Jim Gaffigan is keeping pace, producing as many stand-up specials now as he has reproduced children with his wife, Jeannie.
Cinco is the magic number.
It’s also the headline I gave to my review of Gaffigan’s newest stand-up special, which came out this week exclusively on Netflix, along with a deal bringing his previous four specials to Netflix.
A child of the Midwest, Gaffigan’s childhood memories always revolved around winter, cold and snow, but he also stops to give a shout-out to the other seasons – and different voices to fall foliage and pine trees, to show he’s got range outside of his trademark inner voice that usually comments on his act onstage.
Certainly some of Gaffigan’s topics for humor may seem all-too trivial, but he digs deep into each premise like a Jeopardy champion running the table. Can I get binge-watching TV for $200? $400? $600? $800? $1,000? Speaking of which, he does stop to acknowledge fans of his TV Land series, which he also co-created and co-wrote with his wife. “I appreciate it,” he says. “And if you didn’t watch, that just means you’re a jerk. But no, thank you if you did watch ‘cause there are so many television shows and episodes of television shows we could and should be watching. It’s amazing any of us are here right now.”
As he first made clear in his 2012 special, Mr. Universe, our cultural appetite tends toward fast and easy, like McDonald’s, comfort or junk food. We know better, and yet we still seek it out. Binge-watching allows us to fall in a similar trap, and Gaffigan jokes how streaming TV has become a more popular relationship for us than those we have with friends or family; how Netflix reminds us of past relationships or points us to new suitors. Much better than the alternative, though. Gaffigan jokes how TV commercials judge us, while cable TV news depresses us.