Jim Gaffigan Goes Darker As a Comedian

Jim Gaffigan has always taken an approach that emphasizes comedy without trying to outwit its audience; that has always been his approach with his comedy: family-friendly, with elements of both cynicism and innocence mixed into its humor, cheerful salesmanship mixed with an undercurrent of despair.

He has managed to enjoy a successful career for more than two decades with sold-out tours, three Emmy Award nominations and seven Grammy nominations for his comedy albums. Now Netflix will air a special from him, plus there will be a tour with Jerry Seinfeld in October!

Gaffigan is known for exploiting mundane topics to elicit laughter, but his latest special, Comedy Monster, marks an expansion into more serious territory. Set to air November 17, this show deviates from food-centric jokes by delving deeper into American culture and, finally, politics.

Gaffigan has traditionally steered clear of controversial material while his peers ventured further into bolder political statements and more explicit sexual jokes. Now, he is taking to the stage on a larger scale, moving beyond comedy clubs into theaters while tailoring many of his jokes toward our current political climate — while still dropping some harmless humor such as references to fried chicken or Hot Pockets!

Gaffigan finally took advantage of his Catholic identity to bring a fresh new take to comedy: leaning in to his religious beliefs and Catholic identity with confidence and humor. He made clear he wasn’t scared to riff lightly about religion (mainly Bible/Jesus jokes). For instance, in one bit he used an impression of an upset God to warn that people weren’t hearing his messages about climate disasters (instead it was more of a “Dark Pale” joke).

Gaffigan’s approach is refreshingly uncynical and humorist; his comedy recalls Jerry Seinfeld in its deconstruction of mundane daily events and minutiae of everyday life. However, unlike John Mulaney he does not try to be the center of attention; instead his show plays out more like an informal dialogue where audience members are welcome to participate by laughing along.

Gaffigan’s show offers the audience a refreshing and relatable dialogue, reminding us all to laugh more in these times of political division and ever-scarcer Americans. He serves as a welcome reminder that sometimes laughter is indeed medicine! It’s great having him around to remind us all that sometimes laughter really is medicine!