It is ironic that The Jim Gaffigan Show deals with a website that leaves the comic off their list of top 100 comedians in New York. Two days ago we were carrying on about how wonderful it was to discover the comic via Chelsea Handler. This episode reveals that Gaffigan is a consistent comic performer and that there are alt, alt comedy clubs.
“The List” starts with Jim being told by Dave (Adam Goldberg) about the top 100 list on Squidsizer.com and being number 98. Gaffigan is derisory about the list and says it does not matter. Dave replies that it matters to his mother.
The episode then focusses on Jeannie (Ashley Williams) being angry on Jim’s behalf and trying to give the blogger Franz Dubois a piece of her mind. Meanwhile Gaffigan tells his wife that comedians do not care about lists. The punch line is all the comic’s he knows can talk of nothing else.
While Jeannie works to right this wrong, Jim is torn between showing he thinks the list is dumb and not worth worrying about and trying to get noticed by Dubois in the trendy “alt, alt” comedy clubs.
There are a few themes running through this episode. The increasing youthfulness of comedy audiences and that the Internet is full of “privileged” (and lonely) rich kids blogging from WiFi cafes and specialist food shops. Another jab looks to be aimed at the way comedy is changing. One subtle point is made when we learn that Franz is a woman. Jeannie believes fervently that Dubois is a man with an “ironic beard” and man-bun.
Franz (Shades of Blue actress Annie Chang) introduces Jim to the concept of these exclusive new alt comedy clubs. He arranges a booking at QED, a popular alternative scene.
The highlight of the episode has Gaffigan trotting gags to no response and each time he scrutinizes the audience they get younger and more irritated. Truly one of the funniest things we have seen on television this year.
This ties into the younger audience theme. For example when Jim arrives at the club the young lady running it tells him: ” My grandfather loves you.” The club MC then announces Gaffigan and mentions he used to be on he David Leaderman show.
After finishing at QED Jim gets invited to “Jeffy’s” another alt “space” down the road. Pete Davidson is Jeffy. He greets the trio that arrive by telling that he has one rule. Guest’s must stay out of “that” room. “My step-dad,” says Jeffy, “is a real tool.”
When Gaffigan finishes his laugh-less set, Jeffy asks him if he want to go again. Jim says yes and ends up in a bathroom with a microphone in it. In the tub he finds Franz Dubois, Amanda (from QED) and an antagonistic looking man.
Apart from the younger audiences all appearing to be some eclectic group of pseudo intellectual arsehats, these tiny venues feel like 1960s hippy coffee houses. Instead of beatniks spouting poetic drivel, however, the youngster are busy not being funny.
Regardless of the scene and the comedy, the script’s message appears to be that youth do not understand comedy and therefore do not find it funny. A direct shot across the bow of the politically correct generation’s attempt to kill comedy.
It could also meant that comedians need to change or face becoming irrelevant.
The Jim Gaffigan Show is a slice of comic gold. Everyone on the show contributes to the comedy. Without counting, it does feel like the 21 minute show (without commercials) delivers more laughs per minute than any other comedy series on television.
Kudos to Pete Davidson as Jeffy and Annie Chang and Franz Dubois.
TV Land airs the series on Sundays and Thursdays. Tune in if you like to laugh.
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