteran. He draws in big crowds, mostly folk who remember his early stand-up from the 1990s and 2000s or at least remember their dad laughing along to it.
But the true success stories of the Fringe, the performers who come back year after year to sold-out tents, reinvent their shows. Jimeoin takes a bet on sticking to a tired formula, and it doesn’t pay off.
To the blasting sounds of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”, he bounds on stage and declares: “There’s a few restrictions in place and I’ve been asked to tell you about them: you’re only allowed to laugh at every other joke.” He also tells audience members they don’t have to listen to all the show; they can “tune in and tune out”. They appear to take this literally.
Laughs are scattered as Jimeoin phones it in, trotting out the predictable COVID-19 gags alongside stories about his marriage, masturbation, Mick Jagger’s dancing and Prince Andrew. There’s one recycled joke I swear my grandfather told me 15 years ago.
Jimeoin knows when some jokes don’t soar. A gag about the Queen’s wave doesn’t fly, and he admits, “some of these jokes aren’t great, but you’ve got to go with it, otherwise it will be a long night”.
He too often strays into areas that are hackneyed. Gags about lepers, transgender people, homosexuality, religion and the Vikings are pretty dated. “The Vikings did well – they raped and pillaged everywhere they went, which was acceptable behaviour back then. Of course you couldn’t do it now – the world’s gone mad.”
Jimeoin pulls out his guitar for what is his best work of the night – some tongue-in-cheek songs that deliver the laughs, finally, when the curtain is about to fall.
At various other points, his trademark Jim Carrey-esque facial expressions get the jokes across the line. But it can’t save them all.
“I’ve got these jokes, I’ve written them down and if they don’t work I just give them a little tick,” he tells the audience after one falls flat. “That’s definitely in the ‘needs work section’, which every night seems to be getting longer.”
Jimeoin LIVE is in the Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 20.
Read more 2022 Adelaide Fringe stories and reviews here.
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.