These days it seems that YouTube is fraught with thousands of wannabe comics, all looking to be the next big thing – willing to say anything to shock or offend just to get noticed, and maybe land a Netflix special. But a true comedy all-star knows how to charm an audience, not alienate them; how to find the funny in everyday life, the delightful in the dull, and magic in monotony. Enter the international man of comedy, Jimeoin.
The British-born entertainer is a modern-day Renaissance man (although he prefers the term ‘renonsense man’). During his prolific career, he has mastered both the stage and screen, and become known as a one of our best comedy writers and most popular TV presenters. And, for those who remember his deadpan cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ – which featured a 27-year-old Jimeoin casually doing his weekly shop – a bit of a rock star in his own right.
“That song is on my first CD [Goin’ Off, 1993] and I didn’t really think it was anything special, but everyone said, ‘You have got to do a film clip, that could be so funny’, so I did,” he says in characteristically unassuming style.
“Growing up I may have thought about being in a band, but I think all rock stars secretly want to be comedians anyway,” Jimeoin adds. “I like being a comedian better these days. The hours are better – they tend to get off work earlier then rock stars,” he grins.
I just love to be silly and try new things all the time – comedy should be constantly evolving, otherwise it just gets boring.
His tongue-in-cheek manner has made him a perennial favourite on the festival circuit. Last year, Jimeoin took audiences on a rollicking ride while sporting double-denim and a cowboy hat, with the boot scootin’, thigh slappin’ fun of his show Yeehaa!, which celebrated all thing countrified (out now on DVD through Front Row Comedy). “I just love to be silly and try new things all the time – comedy should be constantly evolving, otherwise it just gets boring.”
Jimeoin has always enjoyed a new challenge whether it’s for TV, film, or even an outback adventure. He spent his early days writing and performing on the cult hit comedy Full Frontal and later went on to host The Full Brazilian for SBS during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He wrote and starred in The Extra (which was released in cinemas before Ricky Gervais’s Extras aired in the UK), and he starred alongside Akmal, Kitty Flanagan and his long-time collaborator Bob Franklin in You Can’t Stop The Murders, a spoof on crime-solving released well before Netflix hits Mindhorn and Handsome. He also became the first ever comedian to tour totally “over the top” of Australia, playing anywhere and everywhere – hotels, theatres, swimming pools, and even the odd cattle ranch.
Growing up I may have thought about being in a band, but I think all rock stars secretly want to be comedians anyway.
“A lot has changed since I first came to Australia – almost everything,” he says. “You have to move with the times if you want to keep people laughing.” As a proud father of four, Jimeoin says his favourite joke is his newest joke, and often relies on his kids for inspiration.
Currently Jimeoin is touring the east coast with his Melbourne Comedy Festival smash, Renonsense Man, before heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August with his new show, Ridiculous, which he also plans to tour in his childhood home of Derry, Northern Ireland – birthplace of ‘the craic’.
Jimeoin tours Renonsense Man around Sydney venues from June 23 to July 22. For more information, visit www.jimeoin.com for details.