Comedian Jim Gaffigan, performing this weekend at Mirage, gets a little help from wife


It's time for romantics to read this column and go, "Awww, that's so cute."

In between raising three children in their New York home, comedian Jim Gaffigan and his wife Jeannie Noth Gaffigan sit around and write jokes together for his stage act and albums.

"We write everything together. It's this true partnership -- in everyday life and creativity," he says.

He calls their marriage "a never ending conversation."

Jim and Jeannie met through the industry. She's an actress but she writes her own projects, too.

"People always kind of go, 'Oh. You write with your wife?' " Gaffigan, 44, says.

"I know that's odd, because stand-up is a solitary thing. But she just understands my comedic point of view.

"She's very funny, even if it's just coming up with a Twitter blurb," he says.

"And the fact she's the most desirable woman on the planet to me is this incredible benefit."

The Gaffigans are so tight, he says he experiences life much differently without her.

"I'll travel to a city, and I'll have one perception of it. And then I'll travel back with my wife, and we'll have a completely different experience," he says.

I told him that brand of co-dependency is underrated. He bristles at the word "co-dependent," although I didn't really mean anything negative by it.

"You can paint any relationship in a negative perspective. But I am so grateful from a creative standpoint, a romantic standpoint, and intellectual fulfillment. Also, she's an amazing mother.

"I think she would definitely have strong feelings about the phrasing, 'co-dependent.' Is a mother that takes care of her three children 'co-dependent' on her children? You know what I mean?"

Since they work at home, their kids benefit.

"Because of our schedules, we're around them all day -- as opposed to a job where the mom or the dad gets home at 8 o'clock at night."

Jeannie is coming to Las Vegas with Jim this week.

"The baby-sitting situation is ideal. There are aunts and uncles, so there are not issues of child abandonment," he says.

Once the happy couple arrive, Gaffigan will go onstage to perform his nontopical material about bacon and such.

"I don't want to be Al Franken," he says, meaning he doesn't want to do political material.

"I just want to do my shows at The Mirage, date my beautiful wife, buy a steak, and go to our fancy room that is too nice."

Doug Elfman's column appears Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. E-mail him at delfman @reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

Twitter Time

im Gaffigan and his wife, Jeannie, account for some of the funniest posts in the world of Twitter.

Some of the jokes they write together for his Twitter account are good enough to be fleshed into stand-up routines. So does that mean Gaffigan is using Twitter as a tryout for future material?

Nope.

"It's not a tryout," he says.

"The thing with Twitter is, it can be cute or thoughtful. Whereas, in stand-up, you gotta get the laughs.

"There are definitely times when we'll say, 'It's a Twitter thing.' "

Recently, he posted the joke: "Is it possible to hold the USA Today and not look like your reading a coloring book?"

(My answer: No.)

That joke comes from material Gaffigan worked on a year ago. He ultimately decided this USA Today joke may not kill onstage, so off to Twitter it went.

"You and I might think that's funny," he says, "but a lot of people would think, 'Well, what's wrong with USA Today?' "

Twitter also gives Gaffigan a place to put topical jokes, since he avoids them onstage.

On Sept. 8, he posted: "Protesting the building of mosques and a Burn-a-Quran Day? Gee, anything else we can do to prove to Al-Qaeda we ARE infidels?"

He tells me he posted that because it seemed Americans were "kind of kicking the hornets' nest" that week.

And there were two good reasons not to use that "infidels" joke onstage.

1. "Sometimes when I get too social satire-y in my act, people give me the vibe of: 'Go back to talking about being lazy, please.' "

2. "Truly topical jokes, like the mosque thing, they have the life expectancy of (this) interview," he says.

"After all the late-night talk shows have taken a stab at something, it really becomes a Clinton-blue-dress joke."

Ultimately, Gaffigan is happy to contribute to the world via Twitter. As he knows too well, many Twitter writers aren't really adding much to the literary canons.

"I feel like some Twitter accounts are like: 'I just had a bran muffin this morning!' "

 

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