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TV review: Raunchy 'Legit' has HUGE ... heart

I wasn't familiar with Jim Jeffries' standup before popping in my screener of his new comedy, "Legit" (9:30 p.m. Thursday, FX; 3.5 star out of 4). Now I want to check it out.

"Legit" is legitimately and simultaneously raunchy, sweet and funny. Aussie standup comic Jim (played by Aussie comic Jeffries, who created and writes the show) is struggling to make it in L.A. while carving out time for sex with strangers, phone conversations with his mom back in Australia and convincing his gameless roomie, Steve (Chicago's Dan Bakkedahl), to go on benders with him.

A chat with his "mum" in the series premiere inspires Jim to go "legit"--to stop being a "drunk idiot" and get his crap together both professionaly and personally. To be a better person, in other words. How he goes about doing this is the basis of the series, which fits right in with FX's other provocative, kinda-sorta for-the-boys comedies like "Archer" (which returns at 9 p.m. Thursday), "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "The League" and "Wilfred."

"Legit" reminds me a lot of "Wilfred," and not just because Jeffries and "Wilfred" creator/star Jason Gann both are Aussies. In "Wilfred," the foul-mouthed dog played by Gann teaches Elijah Wood's Ryan life lessons by getting his human friend into heaps of trouble. In "Legit," Jim gets himself and his friends into heaps of trouble while trying to teach himself how to be a standup guy (no pun intended).

I think Jim is little too hard on himself, however. He's already good-hearted, as he proves when he agrees to help Steve's wheelchair-bound brother, Billy (DJ Qualls), who is suffering from advanced-stage muscular dystrophy, have sex for the first time. This horrifies Steve and his parents, Janice (Mindy Sterling) and Walter (John Ratzenberger). But Billy insists on going with Jim (and Steve) to a Nevada brothel.

As bawdy as the ensuing scenes get, they also are some of the most touching I can recall between a couple of guys who aren't actually in love with each other. (Am I a wimp because I got a little teary-eyed?)

By the end of the episode, Jim makes another truly compassionate decision as he begins his journey from selfish to selfless.

"I'm a good guy," Jim says after leaving the whorehouse, a shit-eating grin forming on his face as a light bulb goes off in his head. "This is going to work out great for me! Billy's gonna be the best wingman ever!"

OK, so maybe Jim's starting with small steps.


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