Anthony Jeselnik is the Dark Prince of Comedy. There is no topic too sacred for him to skewer, no ground too sacrosanct for him to excoriate with his withering delivery. Jeselnik is the Death Valley of comedy – dry, scorching hot, and lethal to the unprepared.
Anthony Jeselnik has made an art form out of telling jokes about topics that you absolutely, under no circumstances, can ever tell jokes about. So with that in mind here are five times that the Dark Prince of Comedy not only stepped over the line, he rubbed that line out with his shoe, jumped a few meters more into the dark side and then drawn a new line behind him.
1. The 9/11 joke
If there’s one lessons comedians have taken to heart in the 18 years since the 9/11 attacks it’s that you shouldn’t make jokes about 9/11. Unless you’re a maverick.
“My mom should have been on one of the planes that crashed on 9/11… I think.”
2. The baby joke
And joking about infant mortality is probably something you shouldn’t joke about either:
“You don’t know anything about pain until you’ve seen your own baby drowned in a tub. And you definitely don’t know anything about how to wash a baby.”
3. The Trump joke
Most people probably wouldn’t have the stones to mock someone who has demonstrated a complete lack of a sense of humour, has shown himself to be petty and vindictive and might just one day end up having access to nuclear weapons. But Anthony Jeselnik isn’t most people:
To Donald Trump himself – “Donald you’ve got a great sense of humour. You’ve been so happy to embarrass yourself on Saturday Night Live… and the casino business.”
4. The cancer joke
In his Caligula album, Jeselnik talks about how audiences get upset whenever you attempt to do jokes about certain topics. Like cancer. So naturally, here’s a bit about cancer.
“I remember when I was in the fifth grade, one year in the fifth grade, one of my classmates got cancer. Came down with the cancer. Which was sad. But this story is actually cool and inspiring. Every single guy in the school every single guy, we all shaved our heads…to make fun of him. No it was great, we did it for like a month, we woulda kept doing it but…you know…you know how cancer gets.”
5. The same-day tragedy jokes
So why does Anthony Jeselnik do the things he does? Well aside from the fact that it’s funny, of course? Because it’s a challenge. Here he is in his own words:
“I like to test myself by joking about horrible things and nothing but. One of my favourite ways to test myself? I like to make jokes about tragedies the day that they happen. The day they happen. I don’t believe in too soon. I’m on a tight schedule. And I’m good at it. Like the day of the Aurora Colorado Batman movie theatre shooting. The day it happened. I went online, I went on Twitter and I tweeted ‘other than that, how was the movie?’. Nailed it.”
Anthony Jeselnik’s Australian tour kicks off this week. Head here for dates.