A Comedian to Watch: Jimmy Carr

Now, this blog post will not be news for my international readers.  While he’s been a mainstay in the UK comedy scene for years, (most sources point to 2000), but has yet to gain a popular following in the United States. A true tragedy if I saw so myself.

I first stumbled on Carr’s work during an early episode of Top Gear, where he was often featured as the ‘Star in the Reasonably Priced Car.’ Between the numerous Top Gear appearances, and the occasional Graham Norton Show re-run, I found myself propelled on a YouTube binge. Up until fairly recently, the only way to watch Carr’s numerous comedy specials (at last count… there’s 9 of them), was either on the streaming video medium, or to be one of the lucky you-know-what’s to own a region free DVD player (best investment I’ve ever made…BTW).

Within the last year, things have started to shift a bit. I discovered earlier in the year that Jimmy Carr’s most recent comedy special, “Funny Business” was picked up, and is currently available to stream on Netflix. American readers with a subscription take note, as much of his work is still restricted to YouTube or region two DVD’s.

I do feel obligated to say that Carr’s stand-up is not for those among us who are… easily offended. He probably has the most courage of any comedian I’ve seen. His comedy regularly strays into territory that can best be described as… dark… Yeah… that’s probably the best word. It is the type of humor where you find yourself laughing, and questioning where it was that you became such a terrible person. However, in enjoying his comedy, we can all unite in the fact that we are all in fact, terrible people. It’s a good thing!

I give him tremendous credit as well as a student of comedy. In a number of his specials, Carr delves into his theories on comedy, and it’s fascinating to listen to his thoughts on the art of joke writing. The little writer in me finds the thought of joke writing absolutely terrifying. He comes at it from an incredibly intellectual place, considering the dark and often “blue” nature of his comedy. In a press release, which ran last month through the BBC, it was revealed that Carr will be hosting a one-off special on the networks about the science behind laughter and comedy. Shane Allen, the Controller of BBC Comedy Commissioning is quoted in the article as saying,

“This Horizon special compliments our sitcom season perfectly. Our national sense of humour defines and shapes us, so who better than Jimmy Carr to explore what tickles us and help to get under the skin of what is unique about British comedy.”

The special will reportedly air as par of the BBC’s landmark season, which is slated to begin later this year. Keep your ears open for more on this, I will obviously post as I hear more.

As this is a quick lunch-hour posting, I’m going to keep this short and wrap up. As I mentioned earlier, Carr has yet to gain a solid foothold in the United States. However, the fingers of this writer are crossed. Carr has the staunch support of comedy mega-everything, and Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick. As a result has recently guested on the Nerdist podcast, as well as an episode of Hardwick’s late-night comedy series @Midnight. If what I’ve written sounds up your alley, perhaps check out the Nerdist podcasts, and expand from there?  Don’t forget the Netflix special.

Note: Currently, his most recent Nerdist appearance has droped off the website. Link connects to a 2013 appearance, and will be updated when it reappears.

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