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Jim Jefferies: I Swear To God

R18: violence

Spoiler alert

This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this DVD.

Jim Jefferies: I Swear To God poster

Date registered: 03/04/2014

About the DVD

Jim Jefferies: I Swear To God is a recording of a stand-up routine performed in New York by Jim Jefferies, an Australian stand-up comedian with a crass and offensive comedic style.

This DVD contains one stand-up routine that was filmed in New York, and a variation of the same act on stage at an unknown location called Jim Jefferies: Contraband Live.

There are sixteen short clips, where Jefferies talks about topics such as chickens, health, parties and prison. Jefferies discusses a wide range of topics, including religion, sex, his family and previous romantic and sexual relationships. He is controversial and likes to shock his audience.

DVD with Irish and Australian R18 labels

Classification criteria: Sex

Sex is discussed extensively and descriptively, in a manner designed to amuse and offend the audience in a confronting and awkward manner. Jefferies often refers to women as "sluts" and sex workers as "hookers", for example. He also discusses how his scout master sexually abused him as a child.

A still image from the DVD - opening credits

Classification criteria: Crime

Jefferies presents as an anarchic character. He discusses his heavy drinking, and refers to drug use twice. He describes how he snorted cocaine off a toilet seat, for example.

A still image from the DVD - standup routine

Classification criteria: Violence

In the bonus material Jim Jefferies: Contraband Live, Jefferies discusses an incident where a member of the audience climbed on stage and punched him several times. He makes light of his own inability to defend himself against violence, and then plays a clip of the incident on screen. The picture quality is poor and shows a man hitting Jefferies several times about the face and body before being pulled away by security.

A still image from the DVD - standup routine

Classification criteria: Highly offensive language

The publication is saturated with a high level of highly offensive language. His language is intended to be as crass and offensive as possible to emphasise his style of humour - which is intended to insult and shock the viewer. His language fits into context with the adult material.

A still image from the DVD - standup routine closeup

Decision summary

The dominant effect is of a humorous and shocking live performance from a well known Australian comedian. The extra components complement the main show.

The unrestricted availability of the publication is likely to be injurious to the public good because of its treatment of matters of sex and highly offensive language. The sexual references are strong, descriptive, highly offensive and prevalent that they may detrimentally affect children and teenagers' development of sexual knowledge and attitudes, particularly to women.

Children and teenagers would likely emulate some of the language and ideas in his script, which could greatly offend others around them and cause social isolation. Adults are considered more likely to be able to put the messages and themes of the publication into the context of the stand-up and boundary-pushing offensive comedy treatment.

Balancing these harms against the freedom of expression as set out in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, a restriction on this publication is necessary. Therefore, the feature requires restriction to persons who are over 18 years of age.

Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.

R18 label
R18: violence