James Christopher Gaffigan (born July 7, 1966 in Elgin, Illinois) is an American comedian and actor who appeared in various commercials and films before rising to national popularity in the mid-to-late 2000s.
Gaffigan released his first comedy album, Luigi's Doghouse, in 2001. His first four albums were released on small independent labels; his first major-label release was Doing My Time, released in 2004 on Comedy Central Records, who would release all his albums going forward, usually accompanied by a TV special and/or DVD release. His 2006 release, Beyond the Pale, would be his commercial breakthrough, and remains probably his best-known performance. In 2015, he began starring in the TV Land sitcom The Jim Gaffigan Show, playing a fictionalized version of himself, and voicing Father Time in Star vs. the Forces of Evil.
Gaffigan's routines commonly focus on aspects of everyday life, the most prominent of which are eating and being lazy. Gaffigan also includes frequent high-pitched, stage whispered asides, meant to represent a hypothetical, easily-offended audience member. (Rumor has it that these are based on his sister-in-law's reactions.) These were a fixture of his act for a long time, though beginning with Mr. Universe, he's cut down on their usage significantly.
- Luigi's Doghouse (2001)
- Economics II (2001)
- More Moo Moos (2003)
- The Last Supper (2004)
- Doing My Time (2004)
- Beyond the Pale (2006)
- King Baby (2009)
- Mr. Universe (2012)
- Obsessed (2015)
- Cinco (2017)
- Noble Ape (2018)
- Quality Time (2019)
- Above the Shadows (2019)
- The Pale Tourist (2020)
- Comedy Monster (2021)
- Accidentally Correct Writing: In the Extenze bit that ends Mr. Universe, Jim says he could never buy Extenze because he wouldn't want to dispute that charge on his credit card. He then plays the hypothetical role of a customer calling in because his penis is still really tiny. According to American Greed, this is actually how Extenze made the bulk of its money back when it was owned by Longitude. If you wanted to dispute a charge, you'd have to go through a lengthy process to "prove" that the product didn't work. Some of this process was measuring your penis and reporting the results. Most people just canceled their subscription...
- The Ahnold: In "Mr. Universe" (named after he mentioned Arnie's crowning as Mr. Universe, and the apparent step down to just Governor of California) Jim notes that everybody can do a Schwarzenegger impression, but Schwarzenegger "can't do an impression of somebody who can pronounce 'California'."
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Gaffigan once made a joke about how there will one day be a bacon hamburger with two doughnuts instead of buns, and that someone in the audience will probably think it's a brilliant idea and make one. Meet the Luther Burger
- Analogy Backfire: He noted that West Virginia's slogan is "Almost Heaven". He complained that when he dies he's going to a place that's only marginally nicer than West Virginia.
- And a Diet Coke: When Jim is talking about KFC serving their chicken in buckets and compares it to how farm animals are fed with buckets.Jim: (Imitating a fast food patron) I'll have a bucket of chicken, a silo of Pepsi, and a trough of pig slop... make the pig slop diet.
- Archive Panic: Invoked during "CINCO", when he discusses the phenomenon of binge watching.Jim: There are so many television shows and episodes of television shows we could and should be watching. Its amazing any of us are here right now. Its kind of overwhelming, DVR, on-demand. Sometimes I open my Netflix, Im like, "I dont think I can do it. Im not even gonna make a dent here." And I know there's pressure. We all feel it, 'cause we developed excuses for our friends, like we're dealing with debt collectors. "You watch Game of Thrones?" "Im a little behind. Give me a week. My wife had a dumb baby." And its never-ending. "You finished that show? Now you have to watch this show and then" "No, now I need to learn how to read again. I need to sound out some words and see if I can read."
- Awesome Mc Coolname: During his long routine on bacon in "King Baby":Jim: I even like the name "Bacon"! You can't tell me that the success of Kevin Bacon isn't somehow tied to his name. No one's going to a Kevin Hot Dog movie. "Who's in this? Kevin Bacon? Sounds gooood."
- Bestiality Is Depraved: Implied regarding how Kobe beef is made. Which involves feeding cows beer and massaging them with sake.Guy 1: Are you enjoying that steak?
Guy 2: This is the best steak I have ever had.
Guy 1: You know I fed that cow beer?
Guy 2: *laughs* You got the cow drunk?
Guy 1: Yeah, then I was massaging it.
Guy 2: *worried* Why?... Why were you massaging a cow you just gave a lot of alcohol to?
