25/05/2006 - 25/05/2006
Acclaimed for his brilliantly funny wit, his charming observations on the absurdities of everyday life and his exceptional rapport with New Zealand audiences – they just love this hilarious Irishman.
Theatre , Comedy , Solo ,
Stand out stand up
Review by Lynn Freeman 08th Jun 2006
JIMEOIN is the whole comedy package, unless you like your comedy to be deep and meaningful – he proudly announces his routine is "message free".
He finds his comedy in the every day, from the smallest events like the real meaning of raised eyebrows, to the frustrations of freezing ice cubes, to the whole relationship thing.
This Irish comedian has been travelling the world for years now but still has just as much fun on stage as his audiences do watching him up there.
He chats about living in a succession of motels and the frustrations thereof, why mothers don’t get your jokes and male/female courtship rituals in bars. And so on.
He’s brilliant, one of the stand-out stand-ups of the festival.
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A giant of understatement
Review by John Smythe 25th May 2006
Random and apparently spontaneous whimsy would be one way of describing the Jimeoin (pronounced Jim Owen) phenomenon. He chats away, softly into his radio mic, as if he’s speaking his thoughts out loud – which is clearly his studied style because at the end of his show his mouth stops moving and his thoughts keep going, just like his guitar has, some moments before, to excellent comic effect.
I can give these things away, I’m thinking, because he’s done his two nights in Auckland, the Wellington gig has been a one-off and that’s it for this visit. I’m also thinking that I want to say something about how late the show started and because it’s there to be slipped in at some point it’s stopping me thinking of what else I might say so I’ll have to spit it out here and move on.
While going up – as thespians are wont to say – 10 minutes late seems obligatory for the Comedy Fest, starting 20 minutes late is beyond the pale. Advertised as a 90-minute show that starts at 7.30, it in fact ended two minutes short of 9.30. So I’m thinking anyone who paid extra for the parking building, got fined for going over time at the MFC carpark, or had to pay more to their babysitter, should sent their bill to Jimeon.
And what about those who naively thought they could easily go on to a 9.30 show at Bats or Bodega? Who’s going to compensate whom for that? Call me curmudgeonly if you like, but in festivals it is especially important to stick to the advertised times.
Of course when Jimeoin finally strolls on and a woman in the second row asks where the bloody hell he’d been, he uses it straight off to immediate effect – not that he gets her reference to the current Aussie tourism slogan (he’s an Irishman who’s relocated to Australia, you see). Then he blames her for spoiling the great opening routine he had planned. Yeah right.
His way is a winning one, though, and he quickly draws us in, murmuring almost, as if we were lying on the grass or a beach somewhere gazing at the milky way or the moon behind clouds, with our heads close together, as he shares what he’s noticed about the minutiae of life.
Eyebrows, for instance. We wear them up for talking and down for listening and when we break that rule, it sends a message. Not that there’s any big message in his show. Just a chance to stop and consider stuff that permeates our daily lives but we’ve never noticed until he points it out. Like where we look, in the space ahead, for difference kinds of remembering: people’s names, long past events, regrets, vague memories … It’s magical in its simplicity.
Just when I’m thinking how amazing it is that we all share such similar experiences of, and responses to, the world around us, he makes the assertion that all New Zealanders speak with the same accent. Not true. And yet how many of us can distinguish the different Irish accents?
He’s an incidental mime artist too, conjuring visions of human behaviour – character traits, pernickety mothers, sleeplessness, getting a refilled ice tray back into the fridge – with what seem like random gestures. He also makes a virtue of his sweaty armpits.
50 Cent, the rap artist, gets a mention, making him the common denominator of the festival so far, with the Tasmanian miners, George Bush and James Blunt also recurring across many shows. But Jimeoin’s central character, the one that keeps of returning, turns out to be a motel kettle.
He says it’s all for a laugh but he can’t help educating us all the same – as to why a Brazilian is called a Brazilian, for example. His songs remain unsung, his perfectly introduced poems stay on the page but this man live on stage is a giant of understatement. Book early next time.
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