Comedy: Jimmy Carr at the Olympia, Dublin
Jimmy Carr is a cut above the rest, and that just describes his suit. The most dapper man in comedy takes to the stage to the strains of the banging electro of ‘212' by Azealia Banks. “Enjoy the next two hours of your life, you won't be able to get them back,” declares a message on the big screen before a five-second countdown.
Carr has been in the headlines for all sorts of reasons. Rather than tip-toe around last year’s highly publicised and controversial tax avoidance scheme, which even received attention from David Cameron, he wades straight in and declares: “One thing on my mind lately is to hire a new accountant.”
And that's just the tame stuff. As crude and lewd as his barbed missives can get, he immediately follows each one with a further twist of the knife. Most of them are certainly not fit to print in a family newspaper.
The comedian was in the news for a much more wholesome reason last week for receiving a certificate of Irishness from the Lord Mayor of Limerick after a recent show in the city where both his parents are from.
It is an apt accolade as Irish audiences clearly love him. Box-office demand appears to be insatiable, as Carr, right, has already announced further Olympia dates for next February and hits Kerry and Galway after concluding his Dublin run tonight.
Carr is a master of improvisation. After spotting someone in the front row fiddling with their phone, he asks them what appears to be the problem. The hapless audience member responds by replying that someone has been trying to ring them all night. Without missing a beat, Carr whips their phone off them and calls back an extremely puzzled punter.
Alongside improvisation, Carr's best strength is how effectively he can deal with heckles.
He seemingly does not regard them as a potential pitfall to be avoided, but willingly invites intervention and meets every effort with a savage put-down.
It is rare to see a comedian that is so lightning fast on his feet. It appears that the so-called hardest working man in comedy can deal with pretty much anything that’s thrown at him.
There is only one example of Carr repeating himself. When he asks the audience what is the worst present they've ever received, several voices chorus simultaneously: “Jimmy Carr tickets”, a gag that has become a regular feature of his shows.
“I don't like people who are only famous because of their parents, such as Callum Best, Peaches Geldof and Jesus,” Carr quips, showing off his razor-sharp wit.
Carr isn't your typical rambling storyteller or raconteur, but a unique comedian. He may be occasionally frustrating, but for the most part he is brilliant.