Guy 1: So you can enjoy it.
Guy 2: So I can enjoy it!? ... I'm not hungry anymore... I'm gonna go call the Special Victims Unit.
- Big Eater: As stated above, he often references his love for food. His album Beyond the Pale consists almost entirely of food-related jokes.Hypothetical Audience Member: It always comes back to food with him.
- A Birthday, Not a Break: Jim Gaffigan has a routine where he says how there's so much pressure in our culture to have a good time on our birthday, so that we whine when we aren't given a break on that day.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When talking about a Cinnabon the size of a bean bag chair.Jim: Should I sit in it or eat it? Hey I can sit in it and eat it!
- When talking about the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World:Jim: There were giraffes right outside my window. But after a few days I thought "same giraffe again... How about a lion? ... How about a lion eating a giraffe? That would be magical, Disney."
- When talking about the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World:
- But Not Too White: A major portion of Jim's act is making fun of his own extremely pale skin.
- Censorship by Spelling: "I always feel dumb. It doesn't help that my wife spells everything in front of the kids."
- Content Warnings: He feels that Hot Pockets should come with a warning label that states "Warning: You just bought Hot Pockets! Hope you're drunk or heading home to a trailer! You hillbilly, enjoy the next NASCAR event!"Hypothetical Audience Member: Hey, I like NASCAR! He's a jerk.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: An example of Early Installment Weirdness: In one of his earlier stand-up performances, he complained how little time he has after work and the commute: When he finally gets home he has enough time to masturbate and then go to bed.
- Deadpan Snarker: He rarely gets excited or raises his voice.
- The Dead Rise to Advertise: Gaffigan did a short stint as Colonel Sanders in a couple Kentucky Fried Chicken ads in 2016.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Averted. He doesn't smoke, but will sometimes be photographed with one, and like the picture above, only looks like a doofus.
- Does Not Like Spam: Despite his love of food, there are some food he finds disgusting. These include; Hot Pockets, seafood, kale, and grapefruit.
- Donut Mess with a Cop: In Obsessed he says that of course cops like to eat donuts, because everybody likes to eat donuts! And also that when you see a cop in a donut shop, it feels like something special."Did an angel just get its wings?"
- Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked; in Mr. Universe, Jim joked about drinking tuna sub water with a straw, and the audience groaned.Jim: Oh, that's where I crossed the line? (audience applauds) "It was funny 'til he did that tuna water joke. My fiance's allergic to tuna water. I don't appreciate the inconsideration."
- Early Installment Weirdness: Jim is known for working mostly clean, so listening to his albums prior to Beyond the Pale, which contain a fair amount of profanity, can be a rather jarring experience.
- The Eponymous Show: The Jim Gaffigan Show.
- The Film of the Book: Referenced in one of his jokes.Jim: "The book was much better than the movie." Yeah, you know what I liked about the movie? No reading. It was over in two hours, then I could take a nap.
- Food Porn:
- He comments on how Food Network's like porn when you're hungry."What are you watching?""Uhh, uhh, Food Network.""Well, why are your pants off?""...I like food...a lot."
- He takes it one step further when he points out that packaging is like clothing for food.(seductively) "What you wearing there, cookies?"
- He comments on how Food Network's like porn when you're hungry.
- Glasses Pull: Jim has a routine about generals in '50s B-Movies dramatically removing glasses and saying "My God... I can't see a thing without these. That's probably why I wear them..."
- Gratuitous Spanish:
- From Beyond the Pale, Jim discussing Moses.Jim: (as one of Moses's followers) This Moses doesn't know where the hell he's going! I appreciate he got us out of Egypt, but we're in the desert, folks, as in no agua.
- In Mr. Universe:Jim: I was muy guapo... no mas! note
- In "King Baby", when discussing beds:Jim: Eating while you're lying down is beautiful. Too bad hospitals have that sickness requirement, 'cause I would check in mañana.
- From Beyond the Pale, Jim discussing Moses.
- Guilty Pleasure: Refers to it as everyone having their own equivalent of McDonald's.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Invoked; He predicts one in his special Obsessed, after joking that his donut trail mix will lead him to the emergency room:Jim: That joke will be even funnier when I die from cardiac arrest.
- Heroic BSoD: His wife suffered a large brain tumor in 2017, causing some serious soul-searching including a week and a half where he completely intended to retire from comedy. Luckily, it was removed successfully and Jim ultimately decided to go on with his career, having been deeply moved by the outpouring of kindness from his fans.
