EXCLUSIVE: Jimmy Carr Talks Tax Evasion, Offensive Jokes And The Massive Expectation To Be Funny


“Dubai World Trade Centre… They named that before the disaster, right?”

Jimmy Carr brought his Terribly Funny tour to Dubai this summer. The first big comedian to announce a show in months, it’s no surprise he packed out the DWTC venue three nights in a row… Well, as packed as new COVID regulations will allow, which is about a third of the entire auditorium, with over a thousand bums on seats each night.

This show came with a warning, ‘having political correctness at a comedy show is like having health and safety at a rodeo. You have been warned. Now buy a ticket’.

I got the chance to chat with the legendary joker ahead of his show, and it was clear that after four months at home, he was simply ITCHING to get back on stage. In eight minutes we covered his Irish roots, his reluctance to follow the COVID Zoom trend, jokes that cross the line and the massive expectation to be funny in normal life.

The future of live performances in a post-COVID ‘new normal’ era hangs in the air

Entertainers like Carr thrive on live shows, but ‘in these extraordinary times’ in which no industry was left unscathed, the future of full auditoriums and strangers sitting shoulder to shoulder is uncertain. Carr, however, says he wouldn’t consider putting shows out on Zoom, a lockdown trend, because his acts take years to perfect. The comic summarised that sharing material online before you finish a tour would be akin to burning it.

“The illusion is comedians are funny people and that we can just throw away the material and write new stuff. But it actually takes years to put a show together, and once you put it out there it’s on YouTube forever and you don’t want to burn the material until you finish the tour”.

So it’s no surprise he was raring to go for the Dubai gigs, two of which sold out in 24 hours, and a third, added due to popular demand, quickly sold out too.

It’s been a painfully quiet season for events and concerts in Dubai. Firm favourites like Dubai Boat Show, Taste and Fashion Forward were all cancelled/postponed and concerts like Russ and BTS at the Coca-Cola arena were also put on hold. A event-less summer in Dubai? This was the bleak reality following a couple of bleak months, so the Carr announcement was the light at the end of the tunnel was and it’s no surprise tickets were like gold dust in the days leading up to the show.

Shows like this are Carr’s bread and butter, on COVID and lockdown he claimed it was easy for him, but “I don’t need another day off for the rest of my life”.

Two decades in, the humble comic said in another life, he’d be a barista, he makes a pretty good flat white

A Channel 4 veteran, Carr has been the host of popular UK comedy panel shows including 8 out of 10 cats and The Big Fat Quiz of The Year, and a recognisable face on the comedy circuit for two decades. Surprisingly, before his stand-up days, Carr read social and political and science and graduated with a first from Cambridge, a UK university that consistently ranks in the world’s top 10 universities. He followed this with a relatively short stint in marketing for Shell, before taking the plunge into a career in comedy.

Carr admits there were challenges along the way to superstardom, “in all honesty it’s the rest of life that can get in the way a little bit of being a comic, you have to be quite singular, it has to be the only thing you want to do, we’re all guilty of some procrastination and you kind of have to get on with it”.

But on the plus side, he added, you get instant feedback on your talent.

“The great thing about being a comic is you get instant feedback, people laugh or they don’t, it’s kind of binary, so you can get better really fast… if you listen”.


‘My father always used to say, “what doesn’t kill you makes your stronger, until the accident”

Jimmy is famous for some outrageous one-liners and for deep-dark humour, and his Terribly Things world tour contains jokes about all kinds of terrible things. Terrible things that might have affected you or people you know and love. The tag line for the world tour even added a warning, ‘having political correctness at a comedy show is like having health and safety at a rodeo. Now you’ve been warned, buy a ticket.’

These shows are NOT for the easily offended.

In the past, various groups have criticised Carr for his one-liners including Little People, a charity in England that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families, after the charity labelled a joke by Carr as ‘offensive’.

Watch Jimmy Carr rate my first attempt at comedy with a joke about Abu Dhabi on Lovin Meets


See more

More like this