Sunday, 12 August 2007

Biography 5: Jimmy Carr

Today we raise a glass to the man that is Jimmy Carr.

Carr was born on September 15th 1972 in Limerick, Ireland. Carr was very successful at school. He achieved four A grades at A-level and went on to gain a first in Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge. Following this, he took a job as a marketing executive for Shell, which lasted him just under two years and was, according to him, the “easiest job in the world”. He then joined JC Productions and began to work on a career in stand-up comedy. Whilst there, he made his first film, The Colour of Funny, which starred Red Dwarf comedian Craig Charles. Though the film was a flop, it brought Carr into comic writing and stand-up.

Eventually, Carr performed at the Royal Variety Performance which opened up TV opportunities for him. Channel 4 chose him to present game shows like Distraction and Your Face or Mine? He now presents the panel shows 8 Out Of 10 Cats, with fellow QI panellist Sean Lock as a team captain, and The Big Fat Quiz of the Year. He has also been a guest on Have I Got News For You.

Jimmy Carr has continued his stand-up career. In 2002 his first full-length show Bare-Faced Ambition won the Perrier award. In 2003, he was named the best stand-up at the Time Out Awards, and won the same award at the Laftas in 2004. He was named “funniest man” at the same awards a year later. And in 2006, his tour Gag Reflex was named Best Live Stand-Up at the British Comedy Awards. The Observer named him one of the funniest acts in British comedy in 2003, and he was placed 12th in a list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups by Channel 4 in 2007. He commences a new tour, Repeat Offender, in autumn this year.

Carr is one of the few comedians to have broken into the USA. He has appeared numerous times with chat show hosts Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, hosted two series of Distraction USA and had a half-hour special on Comedy Central. Meanwhile in 2006 he acted in a number of films including Confetti, Alien Autopsy and Stormbreaker. He was also the first cyberspace comedian in the virtual reality world of Second Life.

Considering Jimmy Carr’s pedigree in panel shows he was an obvious choice of guest for QI. He has demonstrated his intelligence by coming up with the sentence “Put Smarties tubes on cats’ legs, make them walk like a robot” from a random selection of fridge-magnet letters. However, despite his claim that he only lost his virginity at 26, Carr has a reputation for producing a lot of ‘explicit material’ on QI. Anyone that has been to one of his recordings will know just how much has to be cut to allow the show to be broadcast. Still, Jimmy has earned his place as a regular panellist in the upcoming series E.

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