It's no secret that I am a fan of Jim Gaffigan, and over the past couple of years, hundreds of thousands of you have agreed with me. Many more probably will hop on board with the release of King Baby, Gaffigan's new 71-minute stand-up comedy special that debuts in a crammed-in hour on Comedy Central this Sunday, March 29, and then available to all on DVD with extras on Tuesday, March 31.
What's to like about Jim Gaffigan? More like what's not to like about him. Some may say it's the fact that Gaffigan rarely curses onstage that opens him up to a larger fan base, but right from the opening of King Baby (and the menu scene on the DVD), when you see the montage from Austin where he filmed the special and see his kids chomping on some delicious meaty ribs from Iron Works, you get a clue to his success as a stand-up. A night enjoying Gaffigan is akin to a night spent with yummy comfort foods, and as a bonus, you'll also get to hear Gaffigan make joke after joke about your favorite guilty pleasure comfort foods. It's comfort comedy, is what it is. He says it's about being lazy -- taking on topics such as bowling, escalators, moving sidewalks, camping, hammocks, the snooze button, futons, bean bags, pillows, bacon, meats, and fast food. But it's also about how we as human have strived to make our lives as comfortable as possible, and suddenly these mundane topics aren't quite as mundane and simplistic as they had seemed. On camping, he notes: "Some places you have to pay to sleep outside. That's got to be insulting to homeless people." Here he is on the power of television making us comfortable:
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There are plenty of bacon jokes, obviously, as Gaffigan proved earlier by dedicating his entire segment with David Letterman once on bacon. But he tops that in King Baby with more time spent on ketchup. Yep. Ketchup.
And when he jokes about religion, which he starts in on during his bacon routine ("No bacon? I'm in the wrong line."), he always goes about it in a comfortable way. Jim Gaffigan doesn't mock religion so much as he has fun with the scenarios that played out in Biblical times, from Abraham giving himself a circumcision, to Jesus on his other job as a carpenter, or even giving one of his Apostles a Brooklyn accent. "I know religion jokes make some people uncomfortable, and I call those people sinners," Gaffigan jokes.
But you'll likely remember the food jokes the easiest, won't you? In King Baby, Gaffigan takes on Dunkin Donuts, Popeye's, and Waffle House. And his take on our relationship reminded me of how much of a treat it seemed for us as children and teens (and remains for kids today) to know we'd get to go to McDonald's.
It'll be interesting to see what doesn't make the cut for Comedy Central's "hour." If you get the DVD, you'll also be treated to 26 minutes from his "Unmasked" interview for Sirius/XM Radio, three of his "Pale Force" episodes with Conan O'Brien, several Comedy Central promos, and a wildly weird mockumentary in which Gaffigan plays an animal expert called "Our Massive Planet."
More: For more on Jim Gaffigan, including my backstage interview with him, click here.