Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale

I have a certain respect for comedians who don’t rely on profanity to have a good time. (Though I do appreciate a well-placed “fuck,” and also I use the world a little too much myself, so I’m basically a hypocrite.) Anyway, where was I? Oh, right, J-Gaffs. It’s probably inappropriate to call him that, but whatever. He’s so nerdy that he goes all the way back around to being cool, and cool people like him deserve nicknames like that.

This standup special is a bit overplayed at this point, considering the widespread popularity of his “Hot Pocket” bit, but it’s still a worthy listen. I’m truly amazed at how detailed this man can be about food. It’s literally an hour-long comedic tangent about food. That’s devotion to a subject. I’m specifically a fan of his bit about Cinnabons. Watch.

It’s all so simple, really. He says funny things, and then he says other funny things on top of it in this high-pitched, effeminate voice, and he’s probably the only comedian out there who can get away with it. I think the relative cleanliness of his material actually helps him in succeeding with this “aside” tactic which, according to Wikipedia, was inspired by his sister. It completely works. His asides are hysterical; he makes fun of himself plainly, but he also poses other hysterical (and sometimes deep) questions about the absurdity of life while making the whole thing seem trivial. So, wait a minute, it’s not that simple. It’s pretty layered and complex. Damn you, Jim Gaffigan, for confusing me with your genius!

I’ve heard wonderful things about King Baby, his follow-up to Beyond the Pale, so I can only hope he branches away from the food-only trend and gets into some other topics. But Gaffigan is definitely worth checking out, at the very least for his unconventional two-voiced-but-not-schizophrenic approach to standup comedy. And his normal-dude demeanor. And his love for food. Who doesn’t love food?

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