Comedian Jim Gaffigan was his usual self-deprecating self Thursday night at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, mocking his own girth and professing his insatiable affection for food, while tossing in several perfectly-timed zingers that tickled the sold-out crowd inside the intimate venue.
Under dimmed lights, Gaffigan, who also took time to sign copies of his new book Food: A Love Story, capped the night with another rip-roaring routine about—what else?—Hot Pockets, which he described as a diarrhea-inducing monstrosity that essentially is only good for judging a person’s level of intoxication (aka if you’re really plastered you’ll bravely open the freezer and pop one in the microwave, and then subsequently regret you’re ill-fated decision). The crowd roared upon Gaffigan’s signature high-pitched, drawn-out mention of the frozen turnover.
Gaffigan, a seasoned comedian who hails from Indiana, was comfortable on stage—as usual. His jokes about religion, food, his family and everyday life, were well-received. The jokes are only part of what makes Gaffigan a top-notch comedian, however. He is also a polished entertainer who specializes in seamless transitions and understands how to skillfully weave together a perfect narrative, oftentimes using food, whether it be donuts, steak, bread or Hot Pockets, as the glue.
What makes Gaffigan so appealing as a comedian is his ability to punctuate one-liners without resorting to profane language. He also genuinely comes off as an everyman, several times discussing his wife and five kids, who he himself picks up from school in New York City.
He credited his wife for assisting with his material, but wasn’t afraid to use her to get some laughs.
When talking about his wife’s driving ability, he noted that while he’s not a sexist he refuses to allow her behind the wheel when they’re in the car because he doesn’t want to die, but is fine with her driving the kids around.
He’s also willing to invoke his children for a good joke. The best was when he talked about how his kids call him on the phone just so they can hear his voice.
“Just buy my album,” he deadpanned.
Perhaps his best moments came when he ribbed people who carry their dogs around in bags or dress their pups in jackets and walk past homeless people on the streets of New York City who would do anything for a warm, leathery overcoat.
He also professed bewilderment at people walking into elevators without questioning the potential consequences, calling the machines “a casket with a string.”
Always enjoyable is when Gaffigan turns the jokes on himself. Gaffigan, perhaps best known for his routines about food, said he often has donuts waiting for him inside hotel rooms.
“I’m not not going to eat them,” he said to a cacophony of laughs.
Gaffigan also mocked his milky-white pigmentation and blonde hair, joking that when he walks around the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum—which he said he wholeheartedly recommends—people point and whisper: “He did it.”
Gaffigan shines the brightest when he dishes on food.
He revealed that he loves steaks above all else. Steaks, he said, have a steakhouse, while Tuna, well—that only gets a can.
Gaffigan also admitted a distaste for fish. The best compliment a plate of fish can get is “It’s not fishy,” he said to a mix of laughs and applause.
Gaffigan was nearly through with his performance when he decided to give the audience one final treat.
“Hoooot Pooockeeets,” he said in his typical high-pitched tone, as the crowd applauded and smiled.