Jim Gaffigan brought his “Contagious” tour to Wolf Trap on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, treating the sold-out crowd to jokes and quips about the oddities of life that made for near-constant laughter. If laughter is the best medicine, everyone in the audience left Wolf Trap in the best of health!
Jim Gaffigan, famous for his “clean” humor about his life and family, as well as his food commentary (including the famous “Hot Pockets” routine), got his big break when David Letterman asked him to develop a sitcom for Letterman’s production company. The sitcom, Welcome to New York, made Gaffigan a name, who has since released several comedy albums, TV specials, and even books. This July, TV Land premiered his new sitcom, The Jim Gaffigan Show, focusing on his home life in New York with his wife Jeannie and their five children.
Opening the show for Gaffigan was New York City comedian Ted Alexandro. Alexandro, known for his observational style of comedy, had the audience in stitches with his descriptions of teaching music—specifically the recorder, or “Satan’s little flute”—to elementary school students. Similarly Alexandro’s descriptions of his fluency in fake Chinese, as well as his acting of the bizarrely long pauses of classical radio announcers cracked the audience up. His cool style was a perfect complement to the coolness and pleasantness of the weather, getting the audience warmed up and primed for Gaffigan.
Gaffigan sauntered onto the stage on a wave of applause, as everyone in the sold-out venue cheered. He opened with some region-specific quips about Wolf Trap and Baltimore (including a de riguer Old Bay joke), swiftly moving into various observations about the cities he’s been performing in on his 30-city tour.
Gaffigan’s dry style and self-deprecating wit became more and more apparent as he delved into familiar topics, such as being a “fat” guy, or his relationship with his wife and kids. Some of Gaffigan’s strength as a comedian lies in knowing what he does well and embracing that, rather than running the other way. His deftness with his observations about raising kids or “fatting” out of his clothes makes it so that even those audience members who have no experience with the specific topic (such as those audience members without kids) are able to relate and see the humor.
The ease and comfort with which Gaffigan presents himself onstage also made the night a success—for he is comfortable in who he is as a comic and does it well, making completely unrelated topics such as hiking and cars and winter seem to flow naturally into another. He wasn’t trying too hard to make the audience laugh, but rather did the jokes he wanted to do and that he knows are funny, such as when he talked about how religious jokes always “suck the air right out of the room” and yet kept going to get some of the biggest laughs of the night discussing how Jesus didn’t just multiply bread but turned it into different types of bread, and that’s really why people were following him, for the bread (the focaccia bread and the garlic knots and the sourdough…).
And of course, Gaffigan closed out the night with a bit on Hot Pockets. This was definitely a crowd-pleaser—the cheers erupted at the mere name “Hot Pockets”—but despite being one of his most well-known topics, he delivered it with all the freshness of a new routine, to well-deserved applause and laughter.
The “Contagious” tour more than lived up to its name tonight: the laughter was indeed contagious—no one escaped without laughing ‘til their sides ached!
Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.
Jim Gaffigan played for one night only on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts– 1635 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future events and to purchase tickets, go to their events page.