This week, we all have the distinct displeasure of sitting through a Republican National Convention that is just one fawning sycophant after another describing an alternate universe in which the president isn’t the worst. The whole (self-described) Republican nonplatform this year is “(t)hat the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.”
When all that binds you together is being part of a cult of personality, and knowing it, and being proud of it, boy, there is not much left to talk about. Even Fox News is sick of covering more or less the same speech repeated over and over by D-list Republicans and Trump family members. I guess even if you like Donald Trump, enough is enough.
Fortunately, I’ve found the perfect thing to distract from the vapid RNC and the articles from all the poor political reporters who have to keep coming up with new ways to write the story, “These People Really, Really Like Donald Trump.” It’s comedian Jim Jefferies’s new podcast, I Don’t Know About That with Jim Jefferies!
When I wrote about Jim before, in late April of this year, I expressed hopes of going to a Jim Jefferies show once things reopened, which seemed almost a pending inevitability as of late April. Well, apparently my hopes were a bit premature. But in the meantime, Jim came through with some classic Jim Jefferies-style entertainment to help keep us motivated during this pandemic (and to make himself some money hawking manscaping products and home shipping equipment and other pandemic essentials while he’s not on the road doing standup).
The basic premise of the show is simple. The title, I Don’t Know About That, refers to a good line to say to that jackass at a party spouting a bunch of nonsense, before you casually walk away. In the opening minutes of every episode, Jim plays the titular jackass. He first tries to guess the topic of the episode based on little more than the appearance and surroundings of the invited topical expert, who is appearing on a videoconferencing screen. Then, Jim rambles off everything he purports to know about the given topic, some of it utter gibberish, a surprising amount reasonably spot-on, but all of it hilarious. Jim is graded on his recitation of knowledge, and finally the topical expert sets Jim straight on a few things in an hour-long discussion. Jim’s sidekicks Kelly Blackheart and Forrest Shaw occasional jump in to comedically lacerate him, and every now and again, assistant Jack Hackett comes to Jim’s aid. All in all, a pretty good way to spend an hour to 90 minutes.
The first episode came out on May 4, and in just under four months, Jim has covered topics ranging from the War on Drugs to bees. The breadth of the topics, and the depth of each episode, are particularly soothing antidotes to the one-trick pony that is the RNC this week. It’s also nice to listen to a show where people, you know, acknowledge both the value of expertise and the fact that they don’t know as much about a given topic as someone who has spent years studying it. Plus everyone on the show seems to be actually having a good time learning about stuff, which is, I suppose, appropriate for an entertainment podcast.
So, if you haven’t listened to I Don’t Know About That yet, now is the perfect time to catch up — the episodes are largely evergreen, you won’t have missed much by being late to the party. Do yourself a favor (and do me one while you’re at it, I really hope Jim can keep making this podcast), and give I Don’t Know About That with Jim Jefferies a try.
Jonathan Wolf is a litigation associate at a midsize, full-service Minnesota firm. He also teaches as an adjunct writing professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, has written for a wide variety of publications, and makes it both his business and his pleasure to be financially and scientifically literate. Any views he expresses are probably pure gold, but are nonetheless solely his own and should not be attributed to any organization with which he is affiliated. He wouldn’t want to share the credit anyway. He can be reached at [email protected].