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Thursday, May 1, 2014

CD Review: Jim Gaffigan: “Obsessed” (2014)

Jim Gaffigan’s new special, Obsessed, is totally enjoyable. He’s hilarious right from the start, with a strong opening. His response to the applause when he comes out on stage: “Oh, that is so insincere. All I did was walk from over there and act like I’m not out of breath.” He starts by talking about being fat. “I don’t know if you can tell by my beard, but I’m fatAll I did was eat constantly, and boom, I’m fat.” He then adds: “You ever look at medication that says, Don’t take on an empty stomach? Never a concern of mine.”

One thing about Jim Gaffigan is that he is really likeable. There is nothing abrasive about him. And everything has the ring of truth to it. Of course it also helps that he's incredibly funny. About the work involved in eating fruit he says: “Has peeling an orange ever really been worth it? There’s not chocolate in this.” And his bit on ranch dressing is totally hilarious. There is a lot of material on food, and it’s all wonderful. “Cops love doughnuts, which is an interesting stereotype because you know who else loves doughnuts? Absolutely everyone. Of course cops love doughnuts, because they know the difference between right and wrong.” He makes fun of the name Yum Yum Donuts (there’s a Yum Yum a block from my apartment). This performance was recorded at The Wilbur Theatre in Boston, and of course doughnuts are huge in Boston, which he acknowledges (and predictably the crowd responds enthusiastically).

One thing I love about Jim Gaffigan is that his material has a great natural flow to it, so that you don’t really notice the changes in topic. It all just flows so well. He moves from doughnuts in Boston to the food they eat in the south. “The south will never rise again because they don’t have the energy.”

And his material on weddings is bloody great. (My girlfriend is going to love this CD.) “Weddings started off as these crude medieval ceremonies where women – daughters – were exchanged as property. Yet over the course of centuries, they got worse.” His response to getting a wedding invitation: “Oh good, it’s out of town. Wouldn’t want to use those vacation days for vacationing.”

He does some goofy voices as part of his routine. One of my favorites is when he imitates his mother, regarding the china they had which couldn’t be put in the dishwasher: “Don’t get that wet – you need to clean it with a kitten.”

I also love his bit about crabs. “You know God’s up in heaven going, ‘What do I got to do to stop them from eating the crabs? I gave it a rock-hard shell, I put it on the bottom of the ocean, I named a disease after it.’” Though I’m from Massachusetts, I’ve never eaten crabs, lobster, clams or oysters because they never seemed like food to me. So I appreciate this material all the more.

It’s interesting, but the entire routine never strays too far from food. Even when he talks about his children he says: “I have five kids. I used to have more, but I ate them.”

Obsessed was released on April 29, 2014 through Comedy Central Records. It's just over sixty-eight minutes.

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