- Hilarious Outtakes: Here's a blooper reel from Gaffigan's Saturn commercials.
- Horrible Camping Trip: In King Baby.Jim: People always say "he is not a happy camper", why not just call him a camper? You know who's a happy camper: the one leaving the campsite! He the happiest camper, he gets to take a shower!"If the great outdoors are so great, why did we invent indoors?"
- I'm a Humanitarian: In King Baby:Hypothetical Audience Member: He's like Pearl Jam. He's taking on the man. Hey, wait a minute. He looks like the man. He's kind of pudgy. Maybe he ate the man.
- I'm Going to Hell for This: After a religious joke:Hypothetical Audience Member: He's going to Hell in two religions! He's practically sprinting!
- Informed Attribute: Discussed in Dad Is Fat when he ponders how his generation idolized Fonzie. Looking back, he realizes that the point of Fonzie was to be ridiculous, but children watching the show believed he was cool because all the characters said he was cool, and they weren't old enough to appreciate Show, Don't Tell.
- I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Jim loves cake. He has a whole sequence on the power of cake, how cake can bring enemies together, how pancakes are mysteriously considered wholesome breakfast food, etc."It's Bill's birthday."
"Yeah, I hate that guy."
"There's cake in the conference room."
"Well, I should say hello."
- Jumping the Shark: Invoked in Obsessed. Jim describes having five kids as this.When you have four kids people are like "Wow!" but when you have five it's like "Just stop."
- "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal: In King Baby, when Jim presents a hypothetical scenario where Abraham's wife notices he circumcised himself after getting out of the shower:Jim: (as Abraham's wife) If God told you to jump off a bridge— if God told you to sacrifice our firstborn son— (as Abraham) Actually, I have to talk to you about that.
- Lampshade Hanging: All. The. Time.Jim: I went camping recently...for this next joke...
- Lazy Bum: Makes a number of jokes about being lazy and out of shape, or complaining about not doing something "because then I'd have to put on pants".Hypothetical Audience Member: He has his pants off in a lot of jokes.
- Memetic Molester: Invoked Trope. Plays this angle up and has the hypothetical audience member react this way.
- In King Baby the hypothetical audience member says that the CD cover◊ for Beyond the Pale makes him look like a pedophile.
- Metaphorgotten: He manages one that still somehow makes perfect sense, when describing his experience of having a fourth kid (and now a fifth): "Imagine you're drowning, and someone hands you a baby."
- My Eyes Are Up Here: In "Beyond the Pale":Jim: Like when I'm talking to a woman and I will catch her staring at my belly. I'll be like, "Hello, I'm up here. I'm not some piece of flab for you to ogle at."
- Mythology Gag: He mentions Law & Order, a series he guest-starred in several episodes, in Mr. Universe.
- Non-Indicative Name: Invoked by naming his tour that was recorded as the "King Baby" album "The Sexy Tour". Apparently, he wanted to mess with audience expectations, and the idea of him being sexy is just funny.
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: In Obsessed, Jim mentions his experience shopping for a gift for his wife at Victoria's Secret: The secret to a man shopping there and not looking like a pervert is to act bored.
- Odd Couple: His wife is way more attractive, health conscious, and more religious. Also, it has shocked a lot of fans that he is close friends with Daniel Tosh. Jim is viewed as more family friendly and a cleaner comic than he actually is (Brian Regan is much cleaner than Jim) while Tosh is the polar opposite. Many fans agree they have a similar delivery. Daniel in his 2011 special/ album ends a joke saying "Hot Pocket." He references that a comic friend let him do that.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In "Mr. Universe", when doing a New York accent:Jim: I think the accent actually changed in the middle of the joke.
- Overly Long Gag: Lampshaded several times:
Jim: "I can see on some of your faces, that you would frankly prefer if I did . . . more horse jokes. ok."
- In this bit:Hypothetical Audience Member: That's got to be the end of the bacon jokes.
Jim proceeds to tell more bacon jokes
- In his recent album/special Quality Time he does this to an expert level with his horses routine, 10 minutes and 34 seconds of horse jokes.
- Close to 8 minutes into the horse jokes:
Jim: "Okay I can tell that one or two or 300 of you that are frankly, annoyed by the horse jokes and I want you to know that your annoyance gives me pleasure.
