Jimmy Jones (comedian)

Jimmy Jones (comedian)

Jimmy Jones is a British comedian whose notoriously risque live performances and censor-baiting catchphrase "'kin 'ell!" (which he claims is short for "blinkin' hell") have made him a much-loved and popular figure in the world of stand-up comedy. During the 1990s, his live videos, including "A Cultural Night Out", "Harder and Faster" and "Twice As Outrageous" were big sellers, reflecting his status as a huge live attraction. Despite his non-PC act and attitudes, he has never attracted the level of criticism aimed at his contemporaries (including Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson, perhaps because he carefully balances his off-colour material with a convincing 'nice guy' persona, an impressive singing voice (he once worked extensively with Matt Monro) and cheeky audience interaction.

Jones had initially trained to be a priest, then a cabaret singer, but began performing comedy in 1962, becoming a regular attraction at such venues as the Montague Arms in South London and the Royal Standard in Walthamstow. One of his more unlikely engagements was a tour with the reggae band the Equals, an experience Jones likes to remind his critics of when he is accused of racism in his act. At the peak of his popularity, he was performing on over two hundred and seventy nights of the year, both as a bill-topper and supporting established acts like Chas 'n' Dave.

Jones began issuing albums and cassettes of his live shows during the 1970s, including "Live At Kings Club", "It Could Happen" and "All the Breast". These were largely self-published recordings designed to be sold at his live shows, and as such are highly collectible. "Live From the Talk Of East Anglia" notched up sales of 100,000 copies, and was awarded a gold disc. He made his first concert video in 1982, "Live From Kings Club Eastbourne", which includes songs as well as stand-up routines. This was later reissued by Polygram in 1993.

Jones has been reluctant to work in television over the years, largely because the nature of his act would have to be toned down, but he has made sporadic appearances in shows such as "the Comedians, the Freddie Starr Show, Six O'Clock Live" and "Battle Of the Comics". He was also interviewed for the late-night ITV series "Funny Business", about his life and work. Offstage, Jones divides his time between a holiday villa in Spain and a country home in Essex.

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