If you’ve never heard of Jim Gaffigan, you might actually laugh at that title. Comedians are notorious for potty mouths and vulgarity, but Gaffigan aims to simply be funny, and as a result, the majority of his jokes are clean. That’s the way many parents tend to like humor for their not-quite-adult teens.
Gaffigan himself is a family man, with five – yes five – children and a wife who is not only his love but also his partner in wisecracks. Gaffigan said, “Ever since my wife and I met, we’ve been working together. It’s the only relationship we know. We have a very similar work ethic and writing comedy and television shows and books is rather creatively fulfilling so it’s not like digging a ditch.”
But Gaffigan doesn’t shy away from pulling from his family life to relate to his crowd.
Another one of our favorites of his, “Parents get burned out in big families. You can even see it in the naming of children. It’s always, like, the first kid: ‘You were named after Grandma’; the seventh kid: ‘You were named after a sandwich I had. I loved that. Now, get your brother Reuben.'”
We asked him if he makes his routines kid-approved considering he’s got such a large captive audience. To our delight he told us, “I’ve run some jokes past my 12-year old. I don’t know if she’s a completely objective audience, but she has a good sense of humor.”
Are there plans for any of them to become comedians, we wondered? “I think my four-year-old still wants to be a superhero.”
Our jaws dropped when we learned Gaffigan’s kids are learning Mandarin. We didn’t ask about his language skills, but we guessed he relates to many expat parents here who have bilingual children and end up using child labor as their personal translators. (We promise, no judgment here. We’re parents with bilingual kids, too.)
Gaffigan said, “We had 3 of our kids study Mandarin because the school they go to is a language immersion program, which was Mandarin or Spanish. We chose Mandarin more as a brain-exercise and less as me wanting them to be the future ambassador to China.”
Even though he’s not making plans for political alliances, the culture differences aren’t lost on him. Check out his funny remarks on our sister site, theBeijinger.com.