After weeks of having to suffer through the standard “Long Wait” crap Netflix puts you through for new releases, I finally received my copy of “King Baby,” the latest DVD special from ultra-pale comedy star Jim Gaffigan. Was it worth the wait? Yeah, for the most part I would say it was. But I do plan to elaborate so if you are interested in learning more, then by all means do continue reading.
“King Baby” was filmed on the last show of Gaffigan’s “Sexy” tour in Austin, Texas, and previously aired as a one-hour special on Comedy Central. I was unable to see it when it aired for Comedy Central does not come in clear on rabbit-ears (though luckily for me and my devout spiritual side, the Jesus-themed Trinity Broadcast Network comes in crystal clear). And while much of it just consisted of different jokes about the same topics he breached on his previous special “Beyond the Pale” it was still mostly worth the extended wait I had to go through to see it.
“Baby” consists of Gaffigan’s bread and butter material; food, laziness and his remarkably pale complexion (as he puts it, he could be a “mascot for the Mormons”). He never really breaks from his signature material and for the most part, this new special is successful. As someone who always complains about having to wake up before 11 a.m., I will always find humor in a person who can paint an accurate depiction of what it is like living a life slothful indulgence, which he does perfectly in his bit about how workout clothes are too comfortable to actually work out in (“Thanks to Nike I think I’ll finish this ‘Law & Order’ marathon”).
Also returning is Gaffigan’s trademark “inside voice” which is essentially Gaffigan impersonating an overly opinionated elderly woman who takes umbrage to most of what he is saying. Highlights on this set include the claim that Gaffigan “was good in Capote” and her taking offensive to his “edgy ketchup joke.”
What I have always found appealing about Gaffigan’s comedy, outside of the fact that it is consistently very funny, is that it never aims to be anything it’s not. It’s not edgy or politically incorrect and Gaffigan doesn’t try to punctuate his material with an abundance of profanity. This isn’t to say he is on stage doing soft, Joey Gladstonesque Bullwinkle impressions, but a joke about bacon doesn’t need to be loaded up with an abundance of f-bombs and it’s a credit to Gaffigan that he doesn’t do this in a desperate attempt to milk more laughter out of the material.
Lastly, Gaffigan gets points for being in touch with just how creepy looking he is. The level of derangement in his appearance has decreased from his earlier years as he deserted the wire rimmed glasses he once sported. Still, with his balding hair and insanely pale skin, he does look like a guy who we would fear if we saw him working at a grocery store or delicatessen. His awareness makes it easier for us to laugh when we hear him crack about how he looked like a pedophile on the cover of his last DVD.
There are about an hour of extras on the disc. Highlights are a series of episodes from “Pale Force,” an animated sketch show chronicling the superhero adventures of Jim and ultra-pale cohort Conan O’Brien. Also on the disc are four episodes of Gaffigan’s “Our Massive Planet,” where he plays an inept animal “expert” narrating footage of various wild animals. There is also several minutes of quality interview footage. The downside of the extra features is that there is an insane amount unavoidable Comedy Central promos that tend to get annoying after awhile. But if you can weed through there’s quite a bit to like.
This is a solid disc and Gaffigan’s fans will likely be satisfied. That said, it is exactly what you would probably expect. His IHOP jokes are now Waffle House jokes, his extended Hot Pocket bit is replaced with an extended bacon bit, etc. etc. Don’t get me wrong, I would certainly recommend this special to people, but due to the familiar nature of the material, your viewing would probably be more enjoyable via rental or fragmented YouTube viewings. Still, it’s a nice addition to the catalogue of one of the funnier comedians working today.
- Plays to Gaffigan’s comedic strengths
- Repetitive at times
- Bacon jokes drag a bit
Final Score: 7.5/10 (Solid but not groundbreaking)
“King Baby” is available on both CD and DVD now. I don’t use iTunes but I would imagine it can also be found there as well.