A few months ago FX gave the green light to another comedian-based series like its award-winning Louie, this time starring Australian comic Jim Jefferies in a series he calls Legit. Apparently, it’s something Jefferies’ mother said he needed to attempt to be, since he’s in his mid-30s and is known best for heavy drinking, copious drug intake and sleeping with prostitutes. As he says in the series pilot, which takes place in L.A., he wants to start doing things for others, to grow up, and to become legitimate.
Jefferies plays a lightly fictionalized version of himself in a world where he is roommates and best friends with a cyber law library salesman, the recently divorced Steve (Dan Bakkedahl), and Steve’s brother Billy (DJ Qualls) who has Muscular Dystrophy and is confined to a wheelchair. But as of the first three episodes Jefferies manages to strike the right balance of the irreverent and, surprisingly, the sweet. Hit the jump for more on the series, and why it’s worth a watch.
The setup for the series is simple, but Jefferies is able to unpack plenty from it. He can be particularly crass (not as much as, say, HBO’s Eastbound and Down), but his barbs are often punctuated by truths and real emotion.
In the first episode, Jefferies is asked by the paralyzed Billy to find him a prostitute. He’s 32 and doesn’t know how much longer he’ll live, and just “wants to feel a vagina.” “That will kill you!” his brother insists, “you can get a blowjob only.” There’s a comfortable familiarity among the characters as if they really have known each other for as long as the series suggests, with throwaway lines like “but if you die who will wipe my ass?” “Steve. Steve will.” “Yeah, he will.” These kinds of things are treated matter-of-factly, and though the three rib each other, there’s a genuine bond that they come across as having.
Jefferies leads the trio, but DJ Qualls absolutely steals every scene he’s in. In fact, most of the first three episodes revolve around Billy and his quest to feel normal, with Jefferies as more of a mentor to both Billy and Steve in their quest to meet women. Billy’s character gives Jefferies a difficult subject to play off of for ribald laughs, but also the opportunity to bring about some truly tender moments that extend even past Billy to brief characters, like his care-home roommate Rodney (Nick Daley).
Jefferies comes off as an affable guy who takes the path of least resistance, but who genuinely doesn’t want to do anyone any harm. The humor and situations are not as caustic as Louie, nor or they are universally perceptive or layered as Curb Your Enthusiasm. But while many of the predicaments feel predicable, one cannot deny a growing investment in the characters with each passing episode. In Legit, Jefferies has created something legitimately good and cool and worth watching.
Legit airs Thursday, January 17th at 10:30 p.m. on FX