Photo: Jim Gaffigan
Humorist Jim gaffigan came back to Netflix with its sixth special stand-up made with the streaming giant. In his new special “Comedy Monster”, Jim gaffigan swaps the background of the New York Brick Wall comedy club for a large theater in Minneapolis. Gaffigan is often associated with his family brand of comedy, being a father and a “clean comic”. While this brand can be a drag for comedy fans looking for something more daring, Gaffigan proves that one can still be hilarious and nervous without f-bombs. “Comedy Monster” tackles everything from the current state of the world to how silly it feels when wearing sunscreen. “Comedy Monster” is a must-have watch for any stand-up comedy fan, offering plenty of laughs and even some relief in these stressful times.
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Gaffigan has always been associated with “clean comedy” because he rarely swears on stage and is open about his religious beliefs. This character that many have identified him with is challenged in ‘Comedy Monster’. That’s not to say that Gaffigan starts swearing like a sailor or anything, but he does show some advantage in this special, especially when discussing some current social trends. Many of these on-board moments are accompanied by longer stories, used either as segways or as afterthought. In an instant, Gaffigan talks about his vacation in Hawaii, where locals tell him the Americans have stolen their land. To this, Gaffigan points out, “I don’t know how to tell you, but we have stolen all the land.” This joke works so well because it plays with expectations by making Gaffigan actually agree with the locals and act as a commentary on American colonial lore.
One of the best elements of the stand-up special is Gaffigan’s commentary on Covid, especially how people treat him. He opens his special by saying, “Remember when we thought the pandemic was over?” While performing in a crowded theater. While this fact is fun on its own, the joke also works because it points to a universal truth that we all walk through. From there, Gaffigan points out all the social issues with Covid, from people patting their backs for listening to the rules, to all the weird conspiracy theories that involve Tom hanks and eat babies.
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Jim Gaffigan: 32 facts
These jokes work best because they combine political advantage with Gaffigan’s “everyone” appeal. There is nothing more universal today than Covid, it is unfortunately a subject that everyone can relate to. Gaffigan laughing at this might seem obvious since every comedian now has a Covid set, but Gaffigan puts an edgy twist on it by pointing out people’s ignorance on the subject. Gaffigan also puts everyone on set a spin by focusing more on observational humor, commenting on all the different reactions Covid has elicited.
Jim Gaffigan: the common man
Gaffigan is often known as an “everyone” with much of his humor revolving around the mundane and emphasizing the ridiculousness of things we often overlook (it also helps that he comes across as an “everyone”). On which he often riffs). It’s a real observational comedy that can go on for hours on end riffing on the simplest things, from parenthood to Hot Pocket commercials. Gaffigan is also known for his self-deprecation, aimed at his looks and laziness. Fans of Gaffigan’s signature observation and self-deprecating style will be very pleased with ‘Comedy Monster’ as this brand of humor takes center stage.
Some of the best songs from “Comedy Monster” are about the little things in life. In one particular passage, Gaffigan mocks the parades. He starts with his Covid material and then points out that this means they had to cancel parades which doesn’t bother anyone. He then goes on to talk about the absurdity of the parades, that they are just crowds of people watching other people walking down the street. This track works so well because it accurately indicates what a parade is and how weird it is in hindsight. Gaffigan shines a light on something we know so well that we don’t question it further.
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For fans of observational storytelling, there are plenty of fun family stories that Gaffigan tells. In a particularly interesting passage, Gaffigan recounts how his romantic trip to Hawaii with his wife quickly turned sour after his wife wanted all the kids to go with him. “I only accepted because a trip to Hawaii costs a lot less than a divorce,” he quipped. While this passage might sound like another ‘take my wife’ stereotype, Gaffigan’s jokes are always more heartfelt, coming from a place of love and stress (with five kids who wouldn’t be stressed out).
Gaffigan’s strengths lie in his ability to make fun of himself. From his famous passages where he makes fun of his own sets in the third person (“Did this guy really make a shitty joke?”) To his passages about his laziness. Gaffigan’s self-mockery leads to one of the funniest moments of the night in “Comedy Monster”. There is a little trend online that has happened where people compare Jim Gaffigan to things, from saying he looks like a pair of knees to various baby photos. Gaffigan pokes fun at this in his special, commenting on how weird it is for complete strangers to keep comparing you to body parts and various babies. This bit works so well because Gaffigan contributes to the meme. He uses his self-deprecating skills to include himself in the joke. This track also works very well because it comments on the absurdity of Internet culture, where we are comfortable publicly comparing people to objects.
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Jim Gaffigan’s latest stand-up special is a must-have for comedy fans and anyone looking for a good laugh. From parenting stories to biker tracks, there is something about “Comedy Monster” that will make everyone laugh. For a while, many judged Gaffigan to be a “clean comic” before they even heard his set, lumping it together with other “clean comics.” This is a misconception however, as Gaffigan is much more, offering a lot of insight and good natured laughs throughout his career as a comedian. “Comedy Monster” is just another reminder of Gaffigan’s immense talent and wit.
“Jim Gaffigan: Comedy Monster” is available to stream on Netflix.
By Brianna Benozich
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