Judge Roy Hrab enjoys bacon and hammocks.
Humor is extremely subjective. Opinions about what's funny and what's not vary widely across individuals. Moreover, people can be quite sensitive and defensive, if they feel their sense of humor is being criticized. I learned this lesson, after giving a low score to Craig Ferguson: A Wee Bit O' Revolution. I thought I had done a fair job of explaining why I didn't think the performance was particularly memorable, but the review quickly generated an almost entirely negative response from readers. Fans of Craig Ferguson, who had seen him perform live (I have not) found the show to be a riot and strongly disagreed with my review. This made me think twice about reviewing another stand-up act. It's so difficult to articulate an opinion on why something is or isn't funny.
I obviously didn't learn my lesson, or did I?
So, let's turn our attention to Jim Gaffigan: King Baby, a recording of Jim Gaffigan at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas. I really enjoyed it—but, in the interests of full disclosure, I pretty much knew I would like it before even watching it. I've been a fan of Gaffigan for years and saw him live when he came to Toronto's Elgin Theatre in January 2008.
The pasty white Gaffigan does his standard routine here, meaning plenty of jokes about food and laziness, with liberal doses of his critical "inside voice," which is meant to represent comments from a disappointed member of the audience.
When it comes to food, there is an extended glorification of bacon; comparing it to "fairy dust." Gaffigan makes fun of camping and campers, disparages futons (they are stuffed with "hatred"), bean bag chairs, vegetarians. and bologna. He also riffs on Waffle House restaurants, escalators, bowling, and more. All in all, it's classic Gaffigan—extremely funny and kind of bizarre. Unlike many of today's stand-ups (Chris Rock), the act is pretty clean, making it family friendly…for the most part. However, his goofy sense of humor (I can't think of better way to describe it) will not appeal to everybody, especially those looking for clever word play, or political and social commentary.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer is solid. The image is clean, clear, and bright. The Dolby 5.1 Surround track delivers Gaffigan's voice well.
There are extras galore, starting with three episodes of Pale Force—a series of short cartoons produced for Late Night With Conan O'Brien. The series is built around superpowers related to the pasty skin of Gaffigan and O'Brien (both characters are voiced by Gaffigan). These are more weird than funny. Up next are four episodes of the internet series, Our Massive Planet, an amusing parody of wildlife shows narrated by Gaffigan, pretending to be an animal expert, and Jordan Rubin (a writer for The Man Show). This is followed by a "Never-Aired British Interview," a mock interview with Gaffigan, who makes up stories about his life while promoting "The Sexy Tour." Then we have the very real and quite good "XM/Sirius Interview" in which he talks about getting into comedy, the struggle to make it big, acting versus stand-up, and his writing habits. "Atlanta: Meet and Greet on Demand" features interviews with Gaffigan, his fans, and his opening comic, Rich Brooks, as well as some scenes of Gaffigan interacting with fans after a show. Last are a series of promos for "The Sexy Tour" and "The Beyond The Pale Tour," which annoyingly have not eliminated the commercial breaks.
Those who like Gaffigan will want to pick this up. Those who don't will not. And those who have never had the Gaffigan experience, but find themselves intrigued, should either rent it or look for one of his specials on Comedy Central.
Bacon!!! Whoops, not guilty!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
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