Jim Gaffigan has always been one of my favorite standup comedians. While he’s not nearly as cutting edge as some of the others, I love his timing, and his self-deprecating humor is just so spot-on perfect that he never fails to make me laugh. That, I think, is what I like about him the most. There may be other comics who manage to occasionally catch lightning in a bottle and just explode a handful of hilarious moments, say, in a solid hour of comedy…but Gafigan (much like another favorite of mine, Brian Regan) manages to keep me either laughing the entire time or on the knife’s edge of laughter.
Mr. Universe, the new comedy special recently released by Mr. Gaffigan, very ably continues this trend and confirms my belief that the man is a sublime comedy genius.
After placing the CD copy I’d gotten to review in my computer so that I could listen to it while working on a magazine layout for my 9-to-5 job I found that I’d achieved absolutely nothing except to sit and laugh…and that an hour had flown by without my notice.
With Gaffigan working at his usual steady pace supplemented by his half-whispered asides to himself in the tone of an “everyman” audience member, Mr. Universe went by so quickly that I found myself listening to it over and over again all that afternoon.
Afterwards, while looking around on his website, I discovered that (much like Louis C.K. on his own site) the video for Mr. Universe was available for download for only $5. Needless to say, I bought it and then watched/listened to the whole special again.
The visual of Jim up there on stage dressed all in comfortable black against his pale complexion seems to highlight the facial performance he couldn’t help but give as he told stories of his family (he opens with a discussion of the newest addition to his family, a fourth child) and life.
The video was a lovely supplement to the concert CD I’d been listening to…but more and more often I’d find myself just listening to the audio as the words themselves are what mattered. Though he may not be thought of in the same grouping with George Carlin, Mitch Hedburg, Lenny Bruce, or Richard Pryor as far as sheer incendiary wordplay in his act, the honest and very human experiences Gaffigan spins into each moment of Mr. Universe prove that he definitely deserves to be considered when talking of the best comics working today.
If you can’t tell, I honestly loved this CD and would heartily recommend it to anyone who simply wants to listen and laugh (and laugh and laugh) with a damned funny comedian in the prime of his talent.