FOH First Listen: Jim Gaffigan – “Obsessed”‏

000gaff00 - FOH First Listen:  Jim Gaffigan – “Obsessed”‏

by Ryan Meehan

As you know by now, April is stand-up month and Comedy Central will close out the celebration on Tuesday the 29th by releasing the new album from Jim Gaffigan entitled “Obsessed”. The pre-order for this disc has already charted #1 on iTunes, giving Gaffigan his fifth album in the Top 25 Comedy category on that website. The special will premiere Sunday April 27th at 10/9 Central, and will be available on the new Comedy Central App the very next morning.

Gaffigan has been pretty consistent with his material over the years. He primarily avoids profanity and discusses a lot of subjects that are not necessarily new to the comedy community. The first five tracks on this record are about food, and there is not anything on this CD that pertains to current news events. Perhaps that’s part of Gaffigan’s strategy, as it is after all a comedy show…People want to laugh, not discuss the recent political unrest in Syria.

So on another trip to Gaffghanistan, we find Jim dealing with more of his own personal “Obsessions”. He has five children now, and discusses some of the tendencies he’s noticed about how his friends congratulate him when his wife Jeannie has their “annual baby”. (Bonus comment: For some reason, every time I see a picture of Jim and Jeannie I can’t help but notice that she looks amazing and I’ve never seen a picture of her pregnant which is weird for someone who’s had five kids. It would be interesting to find out what’s going on there…)  There’s a lot of great stuff on here, and my favorite bit has to be the one about weddings.  I can relate because I hate weddings with a passion, and thankfully I have somebody in my corner on this one.

What I’m starting to notice about Jim is although he works clean, you tend to notice that there are a lot of really dark underlying premises throughout his work. One example would be when he is discussing alcohol consumption and how we know it’s bad for us. “When you’re a teenager, you’re like ‘This tastes awful, but it makes me look cool…’, then when you’re in your twenties you’re like ‘This gives me the confidence to talk to people of the opposite sex’. And then when you’re in your forties you’re like “This is really the only thing I like about being alive.” In other words, although he might not be dropping F-bombs left and right you still find yourself thinking about what he’s saying and reminding yourself how messed up it is. That being said, the jokes are delivered so rapidly that you don’t really have time to question yourself or be filled with self-doubt as the next bit is coming soon and may be completely unrelated.  (Although that doesn’t mean the transitions aren’t great…)

This is a very solid comedy record, and it’s very representative of what made Jim famous in the first place: Fast-paced jokes that almost every audience can relate to (Nothing’s 100%, I’m sure there are a couple of Taliban rooms he might not win over) and a friendly demeanor. Jim and his albums are the kind of discs you can bring home to Mom, providing your mother isn’t working on an oil painting of a plate of doughnuts. So check out the special on the 27th, and if you like it give it a download on iTunes for your next travel excursion. It’ll make time fly – either in your car or your getaway helicopter – and you’ll feel like you’re right there along for the ride.

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