REVIEW: Jimeoin in What?! (Comedy Festival)


Passes the smell test [by James Wenley]

And all the people say... What?!

When it comes to Jimeoin, what he says matters far less than what he does. The Aussie/Irish comic is a fairly regular face at our comedy festival, and a top draw act – filling Sky City Theatre. Jimeoin has long perfected a dry, laid back style of observational comedy that sifts through the ridiculous in the milieu of day-to-day existence. But his biggest strength is the physical acting-out of his impressions, and an expressive face he can shape like putty.

Jimeoin and his audience are quickly at ease with one another, Jimeoin dancing along to his lead-in music, and quickly asks us if we are “ready for some jokes?”. Oh yes we are. Jimeoin has an extremely good sense of his audience, presenting his material with an inclusive wink-and-nod to us, sometimes telling us what he is doing – including letting us know he was going to go off and back on again for his curtain call. He’s also very good at judging how long he can milk laughs for; drawing his gags out long enough without getting stale. In one improvisatory moment, he was able to continue the waves of laughter by simply reacting to the audience’s laughter, thereby generating new ripples. Latecomers lead to great relatable material on how to best get past other audience members to your seat, Jimeoin miming for our education his preferred option.

Jimeoin’s content, focusing on the ordinary, is itself rather unordinary on its own. There’s a whole section of supermarket jokes, an examination of icecubes, and an analysis of different reactions people have to different smells. But again, his style sells it.

As I try to say the last goodbye to the colleague who joined me for What?!, making light of one of Jimeon’s extended commentaries on the problems of saying goodbye to people, I realised that this was the exact same thing I did after the last time I went to see Jimeoin. He is something of a comfort comedian – familiar, charming, and a guarantee of laughs rather than fresh insight.

Jimeoin’s What?! is presented as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival and plays at Sky City Theatre until 18 May. Details see Comedy Festival.

SEE ALSO: review by Vanessa Byrnes

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