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Comedy Fest hot pick: Jimeoin

May 2, 2016 Theatre

If eyes are the windows to the soul, then eyebrows are the furry gatekeepers. Jimeoin (real name James Eoin Stephen Paul McKeown) would know; the self-prescribed “visual clown” has been contorting his signature features into a source of entertainment for years. He’s a regular on the festival circuit and the Irish comic’s witnessed the comedy scene evolve since he started out in the nineties. It’s now well-established, live comedy a mainstream evening entertainment option.

Naturally one of the most significant change to the comedy scene has been the rise of social media. Despite remarking that he’s not yet found his so-called “Twitter voice”, the Irish comic boasts an impressive 30,000+ following, although he’s still trying to get a handle on Instagram.

“I’ve just started it. I think I’ve got one photograph up. But it’s kind of like a magazine, isn’t it? People are just flicking through pages of stuff. But it’s great if people want to know what you’re doing.”

Watch: Jimeoin on Live at The Apollo.

Having grown up in a small town in Northern Ireland, Jimeoin moved to Australia at the age of 22 and worked a number of odd jobs before turning full-time professional jokester. He’s been a carpenter, bin man, and gardener, but says a week of sanding skirting boards takes the prize for worst job he’s ever had.

“You have to do it with your back up against the wall and then rub it and rub it and it just goes on all day for weeks. I got the sack at the end of it because the guy said I wasn’t doing it right. It’s just sandpaper, just sanding skirting board back. Oh my god, it’s soulless!”

Although comedy was never really part of the plan, the seeds of stand-up were officially planted when he unwittingly stumbled into his first show.

“I just told three jokes. I hadn’t even planned to get up, someone else put my name down. I didn’t even know what stand-up was! But then I watched the rest of the night and I started thinking about other jokes.”

From thereon in, Jimeoin has made a name for himself by focusing his sharp observational skills on the strange, peculiar, and nonsensical things humans seem to do. But off-stage in social situations, he believes comedians shouldn’t have to feel the pressure to be funny.

“When you walk into that room you may not be the comedian. Someone else might be the comedian and you have another role. You could be a wizard, Prince Charming, or a king.”

Despite living in Australia for over twenty years now, he’s somehow retained his lilting Northern Irish accent. Having toured extensively through Australasia before making it big in the UK, Jimeoin’s still enchanted with this part of the world.

“I think New Zealand and Australia are very unique as far as that Goldilocks thing. Not too cold, not too hot, not too packed, just right.”

“You’ve also got that classic rivalry that all islands that are close to each other have. New Zealand’s slightly quieter than Australia. The relationship is like an England-Ireland thing. We’ve got 4 million people in Ireland, and you’ve got four million people in New Zealand.”

What should Kiwi audiences expect when he steps on stage this time round?

“Big laughs. Belly laughs. Nothing less. You’ll be the none wiser at the end of it. It’s just a lot of nonsense and a lot of jokes. No strong opinions. Have your teeth ready to get them out and laugh.”

Jimeoin: Yeehaa! 2-7 May, SKYCITY Theatre. Book tickets.


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