Jim Jefferies has a secret to tell about Brad Pitt. The movie actor has shown up several times on Comedy Central’s “The Jim Jefferies Show” as its unofficial weatherman, casually sharing the horrors of climate change. But here’s the truth: Pitt hasn’t dropped by in a year.
“This is the one that went viral, even though it was recorded a year ago,” Jefferies said of a recent Brad Pitt segment. The show had leftover footage of Brad doing a LeBron James joke, which felt timely because of the NBA playoffs. Slayer guitarist Kerry King happened to be on set, so they put him in front of a green screen, and it looked like the musician was a fan trying to talk to him.
“And then Gayle King is on the news going, ‘Wow, Brad Pitt must really love Jim Jefferies, he’s back on the show!’ I should be lying and saying he came back in,” Jefferies said.
But the truth may be even more interesting: Even though “The Jim Jefferies Show” is finding old, unused footage of Brad Pitt to keep the gag going, the relationship is real. Pitt was a fan of Jefferies’ FX series “Legit,” and came in twice to record bits for his Comedy Central show. “He also recorded a whole heap of stuff just on the phone,” Jefferies said. “Sometimes it will be the middle of the night and I’ll get a text message from Brad Pitt, and it would be him in Venice on a canal, doing his own script and everything.”
Jefferies said he might still find more on the cutting room floor to keep having Pitt on, “or I might be ballsy enough to text him in a few days and ask him… but I feel like leaving him alone now, I think he’s done enough. He was just super nice and asked to do the show. He liked my standup. I think possibly after he met me he was less enamored.”
For many Americans, Australian comic Jim Jefferies first came across their radar a few years ago due to a viral clip of his biting stand up routine on gun violence and reform, written after the massacre of little children in Newtown, Conn. Others may have gotten to know him through his FX comedy “Legit” or from his regular stand up gigs around the world.
But now he’s making waves as the host of Comedy Central’s “The Jim Jefferies Show,” which is currently in the midst of a 20-episode run, with the option for ten more. The weekly series tackles political and social subjects and also follows Jefferies for remote pieces, including an on-the-ground look at the March for Our Lives rally in San Diego this spring, a ride along with Amsterdam police, and a look at anti-abortion laws in Ireland.
Jefferies’ take on topics such as gun control, sexual harassment and the NFL player protests against police brutality has earned him plenty of attention — as has the unlikely appearance of Pitt.
Jefferies recently stopped by IndieWire’s TURN IT ON to talk about how his comedy has evolved as he’s gotten older, as well as his take on Michelle Wolf’s recent White House Correspondents Dinner performance, the line between journalism and comedy, the rumors about his death in Malta (a country to which he had never been), how his gun control bit went viral, his disappointment about the cancellation of “Legit,” and more. Listen below!
Jefferies said he believed the recent White House Correspondents Dinner, and the chatter surrounding host Michelle Wolf’s performance, was the best thing possible for her career.
“I like Michelle,” he said, “and I think it could not have gone better for her. The media played into her hands with her new show coming out. This is a f—ing dream.”
As for the debate over whether shows like “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” or “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” are practicing journalism in addition to comedy, Jefferies said yes — and that they shouldn’t hide from it.
“A lot of them do journalism and then when they get pulled up on something they go, ‘no, we’re just a comedy show,'” he said. “I think they hide behind those jokes sometimes.”
Jefferies said he stands “behind everything we say on the show. I’m not reporting the news I’m just an opinion piece. What we’re doing, comedy is the most important thing, but if we’re relaying facts, they’re facts that we believe to be true at the time.”
As a result, Jefferies said the show has turned him into a much more informed citizen. “We have researchers, and it’s not just people Googling stuff. My opinion’s more well formed than most people in the country because I’ve got researchers and people handing me stuff.”
Jefferies knows that to many, if not most, audiences, he’s still the “gun control guy,” thanks to this video that went viral:
The comedian noted that he wrote that routine after the fatal shootings of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. “We were filming an episode of my sitcom when Sandy Hook happened, and there was an older actor who I think is a very nice fellow, but he’s a mad Republican gun-owning sort of guy. And we got into a bit of an argument after Sandy Hook and that whole routine just wrote itself after 30 minutes,” he said.
“I’m still very proud of that comedy routine,” Jefferies added. “I don’t think it’s the best thing that I’ve ever done. But I think that routine gave a lot of frustrated people a lot of fun, non-confrontational arguments that they could use at dinner parties.”
Later this year, Jefferies has another special in the works at Netflix. The comedian is impressed with the streaming service’s always-expanding library of stand-up shows.
“They’re making money off standup comedy, and it’s a very symbiotic relationship,” he said. “Now they have the best library of stand-up comedy we’ve ever seen.”
As for whether he’ll ever revisit “Legit,” Jefferies said Pitt has asked to see a script should it be revived as a movie to wrap the show’s characters’ storylines.
“But if I leave it too long one of the characters should be dead by now,” he said. “That’s the problem I’ve got. I’ve got to speed it up.”
Jefferies admits he’s still a bit disappointed that “Legit” was canceled after two seasons, when part of its decline came because FX moved the show to FXX, “a channel no one had ever f—ing heard of.”
“They kept on lying to us, ‘don’t worry about the ratings because we moved it to a new channel, it’s just about the quality of the show,'” he said. “All the critics liked it and then at the end of the second season they went, the ratings aren’t that good. You told me not to worry about those, it didn’t matter! Turns out they did matter! It’s hard to make every executive like you. I think it deserved a couple more seasons.”
“The Jim Jefferies Show” airs Tuesdays at 10:30 on Comedy Central.
Comedy Central/Ali Goldstein
IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now on TV — no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.
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