Jim Jefferies on Comedy, Life Lessons, and the Magic of Filling Out Customs Forms (#428)

“The rise is always better than the peak.” — Jim Jefferies

Sydney native Jim Jefferies (@jimjefferies) is one of the most popular and respected comedians of his generation, entertaining audiences across the globe with his provocative, belief-challenging, and thought-provoking comedy. He created and starred in the sitcom Legit and the Comedy Central late-night show The Jim Jefferies Show. Jim was honored as Stand-Up Comedian of the Year at the Just for Laughs Festival in summer 2019. At the end of 2019, he embarked on his new tour Oblivious, performing all around Europe and North America. He is currently working with NBC on a multi-camera pilot that he will star in from writer-producer Suzanne Martin, Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner’s Hazy Mills Productions, and Universal TV.

Jim’s new podcast I Don’t Know About That will debut on Tuesday, May 5th, and his ninth stand-up special will be released later this year on Netflix.

Please enjoy! 

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can also watch the conversation on YouTube.

This podcast is brought to you by Laird Superfood and “5-Bullet Friday.” More on both below. 

#428: Jim Jefferies on Comedy, Life Lessons, and the Magic of Filling Out Customs Forms
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This episode is brought to you by Laird Superfood. Founded by big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton and volleyball champion Gabby Reece, Laird Superfood promises to deliver high-impact fuel to help you get through your busiest days. Laird Superfood offers a line of plant-based products designed to optimize your daily rituals, from sunrise to sunset.

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This episode is also brought to you by “5-Bullet Friday,” my very own email newsletter, which every Friday features five bullet points of cool things I’ve found that week, including apps, books, documentaries, gadgets, albums, articles, TV shows, new hacks or tricks, and—of course—all sorts of weird stuff I’ve dug up from around the world. 

It’s free, it’s always going to be free, and you can subscribe now at tim.blog/friday.


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

Want to hear another episode with a standup comedian? — Listen to my conversation with Whitney Cummings in which we discuss emotional intelligence, how to overcome workaholic tendencies, managing instant gratification, and much, much more.

#84: Whitney Cummings on Turning Pain Into Creativity
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SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

  • Connect with Jim Jefferies:

Website | Podcast | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

SHOW NOTES

  • Contrary to popular Australian belief, I’ve never played guitar for INXS. Here’s Jim’s Tim Farriss story. [6:44]
  • Beautiful birds, awful sounds, and the unforgiving sun and currents down under. [08:43]
  • When Jim had to perform his comedy set under parental supervision, and how a serial killer’s murder spree turned out to be a big break. [13:55]
  • If comedy didn’t work out, what was Jim’s plan B at age 17? [17:56]
  • Why Jim wound up leaving Australia for the UK (after a stint as a terrible car stereo salesman). [22:10]
  • Why Jim would argue that those early days as an expatriate comedian in the UK were the happiest in his life, and how the British and American comedy scenes differ. [30:40]
  • When did Jim first notice he was achieving some level of success as a comedian? [34:38]
  • On getting punched in the head by a heckler in Manchester, traveling the world for free, and the fleeting nature of fame and fortune. [36:56]
  • After years of chasing the summit, what keeps Jim going these days? [39:04]
  • J.K. Rowling, the beauty of Edinburgh, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. [41:03]
  • The time Jim had John Cleese over for dinner, and where someone curious but inexperienced with Monty Python should start. [45:47]
  • How a story about taking a friend with muscular dystrophy to a brothel became the seed of Jim’s two-season sitcom Legit. [47:39]
  • The story behind Jim’s gun control piece, a peek into his writing process, and how new material gets tested. [50:00]
  • What is it about Monty Python’s Life of Brian that makes it a perfect movie in Jim’s estimation? [56:54]
  • What comics does Jim see as inspiring and formative to his own development as a comic? [57:59]
  • Does Jim plan on calling L.A. home for the foreseeable future? [1:01:17]
  • To what does Jim credit his longevity in comedy? [1:03:54]
  • Today, what might give Jim a high comparable to the first time he was able to write “standup comedian” as the occupation on his customs form? [1:05:22]
  • How does Jim know when he’s being a good dad? [1:06:30]
  • What can we expect from Jim’s upcoming I Don’t Know About That podcast? [1:08:07]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:11:45]

PEOPLE MENTIONED

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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8 Replies to “Jim Jefferies on Comedy, Life Lessons, and the Magic of Filling Out Customs Forms (#428)”

  1. Hello. First time listening to your Podcast #426 The Random Show. You had an exchange with your guest about his inability to spell. When he said he had a learning disability, you basically mocked him and accused him of using it as an excuse. Talked to him like he was stupid. As a mother of a brilliant 16-year old with dyslexia -he also can’t spell well- I was offended and worried about my son hearing comments like yours. I encourage you to take some time to learn about dyslexia. I think it will make you a more understanding and empathetic host.

  2. Hi Tim, thank you so much for this interview – the hour flew by and took my mind away for a while. Thank you for sharing your and Jim’s gifts

  3. Great stuff, as ever. Your contribution to the world is incredible.

    If I may be so bold, I’d like to suggest some language in honour of your work:

    1. Ferriss improvement: A change in resource allocation that has an 80/20 type outcome. For example, dropping X% of your clients to focus on the remaining 1-X% and achieve growth by subtraction is a Ferriss improvement.

    2. Ferriss efficient: A situation in which no additional Ferris improvements are available. If you are Ferriss efficient. Thought of another way, you are on the Ferriss frontier when no more Ferriss improvements are possible.

    (Imperfect though they may be, these ideas borrow from Pareto improvements, Pareto efficiency, and the Pareto frontier.)

    My partner and I are often saying “This is very 80/20.” or “That’s on the right side of the 80/20 rule.” It gets the point across, but we believe saying “That’s on the Ferriss frontier.” is, well, a Ferriss improvement!

    Cheers,

    Scott

  4. Love Jim Jefferies! I love comedians that are also just generally funny thoughtful people and this interview put a little brightness in my day. Thanks 🙂

  5. Tim, you’re improving in your representation and recognition of women. Thank you. As a fan, it’s still a bummer to see mailings like your 6/5 5-Bullet. Baldwin, Sho and Mitsugu – acknowledging sumo is male sport – Campbell, Thesleff, Moyers, And yourself. 7 names in your email, 0% women, yet 50.8% of population is female. There are many issues at play here, mainly why it might be challenging for you to find notable female voices to highlight. But I encourage you to consider and discuss this disparity with the powerful women in your personal and professional life that you admire, so that the perspective you receive is one that you inherently respect. Don’t let yourself and other dominant male voices in media too easily off the hook, you know better. Cheers.