“OK, let’s kick off with a question for you, in time-honored tradition,” Jimmy Carr says to me at the outset of our interview. “Do many comedians make it over to Japan?”

Not comedians like Jimmy Carr, no. In the U.K., the 44-year-old stand-up, writer and TV host is a household name with a stellar CV: over 1 million live DVD sales, nine sold-out tours, a series of hit TV shows and a sackful of awards over his 15 years of cracking wise. His anachronistic approach — Carr’s shows are peppered with quick-fire, deadpan one liners — seems niche in an age of personal, narrative comedy. So, too, his taboo-busting black humor, which has more than once caused (mock) outrage in the British tabloids. A real scandal — the discovery in 2012 that Carr was involved in an aggressive tax avoidance scheme — was genuinely offensive, for a short period making him public enemy No. 1.

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