Clean Comedians: Jim Gaffigan, a Loner with a lot of Kids

A blog on clean cut comedy without a post on Jim Gaffigan would be, well, a terrible blog. Jim is our king. He’s the comedian everyone points to when you talk about mainstream clean comedians. And he’s doing it all. Stand-up, acting, writing and parenting.  We love Jim. If he’s new to you, let me explain why.

There are three pillars to Jim Gaffigan’s comedy: overeating, having lots of kids, and an outer “inner voice.”  In some of his shows, I think his inner voice has more time than his actual voice. It’s the high-pitched voice of his perceived critics judging or misjudging every move.  But its that voice that allows him to get away with a Catholic viewpoint in a secular profession and makes him so relate-able.

Jim is the face of his brand, but his wife, Jeannie is the co-captain, co-writer, co-parent in their life together in lower Manhattan, where they raise 5 blonde kids. How they do it all is beyond me, but this year alone, their sitcom, The Jim Gaffigan Show, premiered, he began his national tour, “Contagious,” they published his second book, Food: A Love Story and moved apartments after too many fans stopped by and buzzed in with the Hot Pockets theme song.


For families like mine, Jim is our spokesperson. For any parent who routinely gets comments like, “Looks like you’ve got your hands full!” or “Are they all yours?” we celebrate the celebrities who also choose our family culture. When he’s asked, “Why so many?” he responds:

“Well, why not? I guess the reasons against having more children always seem uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life. I believe each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure I only need another thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy.”



In an interview on CBS, we get a glimpse of what his life looks like as a comedian-dad.  But what stands out to me is his idea that stand up comics can have introvert-like tendencies.  “First of all, we [comedians] are not normal. It’s a solitary, introspective pursuit. The characteristics of a comedian are the exact opposite of the characteristics you would want in someone to be a father or a parent.”

He spoke more on this in his first book,  Dad is Fat, “I do remember that when I was single, I was a loner by choice. I ate alone, went to movies alone, and even spent time by myself alone. The thought of a roommate to the single me was absurd. Now I have many roommates. I have an 8-year- old, a 6-year-old, a 3-year-old, a 1-year-old, and I don’t think I’ve even met the other one yet. Hey, there are five of them! Five kids may seem overwhelming to you, but how do you think I feel? Ten years ago, I could barely get a date, and now my apartment is literally crawling with babies. It’s like I left some peanut butter out overnight.”

Matt and I both consider ourselves introverts who are refueled by alone or down time.  Isn’t it fascinating that introverts who need space purposely procreate and fill up their space?  I don’t get it. But there does seem to be a difference between spending time with my people and other people, energy wise. It’s a dichotomy between loving a larger family and craving time by yourself.

You can watch Jim manage his large family life on The Jim Gaffigan Show  Wednesdays 10/9C on TVLand and Thursdays 8/7C on Comedy Central. Episodes are also available on Amazon. His Contagious Tour continues the rest of the year-most dates are sold out, but you can check your city here.

Any large family introverts out there?  Do you watch Jim’s show in your down time?  Like you’d comment anyway.

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