Wednesday night, fans of FX's recently cancelled Legit were overjoyed to see comedian Jim Jefferies take to Facebook and Twitter regarding the possibility of a Legit movie. Jefferies wrote:
I'm interested in making a "legit" movie to wrap everything up. But I need to find some money.
Jefferies will be performing at the Vic theater in Chicago on Friday (6/20) at 7 pm and Saturday (6/21) at 8 pm.
Those in the audience at one of his Lakeshore Theater shows in Chicago a few years ago were privy to a once in a lifetime show. Jim did an astoundingly funny 2-hour show. Most headliners max out around 45 minutes. Jefferies drank through out the performance and gave a Russian crowd member the business after she became rowdy. "Your shirt is red... like your country."
Over the phone Thursday afternoon, Jefferies spoke more candidly on the possibility of a Legit movie, why he believes the show was cancelled, and more.
Do you still drink during shows?
I do and I don't. It depends how I'm feeling on a day-to-day basis to be honest with you. At the moment I'm off the booze. I can pick it up at any time again. I haven't had a drink in about a month. Last time I had a drink I was in Vegas. After the gig I partied with Axl Rose up in his hotel room. I thought, "I better call it a night, I'm not going to top that for a while."
Are you making a conscious effort to not drink?
Just this month. I'm watching the World Cup (laughs). I have things to do. Also, my TV show (Legit) has been cancelled, so I'm trying to [buckle down] and come up with a new TV show. Maybe even a way to make a movie to wrap everything up from [Legit]. I'm trying to plan my come back.
It's very hard to sell a show to a different channel. I can make a movie and put it online or make a movie and sell it to Netflix, but another season of TV, it's only happened about 5 times in the history of television.
It's very hard for people to sell another show to people. It's kind of like the other networks are happy to sell it, but it's like they go to the new networks like, "Here's a chick we used to f**k, we don't really want to f**k her anymore, but maybe you'll enjoy her."
How likely is the Legit movie?
The thing is, I can just make the movie myself. I need like a million bucks to do it. Which is the big thing. I'd do it with my own money if I could sell it for that much. It's a big gamble. I'm not keen on public funding. First of all, I wouldn't want to be indebted to people if they didn't enjoy it. "We blew this money and it turned out [like] sh*t."
And I wouldn't want to go, "I'm public funding it!" and just put it online and get $2,000 for it or something. Then I'm just sitting there going, "Oh, I look like an idiot now." So if I can't raise the money myself, or figure it out... there's a lot of things.
If I get word from the network or from online, it might work out, that I can turn a profit on it or break even, even, I'd make it right away. Not that many people watched it on TV. Sooner or later, I have to realize that even though the critics liked it, and the people who watched it really liked it, is art of any value if nobody wants to hang it on their wall? I'm not sure.
I know there's people who would love it. I know there's people who would be very excited by the idea of it. I know that me and the cast had so much fun making it together that I know I can get everyone to come back and do it for just a basic wage.
Is there the demand? Is there an argument [that] if I made it good enough I could just go back to FX and they might air it once? Or is it something I could put on Netflix or sell myself online? Who knows? I already had half of season 3 written and ready to go.
I really had another few seasons I wanted to do. I know how I wanted it all to end. I could piece together sort of a very abridged version of that into an hour and a half, an hour and fifty minutes or whatever and wrap all the story lines up in a more satisfying way than they left in season 2.
Were you surprised with your acting performance on Legit with having such little acting experience prior to filming season 1?
Lucky for me, because I wrote the show, I wrote pretty easy for myself. I didn't give myself anything that was too super dramatic. I had to cry in a few scenes and stuff like that.
All my comedian friends were like, "Let's make a TV show!" I was like, "I'm not having any stand up comics with me for this first thing I do, because I can't act, it would maybe be better if I surround myself with people who can act."
And then I found out over time that I could act. I needed the support structure to begin with I think. I think it was a wonderful acting lesson to be able to work with guys like Dan Bakkedahl, DJ Qualls, Mindy Sterling, and John Ratzenberger, and be confident that they weren't going to get angry at me if f**ked [up] a few lines or anything like that because I was the boss (laughs).
Do you think switching the show to FXX was what did the show in?
Yes. Yes I do. When it happened, I towed the company line and said I didn't think so. But I do, yeah. I think that station will be up and running and ready [soon]. We were all by ourselves, there was no lead in or anything like that.
I don't think they would say that was the reason it was cancelled. They would probably say it was something wrong that I did or whatever. I left on very good terms with them (FX). There isn't any animosity from my end anyway, toward them, and I don't think there's any toward me if I'm telling the truth. I'd do another show with them in a heart beat. I think I was the right show at the wrong time.
How did the rest of the cast take the news of the cancellation?
It was hard telling Nick Daley who played Rodney. People like that were more difficult to tell than others. I know John Ratzenberger was upset when he found out. He wrote to me and said how disappointed he was because he liked the show so much.
Me, DJ, and Dan remain pretty tight knit, the three of us. We go to baseball together. Dan and I just went down to the record store together. We're all still friends, and I think, I can't speak for them, but I know if I write another project or something, they're my boys now.
It's the same as [how] Judd Apatow uses everyone in the same movies and Paul Feig does that a lot, and all these different people. I saw in an interview that Judd Apatow has been trying to get revenge for Freaks and Geeks and prove that the network shouldn't have cancelled that show.
So he keeps casting people from that show because he wants them to do well to prove that they are movie stars. I feel the same way about Legit to be honest with you. I hope that this puts a fire in my belly that I'll be able to turn it into something good instead of bitterness. At the moment I have both of those things in equal measure.
Where there elements in each episode's story based on your life?
I think that's why writing a new sitcom would be difficult for me. My agent said, "Why don't you write a new TV show?" I said, "You don't get it. This is me, this whole show."
Every story, even if it happened to the other characters, happened to me in some way. I guess that's what everyone writes about. I'm sure Everybody Loves Raymond was just everybody in that writing room writing about the last thing they had with their wife.
For me, it was me about five years ago, before I had a kid and a girlfriend and lived in a nice house. It was me when I lived with other comedians. We knew that we were slightly too old to act like a university student and not mature enough, and we didn't have enough money to do anything about it.
Having shows on the same network, did you and Louis C.K. see a lot of each other?
He lives in New York. I live over here (California). I wouldn't say we're friends in the fact that we don't have each other's phone number. I always enjoy seeing him. I think he likes me. We get along, we have a chat whenever we see each other.
The last time I performed with him was in Chicago at the same theater I'm playing at (The Vic). It was me, him, and Patrice O'Neal. And we only just sold out on the day. And you think now, that would have been a huge show, wouldn't it? That would be a stadium filler now, but it was five years ago.
You're a regular on Opie and Anthony. What's it like being on that show?
It's always good doing a radio show where the guys are friends with you and such, where the guys like you. I have that with Kevin and Bean here as well. I can go down there whenever I want. They hold comedy shows and comedians really get along with them.
But Opie and Anthony... I still have never done Howard. I don't think I'd have a better time on Howard. They (Opie and Anthony) just have comedians on and you all go in and just shoot the sh*t. That's how it should be.
Also, me and Anthony are politically opposites, but I respect his views and how staunch he is and everything like that. I can laugh along with it. I'm not going to go along and just think me and him have different views.
I think he's a great guy. I don't know if he thinks I'm a knob because of my political views. He may, he may not. I'm going to be working with them in Montreal next month. They're coming up to do a show for Montreal. There should be nine comics on that one. The morning of the 25th I think.
Scott King is a contributing writer for the Wall Street Journal and RedEye Chicago. @ScottKingMedia on Twitter.
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