Adelaide Fringe

Interview: Jimeoin – the new “Renonsense Man”

Back in Adelaide for a lengthy Fringe gig, comedic icon Jimeoin took some time out to chat to Glam over a coffee in Rundle Street.

Back in Adelaide for a lengthy Fringe gig, comedic icon Jimeoin took some time out to chat to Glam over a coffee in Rundle Street. A popular performer for decades, his first gig was at the Harold Park Hotel in Glebe: the same venue that saw fellow comedian Akmal Saleh’s debut.

“We went along just to watch” he tells us. “I was with a couple of friends, and a girl put my name down, because we could all get in for free if I got up, so I did it, purely to entertain my friends. I told three jokes and that was the start of it so I thought “oh I’d like to do this again”. Then I just started getting paid for it!”

Interestingly, it was his, still quite thick, Irish accent, which gave motivation to his urge to get on stage. “When I first came out [to Australia] and I started doing stand-up, I noticed that people would understand me more on stage than they would socially. I’d always be repeating myself socially…but then they would understand [my accent] on stage. Then the fact that they would find things funny that I thought they would never get…that was a really nice feeling…like I had a whole lot of friends.  You know when you drop your guard with people? And you think “oh you find that funny, and I find that funny”, and all of a sudden you’re on a different page”.

The Irish are renowned for humour. Jimeoin thinks joke-telling might be hard-wired into the Hibernian psyche. “Well I teach my kids to tell jokes. I tell a joke, and then they’ll tell it to someone else in the family. They become almost like a dream-time story…jokes are like that for Irish people. We create this world that’s farcical and relate things that haven’t really happened. Although my mother often still thinks they’re real!”

Interestingly, he was never a particular comedy fan as a young man. “I was never into watching comedy. Although I remember finding the Sex Pistols really funny. I laughed at them more than at the comedians. I was thinking “Freaking hell, these guys are having a right laugh”. As a young man you were into dancing and being cool; you didn’t want to be laughing at shit! Especially things that people told you to laugh at.”

We wondered now, as a mature man, who he admires in comedy. “I hate them all!” he laughs. “Especially the good ones. Who’s the comedian you despise the most? That’s a better question. I despise them all!! I actually enjoy a lot of the people who are comedians, but they’re annoying…especially if they’re good!”

He is also acutely aware of the paucity of women in the field. “I’ve been backstage at the Rhino Room and it’s been all men. And I’ve never been able to put my finger on why that is.  I always find girls much funnier socially than men. If I’m with friends, I want to be with the girls…the boys annoy me. Their conversation’s kind of dry whereas the girls’ conversation is much more enjoyable. But comedy is still a boy’s club and I can’t figure out why.”

Despite a career that spans TV, film and everything in between, Jimeoin still relishes the stand-up gigs. “I really want every show to be a good night, and I want to enjoy it. I’m very much in the moment. I’m not thinking that if I do really well tonight this will lead onto another job. Or this is just a way of getting somewhere else. I think “this is it…this is as good as it’s going to get and this is the bit I’m enjoying”. Getting to that part of the day can be hard work. And getting to bed after that part of the day can be hard work, but that part when you’re up there doing a new joke…that’s gold. Old jokes that still work…they’re like an ice-skater doing a triple spin…everyone’s impressed but you’re sick of doing it. But a new joke that really works…that’s the stuff I enjoy. And the Adelaide Fringe is great: It’s a lot of fun hanging out and catching up with people. The audience are very appreciative. The people of Adelaide really love the fact that they’ve got this in their city”.

His new show bears the brilliant title Renonsense Man. “It’s just jokes really….new jokes…no message, no agenda. I don’t find anything that’s going on in the world amusing really, it’s more what’s going on in my own head! I’m just trying to be joyful. That’s infectious”.

Jimeoin’s infectious comedy can be seen at the Royalty Theatre, 16th to the 19th  March at 7.30 pm.

Interviewed by Tracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten


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