Comedian Jim Gaffigan may seem like he’s everywhere these days. He stars in a series of pretty funny commercials for Chrysler, was one of the revolving Colonel Sanders in KFC’s ongoing ad campaign and just completed a run of the second season of “The Jim Gaffigan Show” on TV Land.
But despite all this TV, when Gaffigan rolled his Fully Dressed Tour into the Borgata Event Center Saturday for two shows, it was pretty evident what got Gaffigan to where he is – namely killer stand-up. Playing before two packed houses, Gaffigan unleashed a solid hour of wide ranging stand-up which covered everything from the changing seasons, the differences between ordering steak and fish (guess which one Gaffigan prefers) to travelling with his kids.
In fact, keeping up with Gaffigan’s observations and often sly humor could be a little dizzying for an audience that was constantly trying to catch its breath from laughing. But then that’s what a good comedy show is supposed to do and it’s rare that a stand-up can do a full hour of material and never see a lull in the laughter. Gaffigan can.
Opening for Gaffigan was veteran comic Ted Alexandro, a New York based standup like Gaffigan. Alexandro was a strong warm-up with some pretty funny bits – one of recreating the pose you make for school pictures had the crowd roaring – and gave Gaffigan an audience primed to laugh.
Gaffigan knew just what to do, almost immediately seizing on one of his most endearing traits – his ability to make fun of himself. For example, a comedian that starts off his set doing fat jokes could risk losing part of the audience – the heavier part – but since all Gaffigan’s jokes were about how fat he is, well, then that’s OK.
From there, it was an endless stream of consciousness that seemed to cover every subject that has crossed his mind the last few years.
“What do you think leaves are thinking when they see us driving by looking at the foliage. ‘AHHH, why is everyone looking at me, I’m dying.’”
“In the winter we talk about summer like it’s a lost pet. ‘Hey, we have pictures. Here we are in summer. That’s when we were happy.’”
“What do people think of when they order fish in a restaurant? “Would you like the steak sir? No, I’d rather have something horrible.”
As was displayed on his recently ended TV show and his Chrysler commercials, Gaffigan is also becoming pretty famous for being the father of five children – his 2013 memoir is titled Dad is Fat – and he incorporates a lot of his family life into the act. Like for example, a recent trip to a Pirate based amusement park.
“Kids just love to dress up and be pirates. And the parents are right there with them. They’re running around “Yeah, let’s pretend we’re the murdering sociopaths that terrorized the Caribbean.”
Most importantly, Gaffigan knows what brung him, and often revisited some of the familiar bits that made him famous in his various TV specials, including the running commentary on his own show by an imaginary audience member.
In fact, in what may be unprecedented for a comedian, Gaffigan actually did an encore where he came back out on stage and revisited his famed Hot Pockets routine. It’s what he’s most known for and it’s a shrewd move. No matter how many times you may have heard the jokes, it’s impossible not to laugh again listening to him do his “Ho-ot Pockets” jingle (and in truth, there may have been some new jokes in there. Who can tell? The audience was just rolling with laughter).
During the show, Gaffigan gave out two important shout outs, first saying he loved Atlantic City and also thanking everyone who had watched “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” which will not be returning for a third season after a mutual agreement between Gaffigan, his wife and collaborator Jeannie and TV Land to allow the couple more time with their family.
“If you didn’t watch it, you’re just a horrible person,” he teased. Judging from the applause, most people in the audience had watched it.