Jimeoin: ‘Pop culture doesn’t entertain me, politics doesn’t tickle me’

Comedian Jimeoin

Comedian Jimeoin - Credit: Archant

Jimeoin’s inspired silliness has made him a favourite down under, but the Irish comic tells BRIDGET GALTON it’s not rocket science; it’s just good fun

He may play down his talent, but stand-up Jimeoin must be doing something right.

The 50-year-old has won plaudits for his “brilliantly observed” inspired ramblings that take the familiar to a fantastically silly level and leave audiences a gibbering mess.

But when asked the theme of the show he’s bringing to Kentish Town’s Forum he says: “It’s themeless. Pointless really. It’s just jokes and conversation. You will be none the wiser by the end of it.”

Having made a career of gimmick-free joyful nonsense, the Irish-raised comic was until recently known only in Australia where he emigrated in his early 20s.

After working as a gardener and on building sites he dipped his toe into the comedy circuit, rising to get his own TV show and write and star in two feature films.

He now tours and works as TV presenter, living in Melbourne with his wife and four children.

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Although he’s done plenty of UK TV appearances including a comedy tour of Australia’s outback for BBC Northern Ireland, and played the Edinburgh Fringe, he only performed his first solo London gig three years ago.

“I went to Australia when I was quite young and although I had a good career I didn’t want to die wondering if it could have worked for me in the UK so I started to tour over there and it’s going good.”

Back in the late 80s when he first tried stand up he was a total rookie.

“I hadn’t seen it before and didn’t know there were people who took it seriously. I did it for a laugh I got up and told three jokes. It was like a bungee jump, a scary experience but it became something that felt good.”

Born James Eoin Stephen Paul McKeown to Irish parents in Leamington Spa he jokes that “it’s hard being Irish when you are English.” Although he was raised in Northern Ireland he now likes to wind up his Irish/Aussie in-laws by telling people he’s English.

“Really I don’t buy into this animosity (between the Irish and English) I have always got on very well with them as neighbours and friends.”

In fact he lived in London for four years while studying Building Management and is glad to return to The Forum where he fondly recalls seeing Simple Minds.

“I remember after Poly I wasn’t keen on working. I was realistic but I remember thinking it would be nice to do something other than work like being in a band or an actor.”

Asked whether the likes of YouTube have helped him reach an audience outside Oz he says: “There used to be these stepping stones, you had to do the variety shows and the Apollo but there are no kingmakers any more. I did the Royal Variety and only sold an extra 70 tickets for my tour!”

Luckily he likes touring which he compares to shift work “four weeks on and two weeks off”.

“Live gigs are a great art form it’s an enjoyable thing but you have to do it a lot to be good at it. The best comics are the ones who have done it to the point where they are jaded.”

So how did he find his unique voice? “Pop culture doesn’t entertain me, politics doesn’t tickle me. If I say it and laugh at it it goes in. It’s not writing a joke so much as repeating something that made you laugh.”

He may mention his family “the worries you have as a parent” or having a row with his wife: “I used to hate people talking about their wives but if you talk about some genuine spite or fighting. If it’s come from a genuine place and you are honest about your own life those bits are funny and people can relate to them.”

Tickets from livenation.co.uk