- 9 minutes into the horse jokes:
Jim:"Okay no more horse jokes. Anyway ponies are completely different.Hypothetical Audience Members:Is there a horse joke coming? He could've put a horse joke in there. He didn't use the reference "giddy up." Why didn't he put it there."
- He follows that up with:
Hypothetical Audience Member: If he tells another cake joke, I'm gonna kill 'im.Jim: Okay, let's talk about something besides cake: pie! That's like liquid cake.
- Also this:
- We can't forget his Hot Pockets routine. At some point, the joke becomes the fact that he's still talking about Hot Pockets.
- In this bit:
- Playing Against Type: He has been in at least 3 different episodes of shows in the Law & Order franchise, in one instance playing a convicted pedophile, a Corrupt Corporate Executive selling poisonous Chinese-counterfeit toothpaste, and a plumber.
- There's also his starring role in the 2018 thriller American Dreamer. You can tell he's trying to branch out into a variety of roles so he doesn't end up being typecast.
- Potty Failure: "Speaking of diapers, I went to Waffle House last night."
- Putting the Pee in Pool: In Mr. Universe, Jim observes that anytime kids are in a hotel pool, you're swimming in a toilet.Jim: The first time a kid can multitask. "I can play AND pee!!!"
- Real Men Love Jesus: Although he often brings it up in context of a joke, he is a practicing Catholic.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gaffigan's response to President Donald Trump's speech at the 2020 Republican convention was to embark in a long, profane Twitter rant denouncing both the man himself and his supporters. It quickly went viral owing to it doubling as an OOC Is Serious Business-type situation, since Gaffigan was considered a "clean" comedian whose material was non-threatening to conservatives up until that point:
- The fact that it came out of nowhere (Gaffigan generally avoids heavy political topics in his comedy) made it all the more startling.
- Rule of Three:
- During his camping bit in King Baby, it takes three attempts to convince Jim to go camping:Jim: (as co-worker) "Hey, how'd you like to burn a couple vacation days sleeping on the ground?" Uh, no. "What if I told you you get to crap standing up?" I still wouldn't want to go. "You'll wake up freezing covered in a rash." All right, I'll go.
- Also in King Baby, when discussing bowling:Jim: Some people have their own bowling ball and their own bowling shoes and no friends.
- And on the same topic, three ways to make bowling easier:Jim: You want the bumpers? We can get rid of the pins. Why don't you take this coloring book and sit in the corner?
- In Mr. Universe it took the porn promo at a hotel three attempts to persuade someone in ordering.TV: *seductive female voice* Aaafter~Hourrrs.Jim: It's 9AM, I'm on my way to a business meeting.TV: Aaafter~Hourrrs.Jim: I'm here for my grandmother's memorial.TV: Aaafter~Hourrrs.Jim: Well, maybe after the memorial.
- During his camping bit in King Baby, it takes three attempts to convince Jim to go camping:
- Running Gag:
- In Mr. Universe:Jim: What room are you staying in?
- Played with during one instance, where he was playing a senior citizen:Jim: What room am I staying in?
- Another from Mr. Universe, whenever he spoke in an Italian-American accent he would end the sentence with "It's so simple!"
- In Beyond the Pale: he gets into a long talk about different kinds of Hot Pockets, always stopping to sing the jingle.Jim: (singing in falsetto) Hot Pockets.
- Most albums have at least one gag where a healthy or smaller portion of food is expensive while an unhealthy or larger portion costs a nickel.
- The terrorist group Al Qaeda is mentioned in most of his specials as a go-to villain for minor offenses.From King Baby: Who are those people who don't eat ketchup, who are they called again... Al Qaeda? Ugh.From Mr. Universe: (Hypothetical Audience Member with a southern accent) Midwife? How many wives does this guy have? Sounds like Al Qaeda!From Obsessed: (Preparing fruit) is too much work; you have to wash it, you have to peel off that sticker Al Qaeda put on it...From Cinco: (A TSA agent found his box of doughnuts in his luggage and he's too embarrassed to explain the situation) Uhhh, those aren't mine... some guy gave those to me... some guy named Al, Al Qaeda that's it!
- In Quality Time, horse jokes.
- In Mr. Universe:
- Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: Jim has a bit where he points out that life is easier when you're attractive. "If a stranger smiles at you and they're attractive, you think 'Oh, they're nice'. But if an ugly person smiles at you, you think 'What do they want?'."
- Screw Yourself: In one joke Jim says that he couldn't go through childbirth because he doesn't have a uterus but also because he couldn't have sex with a man. Unless it looked like him. "Some Jim on Jim action" indeed.
