How I Met Jim Jefferies in a Reclining Lawn Chair

Until I met Jim Jefferies last year, I had never met a celebrity face to face and just like everything else in my life, it couldn’t be simple and it definitely had to be awkward. I did not expect to meet the man, but somehow it ended up happening.

I met Jim Jefferies a few weeks after my thoracic dissection surgery in the summer of 2017, and to be quite honest I wasn’t doing too well. Trust me, this is relevant to the story. The incision from the surgery was in the middle of my back between my shoulder blades, so any time I laid down or sat down it caused intense pain. That part of your back touches everything. Because of a bad experience after the surgery where I think I was overdosed with Dilaudid (That’s a long story that involved a kinked IV), I refused to take any opioid painkillers. I also didn’t want to be on them again, because they always made me feel like a zombie in the past.

Yes, I had to take a photo when he came out. I have no shame.

So at this point, maybe four weeks into recovery, I was still in a massive amount of pain and struggling to find ways to simply sleep, lay down, sit up, or relax. I was also really out of it. I felt so off from my normal self, but people tell me that is common after a major surgery.

I heard about Jim Jefferies coming to Saint Louis and I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it, but I was excited to try. The biggest hurdle was that I couldn’t sit in any normal seat. Even the most comfortable of recliners was torturous. My brother-in-law Jason and Angela said they would find a way to make it happen because they knew how big of a fan I was of Jim’s, so I bought the tickets and they contacted the venue to figure out how we would make it work. They explained my predicament and the venue offered that I could bring my own chair.

Little did they know, the chair I had spent the most amount of time sitting in over the last few weeks was a reclining lawn chair. It had very little padding at the mid-back, which made it the only comfortable seat I could find, so I spent a lot of my recovery in that chair. It was also the height of aesthetic beauty. I call it redneck fancy.

Jason also planned to buy me copious drinks from the bar, because alcohol seemed to dull the pain rather well. I didn’t use it often as a painkiller, but for this event I was willing to try anything.

The day arrived and we walked from the parking lot to the front of the Peabody Opera House. Jason carried the chair at my side, and we walked up the big stone steps and into the main foyer where we ran into the metal detectors. To make it perfectly clear, this chair folded up into a giant square when carried, and was about three foot squared. It definitely stood out.

Yes, this is the chair. Would you let this man come into your
opera house carrying it?

Obviously, security stopped us. They saw the chair and wanted to know what the hell we were trying to pull. Angela quickly explained, and after a supervisor was called over, they eventually shrugged and let us pass on through and had an usher show us to our seats.

I assumed they would stick us on the side or on a balcony where I could use my chair, but as the usher walked us over to our seats right down the middle toward the front, I started to get anxious. The closer we made it to the front, the more I realized what was happening. They walked us all the way to the front row, where a gap between seats had been set aside for people with disabilities.

I’m pretty sure I’m the first person to ever bring a recliner to the disabled seating section, but I really couldn’t sit in anything else, and I really wanted to see the show. I felt so embarrassed. Why the hell would they put those seats front and center? Jason noticed my discomfort, as he understands I get the good old social anxiety, so  after getting me set up he ran to get me a long island iced tea.

I don't feel awkward at all... But I definitely reclined once the lights went down.

After a few drinks, I stopped really caring about how exposed I felt. I took a couple photos, relaxed, and waited for the show to start. As soon as Jim walked on stage, he looked out into the audience and then did a double take, shielding his eyes to see what was over in my direction. The recliner definitely stood out enough for him to notice from the stage, but he isn’t an insult comic, so I didn’t expect him to call me out for it and he didn’t.

The show was great, the drinks kept coming, and it was the experience of a lifetime. Ever since I saw Jim’s first stand-up special and his television show I had been hooked. His live show lived up to the hype and when it ended, I was ready to head home full of excited energy and one too many long islands.

On the way out, Angela walked over to one of the security guards.

“Is there any way to meet Jim?” she asked.

“Some people try to wait around back for when the performers leave,” he said. “Just go this way and stand behind the barricade.”

