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Jimmy Carr review – a relentless wallow in grubbiness

Rose Theatre, Kingston
Despite occasional glimmers of subversive wit, Carr continues to rely on dubious jokes about dwarves, fat women and FGM

‘Welcome to 90 minutes of your life you’re never getting back,” runs the caption at the start of Jimmy Carr’s touring show, Terribly Funny. That’s what you sign up for when you go to see Carr: a grubby pleasure that may be more grubby than pleasure. We know we shouldn’t. We’ll regret it afterwards. There’s certainly no deviation tonight from the formula that’s served Carr well – commercially if not always creatively – for 20 years: blue humour, playground abuse, jokes about rape and paedophilia, and (according to taste) just enough wit and joke-writing flair to keep the stench and squalor at bay.

Who knows what need Carr’s comedy is meeting in some of us for jokes about dwarves, fat women and FGM? Carr’s closing apologia insists he doesn’t mean to hurt anyone, that his material is “joyful” in intent. And certainly there is some subversive joy in having humour applied to such subjects. Deep-rooted convention is destabilised when Carr appears to laugh at the Nazi extermination of Gypsies. We gasp at the flouted taboo, then laugh to recall that – here at least – there are no consequences.

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