Expert roaster and host of Comedy Central’s “The Jeselnik Offensive” Anthony Jeselnik returns to Boston to headline The Wilbur Theatre on Sunday, September 22, with two performances at 7:00 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. The comedian, who rose to fame with his scathingly hilarious contributions to “The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump” and “The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen”, is excited to return to the city with a more relaxed and interactive show than fans have seen in the past.
“When I come to Boston I’ll have half-new stuff from Caligula, maybe a little more, as I’m adding new things and replacing stuff. It’s a lot of new stuff,” Jeselnik recently told the Boston Comedy Scene Examiner in an interview. “The show has gotten looser now that people kind of know who I am, so it’s fun to take questions from the audience, you know – something I couldn’t have done a couple of years ago. But now, people have questions they want answered, and it’s fun to screw around with them.”
Jeselnik, who was the first-ever stand-up comic to appear on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in addition to being a writer for the show, was named one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch” in 2008, and his star has not ceased rising since. As he wraps up the second season of his hugely popular show, “The Jeselnik Offensive”, the comedian reflects on getting to work with comedic legend Joan Rivers as well as pissing off an entire country over a little shark-based humor.
“[Working with Rivers] was amazing. She’s a legend, and I absolutely love her. She’s one of those people who has never apologized for a joke. She’s said so many edgy things and has never apologized, which I love about her,” Jeselnik tells the BCSE. “So I got to meet her; I got to do her show ‘In Bed with Joan’ and we hit it off, so she kind of owed me and got on my show. But it was amazing to have a legend up there – it was just great.”
The comedian recently came under fire after making fun of a shark attack which claimed the life of a New Zealand man in a segment dubbed “Shark Party” – despite his growing collection of much more controversial topics. While the comedian faced no backlash over segments regarding Muslims, residents of New Zealand were none too happy to hear that their countryman’s death was taken so lightly and event went as far as to issue death threats to the comic.
“It depends on what people want to get upset about. I think with the Islam thing, we came at it from a different angle; we weren’t demeaning them or the Islam faith – we respected it, but were also silly about it and joked around, which I think people like.” Jeselnik reflects. “When you joke about it but you’re on their side, then it’s okay. I think the New Zealand thing was crazy because they don’t know who I am in New Zealand. They’d never heard of me; they just heard that a guy died from here and somebody made fun of it, so that upset them. They don’t understand that that’s what I do in every joke I tell. If that had happened in America, people would have been fine with it. You never know where it’s going to come from. It’s like Gilbert Gottfried doing those tsunami jokes; he’s said much more awful things and all of a sudden that’s the one that he gets hammered for. You just never know, so you just have to kind of ignore it all and keep going.”
Now that season two of “The Jeselnik Offensive” is wrapping up, the comedian is looking forward to taking a healthier amount of time to work on his next project than he has in the past.
“You know, I did my first album, Shakespeare, after eight years of stand up, and then after I did that, I was like, ‘I wonder if I can do that again in two years.’ That’s what Caligula ended up being; I give myself two years to go on the road constantly and turn it all over,” Jeselnik states. “That was such a hard thing to do that, afterwards, I thought this next album or the next special, I’m really going to take my time on it and make sure it’s perfect. I’m going to give myself three of four years even, maybe.”
Tickets are on sale now for Anthony Jeselnik’s two performances at The Wilbur Theatre on Sunday, September 22 at 7:00 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. The Wilbur is located in Boston’s historic Theater District at 246 Tremont Street.