Is that a thing people really do? I thought that only happened in television shows and movies, but we walked around back and waved to the security guard covering the back exit. He told us we could wait, but we had to stay behind the barricades that were across the alley from the exit. This distance gave security plenty of time to step in if a looney decided to charge a celebrity, and it definitely made sense in Jim Jefferies’ case, because he had notoriously been attacked on stage.

We set up my chair and waited behind the barricade. For a long time. A half hour passed. After a while, a black SUV pulled up and parked in front of the door. After that, the occasional person would walk out, look over at us suspiciously, and then walk back in, but no Jim Jefferies appeared. Another half an hour passed, and then another, and Jason and Angela were done waiting. They kept trying to convince me to leave, but I wouldn’t budge, gripped the armrests of my seat, and refusing to stand up. Eventually, I told them they could leave and I would take a cab home. They weren’t going to abandon me, so they stuck around, but they weren’t too happy about it. Till Jim showed up.

Eventually, the doors opened and a group of people walked out toward the SUV. Jim came around the back and peered over at us, shielding his eyes just as before.

“Can you walk?” he yelled across the street.

“Yes,” I said.

“Then get off your ass and come over here!” He waved us over and we all laughed.

I stood up and crossed the street. This was really happening. I was going to meet Jim Jefferies, and I felt charged with excitement. Also, I was super drunk from all the painkilling long islands Jason and Angela had pumped into me. We made it across the street and he shook my hand.

“Nice to meet you.”

“Big fan.”

Stuff like that was said. Then Jim stopped and held both hands out, serious face for a moment.

 I’m not sure exactly how he phrased it, but he politely asked what my disability was. He has always been an advocate for people with disabilities, and his television show Legit had a main character with muscular dystrophy. My brother is in a wheelchair, similar to one of the main characters, so the show struck a chord with me and endeared me to him as a comedian and an entertainer.

Let’s assume he said, “OK, so what’s with the chair? What’s your disability?”

“Have you got an hour?” I said. Yeah, bad joke, but I was drunk and explaining my back problem actually takes some time.

“No, I don’t have a fucking hour, man! I’m high as fuck and we’re going to the club. Why are you fucking with me?”

I think I actually pissed him off, but I just giggled, because, again, I was drunk.

Jason and Angela both jumped in, noticing the quick turn in his mood.

“He just had spinal surgery!” They both said.

He offered to take some selfies with us, but I don’t think he smiled that much at that point. I also got to meet his opener, Forrest Shaw, who killed it on stage. Angela and Jason got some selfies with Jim while I talked to Forrest and got a selfie with him as well.

“Dude, you were funny as hell,” I told Forrest. “You’re going to be big one day.”

I did not know about Forrest before that night. For all I knew, he was already a very well known comedian, so what I said could have sounded very condescending, but I really loved his set and I was genuine.

Very quickly, Jim turned and hopped into the SUV.

“Time to drink!” he said. “Let’s go to the club.”

We waved goodbye and watched them drive off.

It's Jim Jefferies! It really happened.

Jason and Jim discuss the finer points of selfies.

Which way is the camera? Me with Forrest Shaw.

The excitement stayed with me for days. I definitely regretted being so intoxicated. I know celebrities like it when you just talk to them like people, not make stupid jokes. I assume my shitty joke mostly annoyed him or really didn’t affect him at all. People say stupid shit all the time. It’s still a fond memory, but if I do ever get to meet him again, I hope I am not intoxicated at all. I really do think he is one of the celebrities out there that actually give a damn about people, and while he talks about some of his anger issues and drug problems on stage, I think he’s a great guy despite his flaws.

I learned a few things that day. First, you shouldn’t meet your heroes while you are shitfaced. Second, if you have a disability, you can get away with almost anything. I’m pretty sure I could have brought my dogs, maybe even one of those hats with straws that you stick two beers in the sides, or who knows what else. Maybe a raccoon. As soon as they heard the word disability, that reclining lawn chair was headed to the front row and nothing was going to stop it.


  1. Great article, I want to buy recliner. Can you suggest me best recliner? Also where can I buy it at reasonable prices?

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