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Comedy CD Review: Jim Gaffigan – Mr. Universe

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August 28 marks Comedy Central’s scheduled CD release of comic Jim Gaffigan’s standup special Mr. Universe recorded in a live performance at the Warner Theatre in Washington. The comedian had previously made the special available as a DRM-free download back in April for $5, one dollar of which was to be donated to the Bob Woodruff Foundation which aids wounded servicemen and their families.

The 75-minute set is vintage Gaffigan—precisely honed observational comedy delivered with spot-on timing. Gaffigan finds his humor in highlighting the absurdities of daily living. He talks about kids and Disney vacations, the multiplication of athletic shoes for any possible occasion and then some, and the creepiness of hotel pools. He talks about body building and the love of McDonald’s french fries. He mentions the dangers of indulging in Indian food. He never has to stray all that far from the beaten path to find something funny.

He speaks to us all. There are those comedians who seem to dwell in the obscure. Cult figures, they talk to an audience of insiders. This is not Gaffigan. If you’ve eaten at Subway or bought one of Domino’s concoctions, he’ll have you laughing out loud. And if not, you’ll just have to agree with one of those little self-deprecating critical asides he habitually tosses into his act over the course of the evening. “Can you believe it? A diarrhea joke.” Diarrhea and a closing riff on ExtenZe, by the way, are just about the closest he comes to working with anything offensive, and in this day and age you’d have to be living on some other planet to find that offensive.

Mr. Universe is the comic’s fourth album for Comedy Central. His first three—Doing My Time, Beyond the Pale, and King Baby—have combined to sell over 500,000 copies. His TV appearances include shows like Flight of the Conchords, Bored to Death, Conan, and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Comedy Central has been releasing a stellar collection of stand-up albums from some pretty funny comics in recent months: Reggie Watts, Doug Benson, John Mulaney, Hannibal Buress. Jim Gaffigan’s latest is an impressive addition to the catalogue.

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