A Day in the Life of Comedian Jim Jefferies
As the Australian comic prepares for his Carnegie Hall debut, the funny man takes us through a typical day of editing his TV show, getting lobster delivered and being dad to a busy one-year-old
A few months ago, when comedian Jim Jefferies discovered he was going to be playing Carnegie Hall this November 9th as part of the New York Comedy Festival, he was in his native Sydney sitting next to his father. “I said, ‘Dad, I’d like to fly you out to see me at Carnegie Hall’” recalls the star, writer and co-creator of his own FX sitcom, Legit. ‘My dad said ‘I just saw your show last night.’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, but this is Carnegie Hall’ and he says ‘Will it be different material?’ I said ‘No. It’s a only few months away. It’ll probably similar stuff that you just saw’ and he said, ‘I’m not flying all that way to watch the same stuff.’ So he’s not coming.’
Rest assured plenty of others are clamoring to see the daring and irreverent comic who has the unique ability to shock and charm all at once. As the family was home in LA, Jeffries shared a day in his life.
This is the first day of my hiatus from the TV show, Legit. I’ve been getting up at six every morning. I planned on getting up later but my kid woke me up at 7am.
My girlfriend went off to the gym with my son and I laid around in bed for an hour and a half. Then I got up and did some business work. I sent some emails and did some writing for the TV show.
I had a delivery of some lobster that I ordered from Maine. It sounds very fancy. I like my lobster, so I had it delivered and had lobster rolls for breakfast. They sell these kits where the lobster is already cut up and vacuum packed. It’s all fresh and good. I hadn’t had it for a long time so I was excited to get it. I miss Australian seafood. Lobster rolls are my favorite meal in the world. That and Beef Wellington are my two favorite things. I actually made Beef Wellington a couple of days ago. [‘Wait,’ (to his son) ‘what’s wrong, mate?’ My son is pulling at my shirt. He thinks it’s very funny.] So I made a Beef Wellington. It cost as much as buying it in a restaurant but it was just a very good thing. [Wait. Hold on. My son is about to take his first step. He just stood. He was just standing in front of me looking at me but he didn’t take a step. I thought he might have for a second.]
At the moment, my best friend is staying at our house. I went up to his room and watched the first edit of episode two of Legit before we go in to the final edit. I don’t sit in the editing room and watch all the takes and decide which one is the best. I don’t think I could sit through my shit*#y acting to find the one clip where I’m doing a good job. I ask them to give me an edit that they like.
I usually watch about three or four times before I do anything. The first thing I’m looking at is do I look fat. And then after I get over that, I think about what fits. I go through the script and think what might be missing from the edit.
Dr. Drew [Pinsky] is in this episode. I didn’t know if he could act, but he was very good. I thought I could have a scene where I’m doing a radio show and maybe ask for medical advice. I knew he was a fan of the show so I used that against him.
A town car picked me up to go to the Warner Bros. lot to record the Pete Holmes show. I said a few jokes that were pretty unsavory that I don’t think will get on. Hopefully they’ll edit it well. During the show, I was meant to be plugging my Carnegie Hall gig and I forgot to mention it.
Pete’s a good guy. You always think that you can do a little bit better. There’s only ten minutes you get and they edit you down a bit. So I’ll see how it turns out. I think it was pretty good. But I’m always a bit critical of myself. I don’t think it ever ends. If you told me only three years ago that I’d play Carnegie Hall, I think I would tell you ‘Wow. That’ll make me happy. I could really end my career right here.’ But now I’m thinking, yeah. Why is it not selling fast enough? But we’re almost sold out. Not only is this is my first time playing Carnegie Hall but the first time I stepped foot in Carnegie Hall.
I was back in the town car heading home. I like being driven for shows like that. It sort of takes a bit of the stress away. I just text, play games or check email on my phone. Also I’m pretty happy looking out the windows. I usually chat a bit with the driver. You try to find some type of common ground like you do with anyone on this planet — whether you like the same sport or traveled to the same places.
I had that lobster delivery in the morning so when I got home, I ate some lobster bisque. I did an interview with a comedy web page and then played around with my son. Playing with him at the moment is the same as playing with a dog. It’s I’ll fetch your ball for you. Actually my son likes a toy that is five finger puppets on one glove that I got for him in Sydney. It’s all the different Australian animals. He finds it funny.
The practical way fatherhood has changed me is I don’t go out as much. It turns out that my son can’t really be in the house by himself. And instead of chatting to people about myself, I talk about the baby all the time or show photos. I used to hate people who showed photos of babies. I used to think ‘Yeah. Everyone has amazing baby — big f*#ckki#g deal” ’ But I’m telling you this kid is the cutest baby in the world. I might just think that because he’s my baby and probably so. But I think he’s adorable.
Two repairmen came over to fix the pinball machines in my game room. They’re broken but I want to get them up and running before my son’s first birthday on Sunday. They’re fixing my pinball machine as we speak, but I’m optimistic about the future of my pinball machines. I wouldn’t say that my son is a pinball wizard. He’ll just hit one of the buttons and he sometimes accidentally hits the ball. He likes all the flashing lights. He just sits and watches me play and it subdues him.
At the moment I’m watching Orange is the New Black with my girlfriend and baby. I’m quite enjoying the show. In Australia, I grew up with a TV drama about a women’s prison called Prisoner. My brother was very into it. There were a lot more beatings in that show. It seems that everyone’s getting along pretty well in this prison.
My son is winding down now. We’ll go up and give him a bath. Actually, I’d like to tell you I’ll give him a bath but I normally just go up and hang out for about two minutes and watch him splashing and let my girlfriend do all that heavy lifting on that one. She does all the actual cleaning of the child. And I’d like to lie to you and say that we read to our son all the time but I’d like to but what happens is he just starts ripping and trying to tear at the pages. He’s not quite the age where he can sit and focus on a book. But I have the complete Dr. Seuss set upstairs and we have every book. FX gave it to me when he was born. That was very nice of the network.
After my son goes to bed, my girlfriend comes downstairs and I’ll say ‘how about we watch a movie or something?’ And we’ll watch a movie and then she’ll fall asleep about fifteen minutes into it. Then she’ll go upstairs and she’ll yell at me to turn the TV down because she can’t sleep even though she just went to sleep in front of the television twenty minutes ago. The only way she can sleep is if there’s a big TV in front of her. And then when she can’t sleep, it’s an inconvenience when I’m very quietly at the other end of the house. That’ll keep her awake for days.
My girlfriend will wake up. We’ll chat a bit about our day and what we’re going to do tomorrow and then I’ll wind down by playing Angry Birds on my phone until about hour before I drift off. The thing is I’m not staying up very late these days because I’m still on the body clock of the TV show which was six till six. I still get tired pretty early. I’m thinking tomorrow I might go buy a few comic books.