Jim Jefferies making his New Zealand debut was one of the first shows of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival and it was a great way to kick it off.
There was a huge crowd at Auckland's ASB Theatre, testament to the quality of this foul-mouthed Aussie's DVDs and YouTube clips and the Kiwi fans they've amassed him.
One of his opening jokes - aside from tearing apart an idiot in the crowd who yelled some obnoxious drunken greeting - was about his girlfriend's genitals. The very crass Australian slang he used to say what he had to say announced clearly the sort of night we were in for.
A lot of the evening's routine was incredibly filthy and also remarkably personal to Jefferies' life. He talked a lot about his very young son, a lot about the disturbing thoughts he has during his sex, a bit about his struggles with drugs and alcohol, his relationship with his mother... all of this and more he ranted about with a brutal frankness that had me cringing almost as much as it had me belly-laughing.
Jefferies' extreme candidness about fatherhood and sex reminded me a bit of Louis CK, only with a delivery more like Rodney Rude. Some of his bits sounded like eloquent versions of late-night conversations between heavily intoxicated teenage boys, egging each other on to make more and more outrageous, funny observations.
Switching to a couple of serious topics for two extended bits deeper in his set, Jefferies laid into American gun culture before targeting the Oscar Pistorius case. These were both utterly ruthless and hilarious.
Part of the reason I wanted to go along to Jefferies' show is that he's one of the only comedians to ever actually offend me. Prior to seeing his Auckland show, I'd seen his DVD Alcoholocaust and some of the sexist humour in it rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't like it. But I do like to challenge myself and enjoyed most of that DVD so wanted to see the full show.
Sure enough, a casual comment he made about rape, a comment about it being OK to murder people if they're attractive women and a few other jokes rubbed me the wrong way at his Auckland gig. Within the satiric context of everything Jefferies says these things aren't as offensive as if it were someone saying them seriously, of course, but I'd like the show more as a whole if it wasn't tainted with the occasionally unpleasant misogyny.
But his set as a whole was still very, very good. This is a gifted, world-class comic and I hope he comes back to treat his Kiwi fans with another live show soon.
The penultimate gag of Jefferies' debut New Zealand routine was fittingly a story that involved Neil and Liam Finn, and it was a great, uproarious way to go out. But then, despite having gone over time already, Jefferies responded to the demanding and vocal crowd by finishing things off with his classic gag 'Gunther'.
It was brilliant.