Two out­spo­ken co­me­di­ans come to town

Chris Rock and Jim Jef­feries, both in­flam­ma­tory standups, hit lo­cal stages this week­end


This is the week­end that Toronto standup com­edy fans have been await­ing for months, though one they’re maybe a bit re­luc­tant for pay for.

Brook­lyn-raised Chris Rock plays the Air Canada Cen­tre on Satur­day night, and his equally out­spo­ken Aus­tralian peer Jim Jef­feries does four shows at the Sony Cen­tre nearby on Fri­day and Satur­day.

For as lit­tle as, er, $194 after fees, you can see both — no show is quite a sell­out on Tick­et­mas­ter as of Thurs­day morn­ing.

The laid-back Jef­feries will en­ter­tain about 12,000 at his shows, while the slightly live­lier Rock pulls 18,000 or so at his — cer­tainly the big­gest standup draws to go head to head in Toronto in re­cent mem­ory. (There aren’t many co­me­di­ans who can fill the hockey rink, after all.) So here’s how these tal­ents, both in­flam­ma­tory in their own way, stack up next to each other.

Jim Jef­feries

Ac­tual name: Ge­off James Nu­gent Age: 40 Per­sonal sta­tus: Ap­par­ently sin­gle, hav­ing re­ferred to his 3-year-old son’s mother on a re­cent podcast as his ex. Star-mak­ing standup mo­ment: Prob­a­bly 2009’s HBO spe­cial I Swear to God, a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally blunt, even in­sult­ing de­nun­ci­a­tion of those who dis­agree with him (mostly re­li­gious be­liev­ers). One no­table tar­get was the bib­li­cal Noah, who not only built the ark but “worked out some type of re­frig­er­a­tion sys­tem to keep the po­lar bears cold and the li­ons hot, and he made the door on the ark very small so the di­nosaurs couldn’t get in ’cause he was a thinker, and he had stor­age eaters for all of their del­i­cate di­ets ’cause we all know what picky eaters pan­das are . . . (and) Noah lived to be 950 years old but they never men­tion that in ser­mons be­cause we might think it’s bulls--t.” TV high­light: His 2013-’14 FX se­ries Le­git has its fans, but there are likely more ad­mir­ers of his cur­rent project The Jim Jef­feries Show, ev­ery week feed­ing North Amer­ica’s ap­par­ently in­ex­haustible ap­petite for co­me­di­ans sit­ting be­hind desks mak­ing fun of Don­ald Trump. Standup themes: Athe­ism, al­co­hol, drugs, gun con­trol, sex­ual de­prav­ity, sex­ual hos­til­ity, sex­ual medi­ocrity Out-of-his-lane achieve­ment: Get­ting Brad Pitt to do the weather on his TV show. What’s next: More of the TV show, more of the podcast.

Chris Rock

Ac­tual name: Christo­pher Julius Rock III Age: 52 Per­sonal sta­tus: Di­vorced last year, with two daugh­ters. Star-mak­ing standup mo­ment: Bring the Pain, his 1996 HBO spe­cial, re­mem­bered for some boldly un­ortho­dox racial ma­te­rial and drugs: “You know what the good side of crack is? If you’re up at the right hour, you can get a VCR for $1.50. You can fur­nish your whole house for $10.95. At Christ­mas time, ever get some­one a crack gift? They think you did some­thing — ‘Ooh, you shouldn’t have.’ I didn’t! Bought it from a crack­head.” TV high­light: The Chris Rock Show, 1997-2000, an Emmy-win­ning HBO se­ries proto- Chap­pelle’s Show best re­mem­bered for stunts like go­ing to a then-in­fa­mous white-ma­jor­ity neigh­bour­hood, Howard Beach, and seek­ing sig­na­tures to re­name a street after Tu­pac Shakur. Well, that or Ev­ery­body Hates Chris, the four-sea­son au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal sit­com he cre­ated and nar­rated. Standup themes: Race re­la­tions, drugs, women, gen­der re­la­tions, the te­dium of mar­riage, in­fi­delity, more in­fi­delity. Out-of-his-lane achieve­ment: Twice host­ing the Os­cars. What’s next: Re­leas­ing two standup spe­cials on Net­flix for the jaw-drop­ping sum of $40 mil­lion (U.S.).


Jim Jef­feries is do­ing four shows at the Sony Cen­tre on Fri­day and Satur­day, while Chris Rock is tak­ing the Air Canada Cen­tre stage on Satur­day night.


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