Sometimes, the only way to understand religion is to laugh at it.
Or so argues the first episode of stand-up comic Jim Gaffigan’s new show, aptly titled The Jim Gaffigan Show. The program had a bumpy road to production, but the first season is finally set to air this summer, and last week Gaffigan released the first episode for free on his website. In it, everyman Gaffigan plays a quasi-fictional version of himself, copy-pasting the funnier-version-of-my-life-as-a-comedian structure made famous by Louie, the show of fellow funnyman Louis C.K.
But while the show is likely to generate buzz among Gaffigan’s existing fanbase, its first chapter might also attract a few extra viewers for its elegant treatment of a notoriously difficult topic — faith. The episode opens with a simple premise: Gaffigan the character, who shares the Catholic faith of Gaffigan the comedian, picks up a large Bible at the request of his wife Jeannine (Ashley Williams), only to be photographed toting it around town by a devoted fan. When the photo ends up plastered across the front page of the Huffington Post, Gaffigan panics, telling his wife “I don’t want people to think I believe in God.”