Every year, Jimmy Carr goes out on the road and plays an abundance of gigs. Every year, he releases a new stand-up DVD. And every year, there’s not a jot of recycled material in it. For Carr’s shows are freshly written, and one tour is very different to the next. Given the cynical way that some of his peers will happily reuse their own material when out on tour, this is surely something to appreciate.
And what’s more, Carr is getting better. Go back to his very first stand-up DVD, and it was a patchy affair. Sure, it was funny, but it felt quite stop-start in contrast to the flow of the gig we’re presented with here. His style has always been predominantly standing on a stage and telling quick jokes, rather than relying on longer monologues, and that inevitably adds a hit and miss element to his work. But here, while the joke-telling is still the core, he’s fleshed out a broader show, and a funny one at that.
It’s, as usual, a gig not for the easily-offended, as few topics are taboo in Carr’s stand-up set (and you really should heed that 18 certificate). But few comics have refined their delivery to quite the extent as Jimmy Carr, and he has an innate ability to wring out maximum laughs from the majority of his well-written lines. Furthermore, he’s willing to stop at one point, bring on some jazz musicians, and discuss his ideas for changing the world. It’s a little surreal, but it really works, and injects something different into his show.
The gold with this gig though is the audience interaction, which is quite brilliant. Unlike, for instance, the Frankie Boyle DVD, Carr treats his audience with surprising affection rather than just slagging them off, and while he uncovers some material that he can’t resist having a lot of fun with, he subtlety makes sure that the recipient is in on the gag too. It’s where the major belly-laughs on the disc are to be found.
On the extras front, there’s typical generosity here thanks to a compilation of Carr’s audience interaction from around his tour. This really helps overcome the inevitable problem with a stand-up DVD, in that it’s a snapshot of one gig on a tour. Here, we get a flavour of many more Carr performances, with the audio from an assortment of gigs set to some specially commissioned animation. It’s a terrific, and very funny, extra feature, and by the time you’ve also examined the subtitles among the supplementary material, there’s little chance of you feeling shortchanged.
It’s, ultimately, a good, funny gig, and one that works well on DVD. And don’t worry if you don’t like it: there’ll be another one along in a year anyway, no doubt once more with all-new material.