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Sobriety eliminates a punch line

Comedian Jim Jefferies used to drink beer onstage and crack this joke: If someone tells you they don’t drink because they get high on life, then you should punch that person in the face.

But guess what. Jefferies is now one of those sober people. He gave up drinking this year because it was depressing him.

So because Jefferies is performing tonight-Saturday at the Palms, I asked him how he squares sobriety with his old joke about punching nondrinkers in the face.

He gave me a fantastic pause and then gave me this rationale with a chuckle: "There’s a lot of hypocrisy in comedy!"

He has fallen off the wagon about once a month, and it hasn’t been pretty.

"My tolerance was completely down. I was getting drunk and blacking out," he said.

"I had the most fun in my life drunk. I love being drunk," he said wistfully in his Australian accent.

But he feels healthier.

"My depression is a lot lower now. But I’m bored out of my (expletive) skull! I was sad and suicidal before. But at least I wasn’t (expletive) bored!"

Fans still try to get him drunk, because a drunk Jim Jefferies does things such as standing on a bar with his zipper open.

"People encourage me to do that because ‘It’s Jim Jefferies, and he’s being outrageous!’ You’ve got no one calming you down off the edge. Everyone’s standing there going, ‘Jump, jump, jump.’ "

Jefferies, who had the best HBO comedy special in years, has a hit podcast with half-a-million downloads a month. He’s also casting an FX TV pilot, hopefully to run by the end of the year.

GEORGE LOPEZ’S PRETTIEST PEOPLE

George Lopez performs stand-up today and Saturday at The Mirage. So I got him on the phone and asked my new favorite question: Who are the prettiest celebrities he has ever seen in person?

He names five "completely stunning" people. Four are women: Nicole Scherzinger, Kim Kardashian, Nina Dobrev and Mila Kunis.

But his top pick?

"The best-looking person I had on my show was Jared Leto — hands down, the most stunning person. That guy is very attractive."

Because Lopez got a kiss from Elton John backstage in Vegas a few weeks ago, I asked: Did he kiss Leto?

"No, but I would have if he had made a move!"

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Contact him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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