- Constantly makes fun of himself, particular his pale skin, the fact he's out of shape, and that he enjoys eating unhealthy.
- Frequently pokes fun at Christian traditions and beliefs, despite being a practicing Catholic.
- Plus of course all the Hot Pockets junk-food jokes, then goes on about his love of bacon. Might double as Hypocritical Humor.
- Also his frequenting of McDonald's. "I love the awkward silence that always follows that statement."
- His "Hypothetical Audience Member" bit seems to exist as this, which he mostly uses to mock his act.
- Shockingly Expensive Bill: At the beginning of the King Baby special, he speculates how the Hypothetical Audience Members would react if he spent the entire show making the same high-pitched groan he starts every show off with.Hypothetical Audience Member: That was the worst show I've ever seen! ...I spent over Forty Dollars... [beat] And after the service fee it was Ninety... [beat] Convenience Charge...? Convenient way to rip us off...
- Signs of Disrepair: In King Baby he mentions a Waffle House sign with the "W" burned out so it reads "_AFFLE HOUSE" (awful house).
- Skewed Priorities: When discussing sugar packets:Jim: Do I eat sugar that will make me fat, or do I use the other stuff that will kill me? Eh, what's a little cancer.
- Speed Sex: In one bit, he talks about being a father, and how amazing it is that a woman can produce a new human being with her body. "And I helped too! For, like, five seconds."
- Stalker Shrine: In his wedding bits in Obsessed. A hypothetical person who caught the bride's garter belt keeps it in a small room surrounded by photos of the bride, candles, and fried bread.
- The Stoner: The last joke in Beyond the Pale was about how Moses must have looked crazy saying that God talked to him as a burning bush:Moses's friend: ...Sure He did. Uh, Moses, we think maybe you've been "burning some bush".
- Stylistic Suck: When Jim was on Conan in 2019, he noted that he's been letting his younger kids make the posters for his stand-up tour, and look it. Of note was one that had Jason on it for some reason.
- Suicide as Comedy: When Jim talks about going swimming with a shirt on so he doesn't get sunburned."What happened? Did he fall in? That's the worst suicide attempt I've ever seen!"
- Sweet Tooth: Had a bit about it in Beyond the Pale:Jim: "I have a bit of a sweet tooth." Really, it's for your tooth? Because it's going straight to your ass. I think your ass owes your tooth an explanation.
- Take That!:
- In his King Baby special: Waffle House, Dunkin' Donuts.
- In his Mr. Universe special: Subway restaurants, hotels, Glee.
- Hot Pockets in Beyond the Pale.
- Teeny Weenie: He discusses Extenze in Mr. Universe, and remarks how they have a foolproof business plan; in order to claim the product doesn't work and get a refund, you must essentially prove that you have a small penis.
- This Ain't Rocket Surgery: A joke in Beyond the Pale:Jim: I love how we measure the difficulty of everything versus brain surgery. "Hey, it ain't brain surgery. It ain't brain surgery." What do brain surgeons say? "It ain't like... talking to women." (as offended audience member) "Hey, buddy, I'm a brain surgeon! I didn't appreciate that."
- Noble Ape has a bit about brain surgeons and he jokes how it must be tough to be a brain surgeon because they can never say "This aint brain surgery." when referring to their work because it literally is brain surgery.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: In a routine about McDonalds french fries, Jim says that the best part is when you've finished the fries but discover a bonus fry at the bottom of the bag. He imagines that Jesus put it there: "Give 'em an extra fry. He'll pay it forward."
- Unexplained Accent:
- In King Baby, Jim did a bit about Jesus's apostles and gave one of the apostles a New York accent for some reason. He quickly lampshades this.
- He does the same thing in Mr. Universe, lapsing into a Joisey accent for his Hypothetical Audience Member, then remarking how he's performing in Washington D.C. and the accent makes no sense.
- And yet again in Beyond the Pale, where he gives a New York accent to a salesman pitching the idea of Kudos granola bars. He has the Hypothetical Audience Member lampshade this a moment later.Hypothetical Audience Member: When did the Mafia start making granola?
- Verbal Backspace: In King Baby, he confesses that having kids made him realize how little he knows:Jim: Recently my son pointed to an antenna and said, "Look daddy, it's a stick!" I said, "Actually, that's an antenna." He goes, "What's an antenna?" "...It's a stick."