Comedy cookbook: Jimeoin’s masterful simplicity

It was all-the-sweeter because I’d never heard of him.

I’d never came across his strangely-spelled name. Never even dared to look into Irish comics.

But when a friend sat me down to watch a set by Jimeoin (pronunciation sounds like you’re saying “Jim Owen” really fast), I was just blown away.

Welcome back to the Comedy Cookbook. A mini-series on this blog which takes a closer look at how comedy actually works.

Check out this Jimeoin set from Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow:

Where do we even start!?

What is working here? How is it being accomplished?

This is truly one of the cleanest, most crisp comedy sets I’ve seen in a while. I say that in the sense that his pacing is spot-on and the rhythm from one joke to the next is just lovely.

OK.

The beginning. I guess it helps that his low, rumbling voice would get almost anyone to chuckle. Then he jumps straight into his opening line.

“Most of the things I’ll be talking about tonight will involve having my eyebrows up,” he says. Definitely one of the wierdest openings you’ll hear.

That immediately draws our gaze to his raised eyebrows.

He keeps the eyebrows up, then talks about them – so drawing attention (and laughter) to them. Amazing how something as simple as a “misplaced” set of eyebrows can get the audience into it.

With this opening, however, Jimeoin positions himself in our minds as a quirky character.

“It doesn’t mean that I don’t put them down from time to time,” he continues to an eruption of laughter.

By this point, his eyebrows are our primary focal point. From then on, it’s a simple play between opposites. We’re immediately amused by their up-and-down movements and his justifications for them.

He spends a whole two minutes on beautifully-constructed observations.

Irish comedian Jimeoin demonstrates incredible simplicity. Pic: Adelaide Now

He makes simple, yet highly relevant links between arbitrary things we do with our eyebrows, but made so powerfully funny because of how he has drawn attention to them.

His following bit of genius comes when he injects a moment of clowning… of planned openness and vulnerability.

What do I mean by this?

He starts off by pacing across the length of the stage:

“I do like to move around stage, just a little bit… just trying to find the funniest part of the stage,” he says.

We laugh at the seemingly-absurd statement and, boom! He’s got us.

Jimeoin glances up, as if surprised by suddenly striking gold… by suddenly finding the “funny spot” he just spoke about.

Realising what he’s just cleverly accomplished, the audience applauds. A simple piece of clowning pulled off.

All smiles: Jimeoin Pic: comedyshop.au

You’ll have noticed that I’m smitten by this man’s comedy. I just really appreciate the way he takes the simplest, must human aspects and turns them into comedy gold.

Full name Jimeoin McKeown, he has been in the industry since around 1990.

Something particularly impressive, once you start watching the vast collection of his YouTube videos, is his development of material.

The (now iconic in my eyes) “eyebrows” bit has become so much better than an earlier version seen in a 2001 showing at the Just for Laughs festival.

Jimeoin demonstrates a supreme ability to take the simplest of concepts and just run with them so spectacularly.

Well, that’s it from my side – make sure you check more of this man out.

Will keep you posted on the personal and performance front.

Stay tuned…

-Tyson

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